You know how I’m always saying you can play with the size of your embroidery patterns? Well – here’s a prime example. As soon as she saw the finished dogs my daughter squealed, “Ooooooh! That one is soooooo cute! Will you please stitch it on a T-shirt for me?”
Before I could even answer her she had pulled a blank T-shirt out of her closet and chosen the thread color she wanted for the dog.
I enlarged the pattern on the computer (you could use a copy machine if that’s more convenient). 6″ tall seems to be a great size for all T-shirt embroidery.
Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is what I use for all T-shirt embroidery. Pattern transfer and stabilize in one easy step – you’ve got to love that! See how it works in this video.
Enlarging the pattern made the lines really thick (remember – I was sizing up from a pattern that was less than 2 inches tall). I used a full 6 strands of thread to get a nice heavy backstitched line. I satin stitched the eyes and attached a little fleece nose with simple running stitches. An hour and a half later I had one finished T-shirt and one very happy daughter. 🙂
Here are all my posts about working with patterns.
I love to mend my clothing with visible stitching.
These jeans have torn right at the stitching where the pocket is attached.
Dang! That’s a tricky place to patch. But I WILL patch these jeans. Partly because I’m stingy frugal. Mostly because I loathe buying new jeans. The only thing worse is shopping for a bathing suit. Ugh.
First, get out your seam ripper and pick off as much of the pocket as you need to to get at the tear. I went a good two inches past the bottom of the tear so I’d have plenty of room to work.
Choose a piece of sturdy fabric from your scraps. This is heavyweight cotton twill. Cut it at least an inch bigger than the tear all the way around. I often cut it as much as two inches bigger. Turn the raw edges under (about 1/4 inch or a bit more) and press. Pin the patch over your tear. In this case I butted it right up to the big fat seams. I don’t want to stitch over them if I can avoid it.
Now stitch the patch in place. I see a patch as an opportunity to fancify – so I embroidered it to the jeans. I started with split stitch for the stems, added some lazy daisy flowers, and then lots and lots of running stitches for strength. (Those links go to videos showing you how to do each stitch.)
See how the running stitches are parallel to the diagonal weave of the twill? Using the weave as a guide makes it easy to stitch nice and straight.
Those running stitches are the key to a successful patch. They distribute the stress on the fabric to the whole patch instead of just around the edges. I took this photo of the back of the patched area so you could see how the stitches would support the damaged fabric. The rip is that frayed line right up the center of the photo.
I really like to frame my embroidered pieces in a hoop – you’ve seen it on several pattern covers. A couple of people have asked how I do this, so I put together a video showing you.
My husband is out of town – which means my daughter was holding the video camera. Hope you don’t mind a bit of shakiness and a couple of close-ups of the backs of my hands! 🙂
I went ahead and used it because she was proud to help me and, in spite of the shakes, you could still easily follow along. I even have a spectacular failure that made me have to start all over – and I know how much you all like it when I leave those in!
The thread I’m using in the video was from the awesome Jenny Hart at Sublime Stitching, but she doesn’t make it anymore. I’ve seen others from Sulky and DMC, but I haven’t tried them yet. They do seem less “crunchy” than what I used. 🙂
Jo’s a big fan of this stuff (I think all kids love glow in the dark anything) and she’s asked me to use it on one of her nightgowns. What will you use it for?
Here are links to all my posts about embroidery tools and supplies.
So – one of the very first videos I made showed how to tie a knot in your thread, for sewing or embroidery. A reader recently asked me how I knot off the thread on the back of my embroidery. Good question! Here’s the answer.
In this post I showed you a few cards I made for my daughter using my embroidery patterns to make collage images. In the card above I glued paper on for the cloud, but I stitched the raindrops with embroidery thread on the paper card. In this video I show you how to do that stitching.
The trick is in pre-punching the holes. In the video I’m punching those holes with an awl I picked up at a rummage sale ages ago. If you just want to play around with the technique you can use a push pin. It works, but it’s not ergonomically friendly. If you’re going to do a lot of this, invest a couple of bucks in the tool I mention in the video – it’s called a potter’s needle and it’s a really inexpensive tool you can find here. It has a thin (but strong) needle and a nice handle that your hand and wrist will thank you for.
Couching is the process of using embroidery stitches to stitch a cord (or yarn or decorative thread) to the surface of your fabric. It’s a fun way to add some nice dimension to your work and it can give you a really unique effect.
Use all your favorite embroidery stitches to make mending patches prettier AND stronger. First watch the video for the how and why – and then scroll down for some detailed examples of finished patches from a pair of my jeans.
And now for the samples. These are all from one pair of jeans. 🙂
This one is super easy. I used a running stitch around the edge of the patch, and then I used split stitch over every other stripe.
This is just running stitches – lots of running stitches. It’s stitched on corduroy so I was able to use the space between the ridges to as a guide to keep my rows of stitching straight and parallel. I used a two different shades of blue thread.
On this one I used the gingham print of the fabric as a grid to make nice, even cross stitches and running stitches. The stitches of my Xs were pretty big – possible to snag on things – so I took tiny little straight stitches in pink at each intersection to strengthen the whole thing and add a fun accent.
This started as a plain black fabric with white polka dots. First I took little straight stitches in the polka dots and made cross stitches in the spaces between them. That didn’t make the stitching as close as I wanted so I added a grid of backstitches in green.
And finally – this one was a real labor of love. I satin stitched over each drop shape in the fabric print – matching the color of the printed drop. It took a long time but the texture is luscious.
If the tear is in a tricky spot – like when the rip is at the edge of a pocket – take a look at this post.
Have fun with some patches! Soon you’ll be looking for an excuse to mend!
Here are all the posts about finishing embroidery projects.