Articles

Breaking the Rules with Embroidery

If you’ve ever set foot in a traditional sewing class or watched The Great British Sewing Bee in any length, you’ll be all too familiar with straight lines, neat curves and clean corners. The manual dexterity earned from years of traditional sewing, is without a doubt, exceptionally valuable. However, free-machine embroidery is here to challenge this completely, asking you to become a rebellious sewist.

A three hour class dedicated to the art of free-machine embroidery, encapsulating all of the creative freedom I could ask for, seemed a perfect way to spend a Saturday. I knew I had to sign up.

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A trip to V V Rouleaux in Bath, aka haberdashery heaven to you and I, provided the perfect opportunity to do just that. 

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The class itself was held in a perfectly exuberant workroom, adjoined to the haberdashery. All of the tools awaited, as did our lovely workshop facilitator, Poppy.

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After receiving basic, but without a doubt, incredibly useful instructions on how to operate our sewing machines, we stretched calico over our embroidery hoops and began our first practice pieces. The words ‘be careful of your fingers – keep them away from the needle and foot’, and ‘if you ever hurt yourself, seek medical attention,’ may have contributed to a steep blood pressure rise at this point, however, suffice to say, all participants left injury free.

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After a few needle breakages, bobbin adjustments and foot-to-hoop collisions, my confidence grew. I began to find the process of free-machine embroidery highly relaxing, almost meditative. We were given the opportunity of drawing onto the calico with the use of erasable pens prior to stitching, but I quite happily used the sewing needle for mark making throughout this stage.

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After gaining some confidence with the process, the last hour of the workshop focussed on appliqué. This involved cutting shapes from a selection of beautifully patterned fabrics, and free-machining them onto our final piece. After cutting out a variety of shapes, in my case, flowers, we used fusible webbing to fix them on to our fabric.

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Towards the end of the session, we were encouraged to collectively place our work on a nearby table. Everyone present was able to produce something charmingly unique, whilst leaving the workshop with a brand new skill.

Often in my day-to-day work when I am illustrating on Adobe software, I’m focussing on small details, ensuring everything has a smooth, immaculate finish, in keeping with my style. The fluidness of free-motion embroidery, contradictory to this rigid working process, made it even more appealing.

I would definitely recommend this course to any local embroidery enthusiasts, like myself, looking to acquire a new skill in a fabulously creative, vibrant setting. Go on, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

DIY Party Crafts

Crocheted Gifts

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Mother’s Day has recently passed in the UK and I felt like crocheting my Mum something special this year. Whatever the occasion, whether it be birthdays, anniversaries, small celebrations, I always like to gift handmade items of some sort. If you’ve ever read my blog post about my wedding, or my recent feature in Homemaker Mag, you’ll know how much I love handmade gestures. Over the next few months, I’m actually planning to write a lot more craft tutorials for handmade party favours and gifts, as it’s quite clear just how much I love parties!

This year, I decided to make my Mum a crocheted scarf. Some could say that it’s the wrong time of year to give somebody a scarf, but the weather here in Somerset doesn’t seem to be getting any warmer despite the changing seasons, so it felt like a lovely gesture.

This particular scarf is on the large side as my Mum does a lot of walking and I wanted it to be super snuggly and toasty. I’ve only recently taught myself the stitch I used for this scarf and I’m also making a blanket out of it for my lounge. It’s called the ‘V-stitch’ and after trying out a few online tutorials, I found Girly Bunches YouTube video to be the most helpful. The technique was very easy to follow and I adapted the instructions myself to make the scarf. I have a lot of wool in my craft room, so rather than buy new supplies, I used a mixture of pink cotton and cream aran yarn. This was the result above and I was super pleased with it, as was my Mum. Yay! It’s lovely when handmade gifts are appreciated.

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I gave my Mum a few other special but non handmade items, including this gorgeous keyring. Isn’t it adorable? The wrapping paper was perfect for Mother’s Day, especially with Easter on the way, don’t you agree?

I hope I’ve inspired you to make your own handmade gifts, particularly if you have a special occasion on the way. Have a lovely day wherever you are in the world!