For this month’s design challenge, one of the winning designs had a patch of embroidery on the back of the garment.
I added the embroidery to the design because I felt it added a point of interest and helped ground the busy high-contrast fabric print.
I have used embroidery to embellish a garment before but I was still nervous about filling in such a large area. I am very thankful for the cross stitching I have done over the years and the embellishment project one of my teachers at Massey University had me complete. Thanks, Nina!
With a little experience under my belt I thought it was a good idea to research the best way to embroider the design. It is a large area and a focal point, and I wanted it to look professional. There are a lot of resources out there, and I am afraid that I followed my modus operandi and enjoyed researching so much that I had less time to practice. Between Youtube, websites, my old course notes from school and books I was armed with more than enough information to begin.
A couple of the resources suggested I embroider large areas with alternating long and short Satin Stitches.
I tried this stitch on a practice piece of fabric, and although the stitching looked good, the edge of the embroidered area looked jagged.
This jaggedness was due to the nature of the fabric. I hit the books again and found that often an outline stitch was done before filling in a large area.
After embroidering around the outside of the design, it looked considerably better.
So with my new found knowledge I began to embroider the design.
To embroider you need a few supplies: needle, embroidery thread, hoop, stabilizer, and scissors. I cannot forget if you are like me a good light and a pair of reading glasses are essential. There are different types of each of these supplies available the trick is to ensure you use the right supplies for your garment.
How will it be washed, worn, and what are the qualities of the fabric that could affect your project. This is one thing I should have paid more attention to before I started.
For this project, I used a stick on/tear off stabilizer. My fabric has raised areas, and I did not want an iron to flatten them.
Looking back, this was the first hint that I was not approaching this project the right way, as the raised nature of the design caused problems during embroidering.
I cut out the stabilizer so that it was slightly larger than the embroidery hoop as I was worried the slight stretch of the fabric might distort the fabric without this extra stabilization. I then began embroidering.
I LET MYSELF DOWN A BIT
I started off well, but the irregular surface of the fabric and slight stretch in the raised areas caused difficulties.
The white fabric beneath the embroidery showed through in these sections.
I followed the short then long stitch pattern but do to the uneven surface of the fabric the stitches did not look as orderly as in my research; the stitches slid left or right sometimes.
I ended up abandoning the short-long-short pattern of stitching and instead variegated the stitched in a more random way.
I was pleased with the results considering these factors but disappointed that the design did not turn out looking as orderly as I had hoped.
Next time I will ensure I cover a larger test area so that I have a complete picture of what the design will look like once finished.
I think until I am more experienced, using fabrics that have no stretch and a smooth surface would be advisable.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy I embroidered this design even if it wasn’t perfect. I wholeheartedly believe it elevates the whole design.