sewn images

Fashionable Lady - 3D Free Motion Embroidery Tutorial

At long last I have a new tutorial for you!  This is a favourite design of mine, and was originally featured as part of a tutorial for a tote bag that was featured in Love Sewing magazine some time ago. 



Today I'm just going to show you how to create the stylish lady and her fabulous three dimensional frock, then you can decide if you would like to place her on a tote bag or maybe frame her. 

You will need:
  • Medium weight plain fabric for the embroidery base (approx. 10 x 12 inches).
  • Small piece of floral cotton fabric for dress (approx. 8 inches square). 
  • Small piece of hessian for hat (3 to 4 inches square). 
  • A few inches of narrow lace. 
  • Iron on interfacing (approx. 8 x 10 inches to back your embroidery, plus a small piece approx. 4 inches square). 
  • Small piece of Bondaweb (approx. 8 inches square).
  • Black thread. 
  • White tissue paper/thin tracing paper. 

Start by downloading the templates from this link.

Following the manufacturers instructions, apply the iron on interfacing to the back of the plain fabric you will be appliqueing and embroidering onto.  Put this to one side until you're ready to use it. 

Trace the bodice template onto the reverse of a piece of the printed fabric and the hat template onto the reverse of the piece of hessian. 

Trace the skirt template onto a piece of iron on interfacing and cut out.  Press the interfacing piece onto the wrong side of a piece of printed fabric.  Cut out, leaving a ½” border around the sides and bottom of the skirt piece.  Press the border to the wrong side, and sew a line of stitching along the “hem” of the skirt piece.  Set aside.  

Dress and hat pieces prepared with Bondaweb and interfacing.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply Bondaweb to the reverse of the bodice and hat pieces, peel off the backing paper and cut out.  Set aside. 

Trace the solid lines on the figure template onto a piece of tissue paper.  Make a light pencil mark where the top of the hat will come.  Pin your tracing onto the right side of one of the plain backing fabric, making sure the figure is positioned centrally.  

The traced template pinned in place for stitching. 

Thread your sewing machine with black thread, lower your feed dogs and put the darning foot on the machine.  Using free motion embroidery stitch over the tracing, going over the lines twice.  At the start and end of each line, stitch up and down on the spot a few times, snip the thread and pull the front thread through to the reverse to secure.  

This blog post might be helpful if you need a refresher on how to do free motion embroidery. 

Stitching complete, tissue paper still in place. 

Once all the lines have been stitched, carefully tear away the tissue paper.  You may find a pair of tweezers helpful in removing small pieces caught between stitches.  

Stitching complete, tissue paper carefully removed. 

Using the dotted lines on the figure template as a guide, position the bodice and hat pieces and press in place with an iron. Stitch around the edge of the hat and bodice piece.  

Hat and bodice pieces ironed on and stitched. 

Pin the sides of the skirt in place, then loosely pleat the excess at the waist and pin down.  

Skirt piece pinned in place. 


Stitch down each side of the skirt and across the waist.  Do not stitch the skirt hem. 

Glue or hand sew a small piece of ribbon or braid on the hat as a band, and around the waist of the skirt. 


You can use this lovely lady as an embellishment on a tote bag or she looks equally as special mounted in a box type frame. 




Giveaway Winner

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you are enjoying the weekend.  In the UK we have gorgeous weather at the moment, which is almost unheard of for an Easter weekend.  I'm very torn though, because part of me wants to stay inside and sew, and the other part of me thinks I should be sitting in the garden making the most of the weather!

I had some lovely comments on my last post to win a copy of The Little Book of Sewing, where I asked you to tell me what your favourite thing about sewing is.  So many mentioned the positive benefits on your mental health, which is certainly high on my list of my favourite things about this wonderful hobby / craft / way of life.

I used a random number generator to pick my winner.

The winner is Amber Elayne, who said:

I love a few things about sewing: well-fitted clothes with practical tweaks that are customized to suit my work and personal lives, as well as individualized gifts for friends and family.

Drop me an email with your address Amber Elayne and I'll get your prize in the post to you.

The Little Book of Sewing

If you're on Instagram then you may well have seen posts popping up in your feed this week about The Little Book of Sewing which was published yesterday. 



Written by the brilliant Karen from Did You Make That, it is - as it says in the title - a little book about sewing.  But as much about why you should sew as how to sew.  There are plenty of hints and tips throughout it's pages, but Karen also focusses on the fact that sewing is good for you with chapter titles such as Self-Love, Mental Health and Kindness.

What you may not know is that the cover was designed and stitched by me!  Karen herself only found out a few weeks ago when I emailed her to thank her for choosing my design.  She thought it would be fun to interview me about the cover design for her blog, and you can read the interview here

Pop over to Karen's blog if you'd like to find out how I designed and stitched the cover, and what my initial thoughts were when the publisher contacted me. 

If you'd like your own copy of The Little Book of Sewing, you are in luck because I have one to give away.  The publishers kindly sent me two copies and as I haven't done a giveaway for ages I thought I'd do just that.  Just comment below telling me what you love most about sewing to be in with a chance of winning.  The giveaway will be open until Sunday 14th April, and a winner will be chosen randomly shortly after that date.   



Meet the Maker

If you're on Instagram you've probably seen the #marchmeetthemaker that lots of creative people have been involved in this month.  I started doing it, posting a picture for each of the daily prompts... and lasted less than a week!

If I'm honest, I'm not that great with photo challenges and that type of thing and often fail to complete them but I really wanted to do this one.  Unfortunately my day job has been crazily busy recently - even more so than normal - and I've had little time to think of anything other than fire risk assessments.  I've even been dreaming about them!

So what I thought I'd do would be to do my own version of Meet the Maker with a bit of an "about me" blog post.  I've gained a few new followers over the past couple of months and I thought it might be good to tell you a bit about me. 

I'm Sam, as you probably will have gathered from my blog name if you didn't already know.  By day I work for a housing association as a fire risk surveyor, doing exciting stuff like inspecting fire escape routes and fire doors and writing reports. It's a job I never imagined myself doing to be honest and some days I'm not quite sure exactly how I came to be doing it.

Outside work I love all kinds of creative pursuits but sewing, and more often than not, free motion embroidery is my favourite.  I've been sewing for as long as I can remember and have made everything from soft toys to wedding dresses.

However my favourite thing to make is free motion embroidered portraits. I started doing them a couple of years ago with a series of David Bowie portraits and have a constantly growing list of other people to stitch.  My ultimate aim for a purely personal project is to stitch David Bowie in every one of his distinctive looks.  The next one I'm planning is the Goblin King from the film Labyrinth.


I love using quality fabrics in my work, with the exception of the black fabric used in the jumpsuit of the third portrait in the above line up, all the applique fabrics are either Liberty print cotton or small amounts of silk dupion.

I teach free motion embroidery at a couple of local sewing shops and recently taught a free motion embroidered portraits class at the Knitting and Stitching show, which went better than I could ever have hoped for.  You can read about that here.

Following that experience I'm currently working on some new portraits with a view to selling kits similar to those that we used during the workshop.  I'm working on images of Prince, Boy George and Adam Ant at the moment, with more to be added as time allows.

I still love making clothes when I have the time and my next dressmaking project will be a Spring coat using the Trend Patterns Drop Shoulder Coat pattern and some jade green cotton moleskin I bought recently.  I'm hoping to start working on that in the next few days and am trying to be good and make a toile before I jump in and cut my good fabric. 

I will also have some news about an exciting project I played a small part in soon, so watch this space!