What is free motion embroidery?

Put simply, free motion embroidery  - or free machine embroidery if you prefer - is the art of drawing with a sewing machine.

Google the term or look on Pinterest and you will find numerous different styles of what is a very accessible form of textile art.

Screenshot from Pinterest

Some textile artists creating free motion embroidery pieces choose purely to use a variety of coloured threads on a plain backing fabric to create their designs. Others combine thread and fabric to create a form of applique - this is the technique I favour most often - and others introduce paints or inks along with the textiles to create more of a mixed media piece.  Once you have picked up the basic technique the only limit is your imagination.

The good news is that you don't need any fancy equipment to give free motion embroidery a try.  All you need is the ability to be able to lower (or cover) your sewing machine's feed dogs and attach a darning foot to the machine and you're good to go.  And some free motion embroidery artists don't even use a darning foot, they stitch without a foot on the machine at all.  I haven't tried this technique and to be honest I don't think I'm likely to.  My fingers get pretty close to the needle even with a foot in place, the potential of stitching my finger by accident seems to great to risk!

A darning foot need not be an expensive purchase, you can buy generic unbranded ones that fit many machines online for less than £5.00, and branded ones start at under £20.00 depending on what type of machine you have.

That's all you really need to get started! 

In my next post I'll take you through creating a simple free motion embroidered piece, but for now I'll leave you with some images of pieces I've made.

1 comment

  1. This is an art I love but so infrequently do. People are always amazed this can be done on an ordinary machine! I’m glad you are promoting the art, your work is beautiful!


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