60's Lady Free Motion Embroidery Tutorial

As promised I have another tutorial for this week.  This one builds on the hot air balloon from a few weeks ago by showing you how I stitch areas of detail where there is no applique fabric to guide me.

You will need:
Backing fabric to embroider and applique onto
Medium weight iron on interfacing
Applique fabrics (I used scraps of Liberty print silk)
A small piece of Bondaweb
Greaseproof paper
Thin tracing paper or tissue paper
Good quality black sewing thread

Start by setting your sewing machine up for free motion embroidery by lowering the feed dogs and changing to a darning foot.  Thread the machine up with black thread and a matching bobbin.

I used this image to create my embroidery, which I found on Pinterest.

Start by tracing your chosen image onto a sheet of thin tracing paper or tissue paper.  It needs to be thin because you're going to stitch through it later.

Once the image is traced, cut the dress and clutch bag out from your original print out.  Keep the tracing intact.  Select the fabrics you want to use for the two pieces and apply Bondaweb to the back.  Remember to place some greaseproof paper between your iron and the Bondaweb and fabric to protect the iron from the excess glue!

Peel your fabrics off the Bondaweb backing, and draw around the templates you have cut out.  I always draw on the back of my fabric with the template face down.  This way you avoid pen marks on the right side of your fabric.

Use a couple of pins to secure your tissue paper tracing to your backing fabric and carefully position your cut out applique pieces on the backing fabric using your tracing as a guide.

Press with a hot iron to activate the glue and stick the applique pieces down.  Now you are ready to stitch.

Start by stitching the traced lines in the areas where there is no fabric - on this image, the head, arms and legs.  Go over each line twice for a more solid look and stitch up and down on the spot a few times at the start and end.   At this stage you don't need to stitch the areas where there is fabric to guide you.

Once you have completed these sections you can remove the tracing.  Do this by carefully pulling the paper away.  Tear slowly and hold the paper close to the stitches to prevent putting too much pressure on them.  Most areas should come away quite easily as your stitching will have perforated the paper.  Stubborn pieces of paper can be eased away with a stitch unpicker or a pair of needle nosed craft tweezers.

You can now stitch around the dress and bag and add extra detail into the hair, or fill the shoes in should you wish.

This technique can be used anywhere you need to add some detail that can't be guided by the edge of your fabric.  It works well for text as well as "drawn" areas and is particularly useful if you need something to be very precise.

1 comment

  1. Thank you so much for my sewing show tickets. I've had the most amazing day, now to go home and try to free motion embroider a picture. I have some beautiful fabric to add to my stash. I'll try booking a course with you again as I so love the bicycle picture you make and would love to know how to achieve it! Once again thank you.xx


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