Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Embroidery on a regular sewing machine

Do you have the same problem as me?  I'll be more specific, since I have a lot of problems.  Do you lust after an embroidery machine but lack the desire to drop $500 or more on another sewing machine?  I couldn't even squeeze in another machine on my sewing machine table that already contains 4 machines, with one in the closet for safe keeping.

For my son's first day of kindergarten outfit, I made a shirt with this fabric:

I really only had scraps left of this fabric, as I have used it for several other projects over the years (hoodies, undies, etc.).

But I wanted something to pep up the plain pair of khaki shorts I was sewing him.  Little five year olds need exciting details on their clothes, right?

Here's what I did.  First, I traced the design I wanted (a sea turtle) from the fabric onto a small square of tear away interfacing.  Then I pinned it in place on the wrong side of the fabric and took it to the sewing machine.

Using a very short straight stitch, and lots of time and patience, I slowly stiched out the design, frequently stopping with the needle down to turn the fabric.  I stitched over everything at least twice, usually three times.

Stitching over the same area multiple times does two things.  First, it makes the design strong enough to withstand the pulling that occurs when you tear away the stabilizer.  Secondly, it gives it a "sketchy" look, as if it was drawn by hand.  I love that look.

This is how it looks from the right side when you are immediately done stitching.  (I know -- bumpy.  That's ok.)

This is apparently how I look when I am stitching away.  (I know -- also kind of bumpy.  Less ok.)

 Yep, that's my only partially made bed in the background, and Sarah's early learning space covered with papers.  I am doing my part to make sure Pinterest and blogs don't give you unrealistic expectations that people have perfect lives.  Yeah, that's it.  That's why my bed is unmade.

(Oh, side note:  Do you see my top?  That's my favorite thing I ever made for myself.  I think it is a Mad Sky print.  The pattern is Mamu Ulla.  Love that pattern.  But Mamu patterns are only for intermediate to advanced sewists or beginner sewists who are advanced linguists because their translations are completely unreadable.)

So now very gently tear away the stabilizer.
I tear away the large pieces first, and then I go back and work on the little pieces until it is all gone.  I don't have a picture of that.

Once the stabilizer is gone, you can iron, iron, and iron.  Then it will look nice and flat for you.

And that's it!  You're done.

Just so you know what to expect... From start to finish, this took me two hours.  That's a long time.  I can sew a whole item of clothing in less time than that usually.   But, it's worth it, right?  My little boy is so excited about his sea turtle outfit for the first day. 


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