24 September 2011

Freehand Machine Embroidery

While all the young people were off larging it at bars and discos, my Craft Club comrades and I spent Friday evening at a machine embroidery workshop. Because that's what cool people do. It was held at Sew Over It, a super cute sewing cafe that popped up recently down the road in Clapham, which I'd been itching to visit.

To machine embroider, start by drawing a little design and tracing it off. Squeeze a small embroidery hoop under the machine's needle and fit some calico to it. You can add a scrap of fabric if you want to applique, and position your tracing paper drawing on top. Our sewing machines were fitted with a special freehand embroidery foot, but if you're really careful I reckon you could get away without using any foot at all. Then off you go!



Don't worry about cutting the threads each time you finish a line - just move on and cut them all off at the end (along with the excess fabric if you're doing applique). A small stitch length is essential. The instructor told us that faster stitching is less jumpy, but for tricky bits I found it more accurate to stitch quite slowly. In any case, there's no point trying to be too neat as the machine has a life of its own and even experienced machine embroiderers go off the lines (or that's what I told myself, at least). The wiggly lines and imperfections add a certain je ne sais quoi!

And here is my finished effort. It's a cat, in case you couldn't tell! A kitty on its last legs... in fact, he probably can't even stand up anymore. Content, but falling apart. Awww...

[Soundtrack: 'Lilyputt' by Beth Jeans Houghton]