Thursday, 11 September 2014

Free Machine Embroidery

A while ago I mentioned that I had borrowed this book from the library, Free & Easy Stitch Style by Poppy Treffry.

Finally, after consulting my sewing machine manual, I've plucked up the courage to give it a try.

The book gives very good explanations and step-by-step guidance.  So I gathered up some bits and pieces of upholstery fabric and started with sewing around some shapes I had pencilled onto the fabric.

The square started off very wonky but as I got used to having to move the frame around under the needle it became easier.

The book says it is essential to use an embroidery frame, but I found it rather a nuisance.  It got in the way and I seem to get it caught up on the machine a number of times.  So defying the book, I scrapped the frame and moved onto the next step - appliquéing.

This was a lot easier to do without the frame and I felt as though I was getting to grips with the technique.

Obviously the work looks much better when I've pressed it.

I liked the bold black outline, but the book suggests experimenting with different colours for top and bottom bobbins.  So I cut out some more hearts and experimented away.

The first heart I did is sewn with light brown in the top bobbin and dark brown in the bottom bobbin.

I could have altered the tension so that more of the bottom thread showed through but I have a very tentative relationship with the tension on my sewing machine so I thought it best to leave it alone.

The second heart has red on the top and cream on the bottom.

Again the bottom colour doesn't show, but I like the way the red looks.

The third heart has cream top and bottom.

This shows up nicely.  At this point I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the sewing but maintaining an even length stitch is very difficult.

The last heart has blue thread.

Now what shall I do with all these hearts?  Seems a shame to waste them.

So I made a little hanging for Eve.

I think it has quite a rustic feel to it.  Not bad.

I had one last go at free embroidery - this time, jumping in with both feet, I thought I'd embroider my name.

After several faulty starts, I realised that I'd been doing it all wrong previously.  I'd been trying to feed the fabric through the machine as though I was sewing a seam.  The fabric actually slides quite easily from side to side and up and down if you let it - rather than trying to turn the fabric all the time!

So how's this for a novice...

...quite good I reckon.  Obviously it helps if you read the book properly rather than just looking at the pictures!

I definitely need more practice but it was fun and I would recommend the book if you haven't tried this before.


  1. I have never done it before, I will try and get the book when the library bus comes on Friday. It would be fun to have a look at it anyway.

  2. I tried sewing hearts on some cushions and found it very difficult, suppose I might need a book to tell me how!

  3. I love the little hanger you made with the heart, what a cute idea. I need to pluck up my courage and have a try, yours look lovely and your name doesn't look like you're new to it xx

  4. Well done. Maybe I will give it another go.

  5. I'm super impressed! You explain it very well, but I confess that I still don't feel very ready to give it a try... =)


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