May 9, 2008

Embroidery- the Embellisher Queen

Hi Everyone! I hope you are looking forward to a new project! I have learned that sometimes I fail to make use of some valuable tools I have when I am looking for an embroidery project. As an embellisher, I constantly look for things to put my "signature" on. Lately, when I go to a fabric store, I have been looking at fabric as a canvas, rather than a painting. Instead of being satisfied that the fabric is doing all the work, I look to see what I can do to make it "mine".

I suppose because I am a painter on certain days, looking at things as "unfinished" seems to happen to me quite frequently. I like working on muslin and filling in all the wonderful colors, but sometimes I like to look at something that's already on its way and change it's course. I will show you some examples of what I mean, and then, give you the directions for the little 'checkbook holder', 'pocket folder', or 'clutch', whatever you decide to use it for.

Here is an example of a fabric that had cats printed all over it. I trimmed one of the cats and left enough border to stitch it to another piece of fabric. To make things easier, I ironed it on with Heat and Bond Lite first. (The light Heat and Bond lets you sew through it).

I blanket stitched around the outside of the cat, but, after looking at it, I probably could have just straight stitched and been just as happy. I thought of filling in the stripes, which is an option, but I left them open.

Here, I used the 'themed' fabric and just took it a step further with adding the word 'teacher' and a few flowers to pull the pieces together. Later, after looking at it, I added white centers to the flowers, but I will not post that picture to save space.

Here, again I used the 'themed' fabric and added the image, and after looking at it, tied it together with embellishing one of the 'cat' words on the already printed fabric.

This little trick draws the piece together and gives it that personal touch. Now, I will show you how this is all put together. (what to cut, directions)

Cut the following pieces: 2 pieces 7" x 3 3/4" that will be the cover. They look like that above. While you are cutting them, imagine them folded in half width-wise, so if you are placing a particular design that it goes where you want it. (not upside down) This piece above gets folded as the cover of the folder. Stitch these two pieces together and plan your embroidery embellishments and do them before anything else.

Here, I have embellished the 'plain' dragonflies. At this point I debated about beading, which would have been great on this design. I added the word 'dragonfly' and stitched the flowers in the dark area to tie it together. This is a good time to add your label if you have one, also.

Now, this is the tricky part. I did it wrong the first time, so my picture was wrong and I can't show it. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 7" x 6" that will be the inside pockets. Fold these lengthwise and iron, then lay them on the right side of the cover (the outside) the opposite (which would be crossway) direction of the division of the cover. In other words, the two lines would intersect. Make sure the fold of the pocket is facing the middle, and the side you want showing facing the cover.

Then, cut one piece of fabric (this will be your lining) 7" x 7 1/2". Lay this piece face down on top of the pockets. Pin all around, leaving a gap for turning. I like to leave the gap on the back side bottom. This will be handstitched after turning. After stitching and trimming, pull the entire thing through that opening and push corners out and iron flat. I hand stitched snap closures on mine, but this is optional.

I wanted to show this last kitty folder because I wasn't happy with it after I finished it. I don't think the newspaper fabric 'worked'. I would probably use a solid or vaguely printed fabric instead, next time and use the newspaper fabric for the folders.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and idea post. Let me know if you use it, I would love to see what you do with it.

note: pattern pieces below are not actual size - they're a guide to show you what to cut...


  1. These are great projects - thanks for the diagram!

  2. Thanks for the instructions!! Also for the clever ideas!! As always!

  3. BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL projects!!! The "themed" idea is lovely! And thanks for the diagram! I love it!

  4. lolzzz its just awesome are work i don't have words to say
    about your art because its mind blowing art and I am sure you will earn huge
    money after doing lil bit social marketing you should have to create facebook fan
    page and show your complete portfolio on it and pitch your local customers and
    earn money by doing your art and the last folders printing structure which you
    mention it also helps to those who wanna do this stuff and those who have
    passion about that art.