I’ve been known to pay more than I should for cute, embroidered old lady sweaters (*coughAnthropologiecough*). Inspired by Sublime Stitching and thriftiness, I decided to try my hand at needlework to see if I could make some of the designs that I liked. I didn’t start out with high hopes—I fully expected my efforts to yield nothing more than knotted floss and/or messy patterns that I wouldn’t want to wear out of the house. Further, I expected that, even if I did get the hang of the stitches, it would take too long to embroider anything that I liked. Over the holidays, I finally gave decorative stitching a try. To my great surprise, I found that learning basic embroidery techniques was actually relaxing and easy.
In preparation for my project, I picked up Doodle Stitching and Sublime Stitching at a local bookstore, then stopped at Michaels for some floss and basic supplies. Using an old cloth napkin as practice fabric, I tried out a few stitches. Once I got the hang of using a needle and embroidery floss, I practiced each stitch in the books until my results were uniform. I was surprised that, aside from feather stitch, which took 3 or 4 tries, the stitches came naturally, and looked just like they did in the book’s illustrations.
Feeling confident, I tried my first non-practice design on one of my old sweaters. It was a simple project, only split stitches, French knots, and lazy daisies, but it made my plain gray cardigan look like an entirely new piece of clothing.
I also experimented with outlining patterns, and free-handed an easy vine and leaf design on one of my camisoles.
I really like the touch of elegance that even the smallest bit of hand stitching can add to an otherwise unremarkable piece of clothing. Now that I’ve gotten started with embroidery, I’m not sure that any piece of fabric in my apartment is safe for very long…
Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners
Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To
Embroidered Effects: Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching (Sublime Stitching)
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