Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hand Embroidered Cotton Skirt

My cupboard is filled with light, airy cotton skirts and dresses. Though I love to wear these clothes, some of them are a bit plain, and so I've decided to give my wardrobe a makeover The following photos are of the first project, a blue cotton skirt, which I hand embroidered.

Above: For this cotton skirt's makeover, I decided to hand embroider the seam with a floral pattern. I chose soft, feminine colors to match the slightly pastel color of the material.

 Above: I used a chain stitch for the "tree" and a lazy daisy stitch for the little bunches of flowers. 
For the squiggles around the flowers, I used a back stitch. The back stitch is a bit stronger than a running stitch, which is perfect for people like me who can be a bit rough with clothing.
I added in a little butterfly to the left of the design for a tiny bit of contrast and to add interest to the piece.

Above: For the outlines of the butterfly wings, I used a backstitch. For the color inside the wings, I used a combination of a lazy daisy stitch and a single stitch. The lazy daisy stitch is essentially the same as a chain stitch, except that the loop is held in place by a tiny stitch at its end.

Above: The running stitch twirling vines were the most fun to sew. I spent hours embroidering these "squiggles" and enjoyed every minute of it.

Above: I figured out a way to avoid using knots in the embroidery. I would 'work in' the ends of the cotton by securing it to the back of the cloth with each stitch. This way, the embroidery contains no knots and the cotton ends are secure.

Above: This is what the running stitch looks like on the reverse side of the material. To secure the ends of the cotton after I'd finished my design, I ran the needle under several stitches to secure the thread and then cut the end. The cotton is both secure and hidden. This method works well to avoid having loose threads hanging off the back of the embroidery.

So there you have it, my beginner hand embroidery attempt. I found this craft to be very relaxing, if time-consuming. Because all of the equipment and supplies are quite small, I was able to take this sewing project with me on holiday in a small hand basket. It's a lovely way to keep the hands busy while relaxing.

*Beginner Hand Embroidery Tips* 
  • Use an embroidery hoop. The material warps under the tension of the stitches without a hoop. I like a bamboo hoop, simply because it has more grip than a plastic hoop.
  • I didn't use thimbles or embroidery gloves, and so ended up poking dozens of tiny holes in my fingertips. I suggest the use of protective gear.
  • Embroidery cotton can be quite expensive. For beginner embroidery projects, try buying crochet cotton and dividing the threads. For the embroidery above, I used a local product from Vinni's yarns, which I had left over from a crochet project. 
  • Use a sharp needle. The finished result is much neater if worked with a sharp needle than a design that has been punched into the cloth with a blunt needle.

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1 comment:

  1. That is really beautiful! I haven't embroidered in SO long (and I'm not any where close to being as good as you) and this makes me want to. Thank you so much for linking your skirt with air your laundry friday.



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