“I think art is the only political power, the only revolutionary power, the only evolutionary power, the only power to free humankind form all repression.” - Joseph Beuys
Arts and crafts are making a comeback in the digital age thanks to social media like Pinterest and Instagram. Knitting, sewing, interior design, etc. are all manual activities that allow you to relax and let your imagination run wild. If you’re interested in embroidery, here’s some advice to get you started.
How to Remove Embroidery
When first starting with embroidery, you may make mistakes that you need to get rid of. With a needle, you just have to remove the last two stitches and redo them with the embroidery thread.
However, in some cases, you may need to remove everything and start from scratch. You’ll have to take off all the embroidery.
Restarting your embroidery isn’t the only reason you’ll remove the embroidery. You might also just want to remove some embroidery from a garment or cushion, for example. It’s another way to customise an object in your way.
You might also want to reuse the material that you’ve embroidered upon. This is especially true if you’re a novice embroiderer and are practising. You can remove all the embroidery thread and reuse the fabric without having to buy more for each project.
So how can you remove embroidery?
Firstly, get yourself a stitch eraser or stitch remover, a pair of embroidery or sewing scissors, and a razor. The latter may seem quite odd but it’ll save you a lot of time. Start by turning your embroidery around and shave off all the threads sticking out. Turn the embroidery back over and use the stitch eraser to pick out all the stitches, which can take a while. You can also use adhesive ribbon or tape to help you pull the embroidery threads out more quickly.
For smaller embroidery projects, you can also use a pair of scissors to cut the threads instead of the stitch eraser. Find the technique that works the best for you.
You need to ensure that the fabric isn’t damaged while you do this. This is why you need to be patient and careful as you do it. It’s not recommended that you remove embroidery from stretch fabric.
Find out more about removing embroidery.
How to Embroider Eyes
In embroidery, certain things can be quite tricky. This is especially true when it comes to eyes. Each embroiderer has their technique and preferred stitches when it comes to embroidering eyes.
But before you get started, you should know that there are as many ways to embroider eyes as there are embroiderers. Just like a painter has their style, so do embroiderers and some have their unique way or style. They can combine knitting, crochet, pearls, spangles, etc. to make the eyes more authentic.
So there’s not a single correct way to embroider eyes. Similarly, you won’t do eyes in the same way if you’re working on different fabrics such as a linen canvas, Aida cloth, or a 3-dimensional object, for example. It can be much harder to embroider eyes onto a doll than to embroider eyes onto a flat piece of embroidery.
That said, there are a few stitches that could be useful to you:
- Stem stitch
- French knot
- Satin stitch
- Blanket stitch
- Running stitch
- Crewel stitch
Four main stitches are regularly used in embroidery to create eyes.
The stem stitch allows the embroiderer to create the contours of the eyes. The simple cross-stitch is useful for quickly creating a full eye without too much difficulty. To embroider on another object, the French knot can be used to create a small knot that resembles an eye. The satin stitch can be used to fill in an eye much like a cross-stitch.
However you choose to create embroidered eyes, you should regularly practise doing them on linen canvas, for example. Practice, makes perfect, after all.
How to Frame Embroidery
Once you’ve finished your embroidery, you can frame it to give it to a loved one or hang it up in your own home. Framing can be done by a professional but you can also do it yourself if you’re patient and have the right tools.
To frame an embroidery, you’ll need to choose some firm card so that it stays straight and taut in the frame. However, the card can’t be too thick or you won’t be able to close the frame. You’ll also need a frame, of course. You can buy a frame in a shop or even make one yourself with some wood and wood glue. You can get frames and customise them with things like spangles, pearls, ribbons, etc. You can also use cotton wool to pad the embroidery to give it depth, too.
Framing your work also means you can choose the materials you want to use. It’s also a great way to personalise a present from start to finish. To get advice on the materials to use and how to do it, head to arts and crafts shops and haberdasheries. The staff in these shops will be knowledgeable about embroidery as well as other arts and crafts like knitting, crochet, sewing, patchwork, etc.
Once you’ve got everything you need, you have two options:
- Framing with glue.
- Framing without glue.
Using glue is much quicker. To do this, you need to place your embroidery or cross-stitch onto the card that you’ve cut to the size of the frame. Turn it over and glue it onto the edge of the card. Make sure that the canvas or fabric doesn’t hang over the edge. In this case, you may need to cut the edges or corners.
If you don’t want to use glue, you’ll need to use some solid embroidery thread to attach it to the card. This technique will help hold the embroidery canvas in place.
If you want to give your embroidery more depth or relief, you can use cotton wool between the card and the fabric before you attach it.
Finally, it’ll be up to you whether or not you want to sign your hard work. Now it’s ready!
How to Do Patterns in Embroidery
The eyes aren’t the only tricky thing you’ll have to do in embroidery.
So how can you make certain shapes with embroidery?
The most important thing is to learn how to embroider certain shapes. For example, it’s a good idea to get started with cross-stitches or stem stitches rather than back stitches, chain stitches, or French knots.
The simple stitches like the cross-stitch can help you create full patterns quite quickly. You can trace around the edges of your shapes with stem stitches or fill in the empty spaces with cross-stitches. You can also use cross-stitches for the edges.
If you’re looking for inspiration before you get started, you may want to follow a pattern, a type of instruction manual for sewing and embroidery. These patterns come on sheets of paper or printed directly onto a fabric, allowing you to embroider directly onto it. These types of embroidery patterns are easy to follow. You just need to follow the lines and colours.
You can also create your patterns, drawing on the canvas directly with a water erasable marker to help you.
I recommend that you get as much of your embroidery equipment in the same shop as you can. Embroidery hoops, thread, fabric, needles, etc. The more of it you can pick up in the same place, the better.
If you want to learn embroidery from a professional, you can also learn from private embroidery tutors, in workshops held at haberdasheries, by following YouTube videos, or even the instructions found in embroidery kits for beginners. These are all great ways to get started with embroidery.
Go for it!
If you need more help with embroidery or cross-stitch, get help from one of the many talented private tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of tutorial available and, like with tutors, each comes with its pros and cons.
Face-to-face tutorials are great for getting bespoke and tailored tuition as you're the only student in the class. Furthermore, your tutor will be spending a lot of time outside of the lessons preparing lessons for you. Of course, this service comes at a cost and face-to-face private tutorials tend to be the most costly per hour.
Online tutorials are similar but your tutor won't be there in the room with you. With no travel costs and the ability to schedule more sewing classes each week, online private tutors tend to cheaper than face-to-face tutorials.
Finally, group tutorials are good for those on a budget as the cost of the tutor's time and experience will be shared amongst all the students in attendance. While you won't get as much one-on-one time with your tutor, you will pay less per student per hour.