Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tutorial: Old-School Embroidery

How about I try a tutorial? I do lots of this kind of embroidery, on baby shirts, kitchen towels, baby quilts, etc.

My favorite vintage style embroidery patterns are "Aunt Martha's". I've seen them at Hobby Lobby, or you can find them at

I have been able to find all of the patterns I grew up with. My mom and great-grandma embroidered a lot. The fill-in trick I learned from Aunt Liz.

I liked this picture, and it wasn't an iron transfer, so I used a Hot Iron Transfer Pencil and traced the whole thing. (Always put an old tea towel or something flat to protect your ironing board cover. This is a "seep through" project.) Also, slip the shirt on the ironing board so you're only working with the front.


Then, iron on a semi-high cotton setting with NO steam for about 10 seconds or so. See how easy? Remember, your image will go on your project in reverse.

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While it's still a bit warm, color it in with crayons. No need to be too precise, but stay inside the lines.

I like to use a bit of lightweight fusible backing to keep the embroidery looking crisp on the shirt. I don't use it with pillowcases or dishtowels, however.

Next, take a lightweight paper bag (I like the ones from Roberts Crafts that they use for your scrapbook paper purchases.) Place it over the top of the shirt where your picture is. The fusible backing is ironed on at this time too, under the shirt behind the picture.

Iron away! Again, no steam. You're trying to melt the crayon wax into the fabric, essentially making a stain. You'll see the crayon seep through the paper, and you're done.

Then, go ahead and embroider! Everyone has a different style. Just do what you like. I try to keep mine as just an outline, but I sometimes fill in middles of flowers or eyes. The stitches I use most are the Lazy Daisy and the Vine Stitch. There is a good stitch guide HERE.

Next, trim off the backing, as close as you can get to the emroidery.

All done! Cute, right? The color does fade a bit when you wash, but I think that adds to the vintage effect.


Erica said...

I LOVE IT. You are a pro at the embroidery, my dear. That duck is too cute! You're giving me the itch to stitch...I must go buy some onesies to work on! Excellent tutorial! :o)

Nikki said...

I need to get my butt into gear and do some kitchen towels that I've been wanting to do for what, almost a year now?

Nicole said...

Very cute! You are amazing!

tren said...

Very cute! This looks like something Alice would like to do for Alihah. I would like to do it, too, but I don't think I would ever find the time.

chiefwiseguy said...

You are so clever. I did something wrong, because my ducky ended upside down. How do I fix it ??

Mama T. said...

So cute! I love it! You're awesome!

Vic and Al said...

Piper you are such a talented little thing! You put me to shame! The shirt is adorable.

Mandi said...

I am so impressed with your abilities. That is darling.

Messimoo said...

SUPER cute! I am so impressed with your many talents!!!! Love that we're friends on facebook and I can read your blog now, because now I find out the nitty gritty stuff, over the fence doesn't wuite do it! :)