Search Results for: embroidery

SHOW+TELL: A Rainbow of Faux Embroidery

IMG_4535_fauxembroidery
I have spent quite bit of time working on my studio lately, and in the process have embraced a few truths about my personality. 1-I like to turn chaos into order 2-I love clean visually simple spaces with little subtle details 3-Rainbows are the best.

With that in mind, I set out to turn this basic curtain (that hides the closet that houses the clutter) into something a tiny bit more special.

IMG_4444_fauxembroidery
I have an absolute wealth of Sharpies, and I decided to use them to doodle a faux-embroidered rainbow trim across the curtains.

IMG_3988_fauxembroidery
First I cut strips the length of the curtains and about 8″ wide to doodle on.

IMG_3991_fauxembroidery
I ironed under the raw edged, and put a seam down the middle as a reference point for the decoration.

IMG_4003_fauxembroidery
I then gleefully sorted my Sharpies by color (to understand my glee, see points 1 and 2 above) and chose the best colors for my rainbow.

IMG_4013_fauxembroidery
I divided the length into a small portion for each color, and made a light mark where each color began and ended.

IMG_4024_fauxembroidery
Overlapping those marks a bit, I began to draw shapes with small dots and dashes– mimicking the stitches on decorative embroidery pieces. I used a lot of botanical shapes (cause I love ’em) and tried to break up the space with a lot of variety.

IMG_4466_fauxembroidery
When I had the strips all filled up with decoration, I pinned them to my curtains, and used a simple zig-zag stitch on my machine to attach them for good.

IMG_4527
I really like the little touch of color this added, and it was tons of fun to doodle inch-after-inch of floral rainbow.IMG_4545_fauxembroidery
One day I’ll show you some of the other rainbows I’ve captured in here…

Cause they’re the best.

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (for beginners)

Embroidery is one of my favorite craft mediums. It’s the perfect ‘lap’ project to work on while watching a movie and I love that I can pick up my project, work on a few stitches and just as easily put it down again. I first learned embroidery from my grandmother, who taught me to sew when I was a kid. Since then I have accumulated a big collection of vintage embroidery kits, endless boxes of floss, and have been known to transform my own art into embroidered masterpieces.

In case you haven’t heard, the DIY Craft Challenge is back! This month’s theme is Stitches & Threads, which pairs perfectly with embroidery. I’ve been longing to create a beginner embroidery tutorial for quite some time now, so this month is the perfect opportunity! And since it’s February, I made sure to design a project that can also become a Valentine for someone special in your life!

What is an embroidery sampler?

An embroidery sampler is created as a demonstration or test of skill in needlework. It’s the perfect way to practice different kinds of stitches and make something pretty at the same time.

There are hundreds of different types of embroidery stitches in existence. For this beginner project, I’ve chosen just seven: three basic outline stitches (Running Stitch, Back Stitch and Chain Stitch) and four decorative stitches (Threaded Running Stitch, Cross Stitch, Star Stitch and Fern Stitch). To make these stitches as easy to learn as possible I’ve included both photos with written instructions and a video link for each stitch.

7 Embroidery Stitches For Beginners

MATERIALS:

  • 8-inch diameter embroidery hoop:
    The Heart Sampler pattern was created for an 8” hoop but if you would like to make a different size sampler, you can shrink or enlarge the pattern provided to fit your hoop. I’d recommend not going smaller that 6” for this pattern.
  • Hand-sewing/embroidery needle:
    You’ll want to use a medium sized needle with a sharp point and a long opening, or eye, at one end, for easy threading.
  • Embroidery floss (7 different colors):
    Embroidery floss comes in a small bundle or skein and there are tons of colors available (check your local craft store). A length of floss is made up of six smaller strands or plies that are twisted together. You can use all of them or divide them up and use two, three or four plies for a thinner line. For this project, we’ll be using all 6 plies on all our stitches EXCEPT the star stitch, where we will use only three plies.
  • 12”x12” square of fabric (quilter’s cotton or linen works best):
    The looser the weave of your fabric, the more forgiving it can be when taking out stitches and starting over. A finer weave fabric is more likely to show holes from your needle.
  • Sewing scissors:
    Sewing scissors are sharp and used only for cutting thread and fabric. Avoid using your sewing scissors to cut paper or anything else beside fabric so that you don’t dull the blades.
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Fine-lead pencil (or nonpermanent fabric marking pen):
  • Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad (or light table or sunny window)
  • Washi tape (or masking tape or pins)
  • Paper cutter (or scissors & ruler)
  • Heart Sampler Pattern

Other Useful Tools:

  • A needle threader (helpful when you find yourself struggling to thread your needle!)
  • Thimble (can prevent you from stabbing yourself in the finger with your needle. Ouch!)

DIY: Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step One: Prep the Pattern & Fabric

Download the Heart Sampler Pattern HERE and print out onto white copy paper. Then cut 1.25” from both the top and bottom of the page to create a square piece of paper with the pattern at the center.

Cut your fabric to size. I cut mine to be 12”x12” square leaving me plenty of extra. You could also get away with a 10”x10” piece of fabric too. Press your fabric to rid of any wrinkles using a hot iron.

How to use the pattern:

Use the lines of the pattern as a guide for your stitches. You’ll notice that each line has an assigned number to indicate which stitch to use. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to make each stitch. There are a few stitches that are used more than once (like the running stitch, back stitch and chain stitch). Feel free to fill in these stitches as you go along.

Step Two: Transfer the Pattern to Fabric Using the Light Method

The easiest way to transfer a design onto a light-color fabric is to trace it. Place the square paper pattern face down onto the center of the square fabric and secure with washi tape or pins. Flip over and use a light table or my favorite tool, the Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad, to transfer the pattern to the fabric using a fine lead pencil or nonpermanent fabric marking pen. You can also tape your fabric/design to a sunny window and use the natural light to trace.

embroidery-sampler-2
embroidery-sampler-3

Step Three: Prepare the Fabric & Floss

Place the fabric into your embroidery hoop making sure the design is centered. To make your fabric taut, spread it over the smaller inside hoop and fit the larger outside hoop over the top with your fabric in between. Tighten the little screw on the outer hoop and gently pull on the edges of the fabric until you have a taut surface to work with.

embroidery-sampler-5

Threading your needle:

Threading the needle can be a little tricky, especially when using all six plies of floss. It may help to slightly dampen your finger and twist the end of the thread into a point, or try squeezing the floss ends flat between your thumb and forefinger. Then slide the needle’s eye onto the floss (instead of pushing the floss through the eye). If all else fails, use a needle threader.

Once you’ve threaded your needle, knot the longer end of the floss by first wrapping it around your finger, then roll it off and tighten into a knot.

Video Link: How To Tie A Knot For Hand Sewing

Step Four: Stitching the Design

running-stitch

1. Running Stitch: To begin stitching the Heart Sampler, let’s start with the most basic embroidery stitch- the Running Stitch. Begin at the center dashed line of the heart pattern. Starting at the bottom, pull the threaded needle to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then return to the back of the fabric at B. The distance from A to B can be as long or short as you want. For this project, I recommend making small, even stitches of equal length. End your last stitch so that your needle is to the back of the fabric and tie off.

Video Link: Running Stitch

Tying off:

On your last stitch, return the needle to the back of the fabric. To tie off, pass the needle under a previous stitch creating a loop. Bring the needle back through the floss loop, and tighten. I recommend pulling the thread gently when tying off to ensure that the knot ends up snuggly next to your fabric (and not half an inch away). Avoid yanking the floss.

Video link: How to tie off a stitch

Embroidery Tip!

Your thread will get twisted up as you make your stitches. To correct this problem, hold up the hoop and let the needle and floss dangle straight down so that the strand can untwist itself. Just make sure not to lose your needle!

back-stitch

2. Back Stitch: Move over to the next line on the pattern (from the middle running stitch). Starting at the bottom of the pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then go backwards and return your needle to the back of your fabric at B. Next your going to move your needle forward, coming up at C. Repeat this process to create consecutive back stitches by once again working backwards, poking your needle through at the end of the previous stitch, then moving your needle forward. Be sure to make small, even stitches of equal length. Once you reach the end of the line (of the pattern), tie off.

Video Link: Back Stitch

cross-stitch

3. Cross Stitch: Next we are going to try our first decorative stitch! Starting at the bottom of your pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A and then back down again at B (creating a diagonal straight stitch). Next make a second stitch from C to D. Make sure each cross (x) overlap is in the same direction. Once you finish your row and tie off, notice what the back or your stitches look like. The back of a Cross Stitch row should look like the image shown.

Video Link: Cross Stitch

threaded-running-stitch

4. Threaded Running Stitch: First make a line of small close Running Stitches. End the floss. Start a second floss strand (in a different color) at the same spot as the first line of running stitches, bringing your needle to the front of your fabric at A. Working on the front only, without stitching through the fabric, insert the needle under the first Running Stitch, then through the second Running Stitch. Continue weaving back and forth under the Running Stitches until you reach the end of the line. End floss and tie off.

Video Link: Threaded Running Stitch (Warning: This video is not in English, but her demonstration of the stitch is all you really need).

chain-stitch

5. Chain Stitch: Start again at the bottom of the pattern and move your way up. Bring the threaded needle to the front at A. Insert the needle back into the fabric at A and then just poke the needle back up to the front at B. Loop the thread under the needle point then pull the thread through to create your first chain. Begin the next stitch in the same way by inserting the needle back into the fabric at B (now under the loop), coming up at C (outside the loop). Bring the thread around and under the needle point and pull the thread through. On your last stitch, end the chain by inserting your needle into the end of the last chain (outside the loop). Pull the thread through to the back and tie off.

Video link: Chain Stitch

fern-stitch

6. Fern Stitch: Fern Stitch consists of three Straight Stitches of equal length radiating from the same central point A. Starting at the top of the pattern and moving your way down, bring the thread through at A and then make a Straight Stitch to B. Bring the thread back through again at point A and make another Straight Stitch to C. Bring the thread back through at point A (for the final time) and make a final straight stitch to D. Repeat this pattern by moving the needle down and coming up through the next center stitch to begin the next three radiating stitches. The center stitch follows the light of the pattern design.

Video Link: Fern Stitch (Note: This demonstration is done differently than described above. Either method works!)

star-stitch

7. Star Stitch: This is an Eight Point Star Stitch. Begin by first making a basic cross stitch. Then make another cross stitch diagonally on top of the first one to form a star.

Video Link: Star Stitch

embroidery-sampler-33

Step Five: Finishing for Display

embroidery-sampler-36

Once finished, turn your embroidery sampler to the back and take a look. My grandma always said that the back of your embroidery project should look just as neat and tidy as the front! But don’t worry. It’s OK is yours doesn’t look so tidy, since no one is meant to see the back of your project anyway (unless you show your grandma and she wants to check your stitches lol).

You can now prep your project for display. If you plan to make your heart sampler into a pillow, for example, you can remove it from the hoop and move on to your sewing machine. Or you can leave it as ‘Hoop Art’ by using the embroidery hoop as a frame for the project. To do this, make sure your Heart Sampler is centered in the hoop and the fabric is nice and taut. Then use sewing scissors to cut away the excess fabric.

embroidery-sampler-38

TOOLBOX: Gingher 4 Inch Embroidery Scissors

IMG_8868
Change is afoot for me, and I’ve been drowning any anxiety of said change by keeping busy every. moment. of. every. day. It’s working for now, but at some point the constant movement and sleepless nights are going to catch up with me.

All of this to explain why I gave myself permission to spend too much money on a pair of scissors.
(Correction, not “too much”. “Just enough.”)

In a fit of productivity I decided to tackle a big project that included a metric ton of tiny snips. (There’s a sneak peak later in this post.) After struggling with my trusty pair or sewing scissors, I pulled up Amazon, and ordered a pair of Ginghers off of my wish list. These Gingher 4 Inch Embroidery Scissors appeared about a week later, and I was very happy.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8859
First things first. These guys are tiny. 4 inches is the length from the tip of the blade to the end of the handles. They come with a little leather sheath, which is good because they are VERY sharp. (On Amazon, several of the reviewers say they have had major cut on their hands while using these scissors. Most of these are 5 star reviews, showing that people who need embroidery scissors appreciate quality– even if that particular quality is “deadly.”) I have only cut myself once so far, but Safety Husband has been watching me closely.
You can use them to make all sorts of fabric messes:

IMG_8886
narrow, even snips for fringing or other decorative details,

IMG_8892
smooth detailed shapes out of picky fabrics,

IMG_8895
and they cut easily through a thick roll of fabric.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8807
They made quick work of my project, and I know they will become an indispensable part of my sewing kit.

Things To Love

• Sharp to the very end, which means it’s easier to line up snips.
• All metal with a nifty screw for adjustment down the road.
• Opens and closes very smoothly.
• Simple handle means it’s easy to hold at that weird angle you need to get into that corner seam…

Things to Hate

• Sharp. Dangerous. Use caution when inebriated or distracted.
• The handle is a little small for my fingers, and I have to stop periodically to readjust.

IMG_8911

Want your very own pair? Follow this link to buy them from Amazon. I didn’t get any incentive to post this– just wanted to share something from my toolbox– but if you use our link we could get a small part of the proceeds to further our Adventures (and my tool addiction.)

 

 

Do you have a favorite tool you’d like to share? Tell us all about it!

DIY: Add a Kitten Pocket with Polish Remover and Sharpies

img_6722kittenpocket

This month’s DIY Challenge theme is Cats, so send in all your favorite kitty projects for the round-up at the end of the month. Visit the challenge page for more information, and use the handy-dandy form to upload your project photos. We can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

I like to “joke” that I have a kitten biological clock. Every couple of years I start thinking about how much fun kittens are, and how cute, and how nice it would be to have the pitter patter of little feet.

Dangerous.

To nip this in the bud this year, I’ve signed up for some future fostering, and came up with this little kitten pocket to bridge the gap. It’s based on a picture of Wee Cooper (our last kitten) and I thought I would share it so you can all have a kitten pocket of your very own.

img_6609kittenpocket

Supplies

  • Cotton Tote that kneads needs a kitten. It’s important to use cotton or another natural material because acetone can eat through a lot of synthetic materials.
  • 100% Acetone finger nail polish remover.
  • Cotton pads, balls, or rags.
  • Bone folder or similar tool for burnishing
  • Masking Tape
  • Sharpie Markers – Black and Silver
  • This kitten template* printed with a laser printer or copier. Use the reversed image on the right for transferring.

Step One: Printing and Prepping Your Template

Use a Laser Printer or Copier to print the Kitten Template* on a normal sheet of paper. Black and white is fine. It’s important to use a printer or copier that has TONER instead of ink. The transfer process with move some of that toner onto the fabric. If you try it with ink you’ll end up with a mess!

If you don’t have access to a toner-based printer or copier, or this process doesn’t work for some other reason, never fear! You can use a light table to trace the kitten on your bag, or use transfer paper to apply the design. You can see examples of those processes here and here.

After you have printed your page, cut out the cat and pocket on the right, leaving a large border.

img_6612kittenpocketb

Step Two: Layout Your Design

Decide where you want to put your kitten, and tape it firmly face down on your bag. Make sure everything is as straight and tight as you can make it.

img_6617kittenpocketb

Step Three: Blot and Burnish

Saturate a cotton pad with acetone, and press it into the paper. You will start to see the design through the paper. Saturate a small portion of the design with acetone, then switch to burnishing with your bone folder. Rub the side of the bone folder on the paper to press it firmly down into the fabric. Repeat on small sections of the design, then go back over each portion one or two times, adding more acetone and pressure.

img_6620kittenpocketb

If you can, peak to make sure that you have transferred the kitten. If not, you may want to repeat the process with more acetone and more pressure. If you see the design, move to the next step!

If you don’t see anything at all, there’s a chance your printer won’t work for this process. Don’t fear! You can use a light table to trace the kitten on your bag, or use transfer paper to apply the design. You can see examples of those processes here and here.

img_6623kittenpocketb

Step Four: Fill it in

If you used a smooth material and have a good transfer you could skip this step altogether– it’s up to you. If you’d like, use a black Sharpie to darken in the design. You can use the left side of the template as a reference for portions you can’t see as well on the transfer.

img_6626kittenpocketb

When you have the kitten filled in, use a silver Sharpie to add in the whiskers. It will show up on the black of the kitten and on the light bag as well!

img_6658kittenpocket

When you’re done let it dry for a couple of minutes, pile all your stuff in it, and take a kitten everywhere you go.

img_6713kittenpocket

Purrfect.

 

 

 

*Kitten template includes an original illustration by Alison Lang. We’re happy to share files for personal and educational purposes, but please don’t use it for anything else without our permission. Thanks!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden (Part 1)

Plant the seeds of joyful gardening and teach your child how to tend to their very own felt vegetable garden! This is a great project that can be turned into the ultimate garden playtime complete with a garden planter box, plants, and ‘pickable’ fruits and veggies. Also, don’t forget the play watering can!

felt-vegetable-garden-47

My twin nieces will be two years old this June and I plan on gifting them their own felt garden to play with. I first had the idea last winter and had originally planned to make this as a Christmas gift but with the craziness of the holiday season, I wasn’t able to start working on it until Christmas day! Since then, my mom and I have spent many evenings stitching up these felt veggies. Not only are they simple to make and impossible to ‘mess up’ (since imperfections in homegrown veggies is part of the magic of gardening), these felt veggies are also addicting! Once you stitch up a strawberry, you’ll be hooked by its utter cuteness and want to make more!

felt-vegetable-garden-1

Materials:

• Felt (reds and greens)
• Needle and thread (in coordinating colors)
• Pins and fabric scissors
• Fiberfill
• Embroidery floss (green and white)
• Velcro (loop and hook)
• Brown felt (for the ‘dirt’)
• Wooden crate
• Faux greenery (for the ‘plants’)
Free printable pattern

Step One: Make the planter box

felt-vegetable-garden-45

You’ll need a wooden crate, brown felt (or cotton fabric), and fiberfill. I used a sewing machine to sew the pretend dirt but you could also hand-stitch them together. To create the rows of ‘dirt’, you’ll basically be making four mini bolsters that fit snuggly into the crate.

felt-vegetable-garden-diy

Start by cutting two 4 ½” circles (see pattern) and one rectangle 15 1/8” x 11 ¾” in size. Fold the rectangle in half (hamburger style) and sew along the edge leaving approx. 1/2” seem allowance to create a sleeve. Then pin one felt circle to the sleeve with the wrong sides facing out as shown in the photo 2.

Sew all the way around the edge of the circle. Then repeat on the other end, making sure to leave a 2” opening so you can turn the whole thing right side out (see photo 3). Turn right side out and stuff with fiberfill (photo 4). Then hand-stitch the opening closed. Repeat this process to make three more mini bolsters (or however many will fit in your crate).

felt-vegetable-garden-26

A special note: There is no right or wrong way to sew any of the felt veggies in this tutorial! You can use a sewing machine, or hand-stitch them all (like I did). My mom and I discovered different ways to make these as we went along and all methods are correct! So if you find your own way, that’s great! And if your tomato turns out a little wonky, even better! Since discovering a ‘real’ odd shape veggie growing in your garden is one of the many pleasures of growing anything.

Step Two: Tomatoes!

felt-vegetable-garden-53

Print out the pattern provided and cut out your pieces from red and green felt. Thread your needle with red (or pink) thread, and tie a knot at the end (photo 1). Slightly overlap two red pieces and whip stitch them together as shown in photo 2. Then repeat with the other two red pieces. Next, whip stitch the two halves together, leaving a small opening to stuff with fiberfill. Then stitch the opening closed and tie off your thread (photo 3).

tomato-tutorial

Thread a length of green embroidery floss (or green thread works too) and back stitch the leaf to the top of the tomato as shown in photo 4.

Finish up the tomato by adding a stem with a Velcro leaf. Start by threading your needle using green thread and tie a knot at the end (photo 5). Then roll the square end of the stem piece together and stitch closed as shown in photos 6 and 7. Cut a small piece of Velcro (the soft/fuzzy ‘loop’ side) and stitch into the inside of the leaf. You can also trim the length of the stem to your desired length (photo 8).

Lastly, stitch the stem onto the tomato and tie off your thread (photo 9). And that’s it! You’ve made your first tomato! Repeat to make as many as you like (I made three to hang on a single plant).

felt-vegetable-garden-54

Step Three: Strawberries!

felt-vegetable-garden-51

Cut out your pieces using the pattern provided. Then thread your needle with red thread and tie a knot at one end (photo 1). Whip stitch the two red pieces together along the rounded edge only (just like you did with the tomatoes). Then straight stitch around the opening, stuff with fiberfill and pull the threads to cinch the opening closed (photo 2). Tie securely with a knot and tie off.

Next add ‘seeds’ to the strawberry using some white embroidery floss. Start by inserting your threaded needle into the top of the strawberry (the knot will soon be covered up by the top leaf) and make small straight stitches all around the berry (photo 3). When finished, poke the needle back up through the top and tie off. Then, thread your needle with green embroidery floss and sew the leaf onto the top of the berry (making sure to cover the white knots) (photo 4).

strawberry-tutorial

Finally stitch a small piece of Velcro (fuzzy ‘loop’ side) onto the top of the strawberry. And you’re done! Repeat to make as many strawberries as you like! I made 4 berries per plant.

felt-vegetable-garden-21

felt-vegetable-garden-52

Step Four: Make the plants!

I used faux greenery to make plants for the tomatoes and strawberries to ‘grow’ from. Simply cut off a plant size sprig and stitch little pieces of Velcro (using the ‘hook’ or sticky side) onto the leaves and/or stems. Once you’ve finished adding the Velcro, you are ready to plant your berries and tomatoes!

felt-vegetable-garden-27

Additional Links:

Here are links to two great tutorials by Fairy Fox that I used to make both the felt cabbages and mushrooms.

Cabbage tutorial
Felt Mushroom tutorial

felt-vegetable-garden-48

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for PART 2 of this tutorial where we’ll be making carrots, beets and even eggplants!

felt-vegetable-garden-57

The April DIY Craft Challenge Is “In The Garden”

Thank you to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! We just love seeing the awesome things you all make and feel so inspired by the ‘bird’ themed submissions we received. Be sure to check out our roundup post of what everyone made here!

Play In The Dirt

Spring is here, the sun is shining, and we’re taking inspiration from our own backyards this month! The theme for April is “In The Garden” so we invite you all to go outside, find inspiration in your surroundings and make something inspired by the seeds you plant, the flowers you pot, and the creativity you grow.

1604_diychallenge_logo_wide
April DIY Craft Challenge at Adventures-in-making.com

Inspiration Sources

1. Incremental Mini-Garden by No Linde
2. DIY Stamped Spoon Plant Markers by Intimate Weddings
3. Hopscotch Garden Stepping Stones by Garden Therapy
4. Springtime Tic-Tac-Toe by Chicken Scratch NY
5. Ombre Herb Garden Markers by Humble Beads Jewelry
6. DIY Modern Neon Concrete Block Planter by Modernly Wed
7. Illustration by Sanna Mander
8. Chalkboard Clay Pot Herb Garden by The Robin’s Nest
9. Herb Embroidery by Onoe Megumi
10. Moss Hearts by Alissa Burke
11. Pansy Shortbread Cookies by The Cafe Sucre Farine
12. DIY River Rock Garden Markers by West Valley Moms Blog

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, April 1st and ends on April 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on April 30th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

Have a great weekend! We’ll be back on Monday with our own “Garden” themed projects to share 🙂

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushies

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushie With spring beginning to bloom, my friends’ chickens are starting to lay more eggs. I love visiting them and watching the chickens peck and strut their way around the yard. Feeling a little ‘chicken’ inspired and wanting to work on a new sewing project, I decided to make up a few Spring Chicken Plushies to give as gifts to my friends who have and love their chickens! (I also secretly hope they will trade me a cute plushie for a fresh egg!)

chicken-plushies-22b

This is a fairly straightforward tutorial that can be done using a sewing machine or sewn completely by hand. I love coming up with ways to use up fabric scraps and this project is perfect for that since the all the pieces are quite small.

Materials:

  • Cotton fabric (quilter’s fabric works great)
  • Red and yellow felt (use scraps if you have them on hand)
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing Scissors
  • Craft scissors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Fiberfill
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Dried lemon balm (optional)
  • Free pattern (click to download)

Download the free pattern, then print and cut out the pieces using craft scissors. Press your fabric and cut out the pattern pieces using fabric scissors. Remember not to mix up your scissors! You don’t want to dull the blade of your fabric only scissors by using them to cut paper.

Use a cotton fabric of your choice to cut out pattern pieces A + B. Then choose a coordinating cotton fabric to cut out pattern piece C. Use red felt to cut out pattern piece D and yellow felt to cut out E (as shown below).

chicken-plushies-1

Once you have your pieces cut, lay the first pattern piece A (with right side facing up) onto your work surface. Place the felt pieces D + E on top as shown below. Then place pattern piece B (right side facing down) as shown and secure with a pin.

chicken-plushies-2chicken-plushies-3

Sew along the edge to secure the felt pieces and pattern piece B into place.

chicken-plushies-4

Next place the second pattern piece A directly on top (right side facing down). Pin in place and then flip over.
chicken-plushies-5

Flip up the bottom (sewn side) of piece B and pin the un-sewn side into place as shown in the photo below.

chicken-plushies-6

Sew all the way around the outside leaving about a ½” opening near the top or neck of the bird. Make small cuts in the fabric (making sure not to cut through your stitches) as shown below.

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushies

Then cut a few notches where indicated on the pattern (this will prevent the fabric from puckering once we turn the fabric right side out).

chicken-plushies-8

Now you’re ready to turn the fabric right side out and stuff with fiberfill. Use the end of a pencil to turn out completely and stuff.

OPTIONAL: Add with a few tablespoons of dried lemon balm then stuff the rest of the way with fiberfill for a scented sachet option.

chicken-plushies-9

Use a needle and thread to whip stitch the opening closed. Set the bird body aside.

Now it’s time to sew the wings. Place two pattern piece C’s together (right sides face in). Sew around leaving a small opening. Turn right side out and whip stitch the opening closed. Repeat for the second wing.

chicken-plushies-10

Thread your needle with a matching thread and stitch the wings onto the body of the bird as shown in the photo below.chicken-plushies-11

Cut a length of embroidery floss. Divide the strands into 3 plys and thread onto a needle. Poke your needle behind a wing (to hide your knot) and come up near the top where you want to start your first eye. Use a straight stitch to add a U shape eye on one side of the bird. Then poke your needle through to the other side and stitch the second eye. Hide the end of your thread by poking your needle back through the bird and coming out farther down near a seam. Cut off excess thread with scissors.

chicken-plushies-12

And you’re done! Make a few to decorate your home this spring or gift them to your chicken-loving friends and family this Easter!

chicken-plushies-24bchicken-plushies-21b

Click Here for a tutorial on how to make the Felt Cacti featured in the photos above!

 

 

DIY: MARCH Embroidered Bird Journal Kit

IMG_5011_MARCHbirdatistjournalembroiderykit
Whenever we come up with a monthly theme, we always seem to have a couple of images floating around in our minds- a couple of things we’d like to tackle. Ever since last month, I wanted a chance to play around with stitching on paper, and I decided this little bird was just asking for it.

I had so much fun making this journal, I thought I would share the experience with you! This kit includes a bound journal of found papers, a black band, embroidery floss, a needle, and basic instructions. You can pick up a kit for yourself at our Adventures in Making Etsy Shop.

IMG_4980_birdatistjournalembroiderykit

March Journal Kit Includes:

  • One staple bound journal (~3.5 inches)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Sewing template (if you’re reproducing this design exactly.)

Additional tools needed

  • Scissors
  •  Pencil

IMG_4986_birdatistjournalembroiderykit

Paper Stitching Tips

  • Pre-pierce with a needle or awl. Paper is less forgiving than fabric; every hole you poke will show through. To minimize the damage to your paper, poke all your holes before you start stitching.
  • Pull your thread in the direction of the paper. When you tighten up your stitches, pull your needle parallel to the paper surface. If you pull away from the paper you’ll strain you paper and make the hole larger.
  • Use half a strand of floss for a flatter piece of art. A full strand of floss was a little too thick for any of the stitches in this journal.
  • Make lots of knots, even though knots are tedious sometimes.

 

Step One: Draw Template Lines

IMG_4981_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
With the band in place, trace a pencil line gently along each edge. You will not put any stitches directly under the band.

IMG_4984_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
This kind of paper-stitching is kind of like 3-d doodling, so let your imagination take you away! Trace circular items, use a ruler or free-hand lines you want to use.

(If you want to reproduce my design instead of making your own, you can skip the drawing step and use the template to pierce holes. Instructions in the next step.)

Step Two: Pierce the Paper

IMG_4985_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
Use your needle to poke small holes along each of your curved lines, about 1/4 – 1/2″ apart. You can use fewer holes for straight lines, just make sure to have a hole at each end. (If you’re using the birdy template to recreate our circular pattern, line it up on the front cover of your journal and press your needle through at each red dot. Put the template to the side, and use the colored lines as a reference to connect the dots!)

Step Three: Adding Stitches

IMG_4993_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
You can try any embroidery stitch you want to connect your dots. Rachel’s embroidery sampler is a great reference for stitches. The back stitch is especially useful.

back-stitch

Check out the sampler post for more stitches to try on your journal!

Step Four: Finishing Up

IMG_4998_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
When you’re all done stitching, and want to hide the back of your work, pull the adhesive strip backing from the front cover…

IMG_5004_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
Then partially close the book and wrap the cover flap over the cream-colored end page. Run your finger along the flap to adhere it.

IMG_5009_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
If you have any remaining pencil lines, gently erase them, and you’re all done!

IMG_4938_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
Each journal was made with vintage papers, so there’s lots to inspire art journaling or collage. You can even embroider inside!

IMG_5005_birdatistjournalembroiderykit

February DIY Challenge Roundup!

We want to thank everyone who participated in the February DIY Craft Challenge. We were so inspired by your creations it’s had to move on to the next theme, but with this amazing collection of projects we’re excited to see what you’ll do next.

A few of you had questions about what kinds of projects we accept as submissions for the challenge, and we wanted to tell you that you to let your imaginations run free! Use the theme for inspiration to try something you’ve always wanted to, revisit an old favorite, or go crazy. We like it all.

Without further ado, here’s what some of you have been up to!


 

20160131_163450-01-01~2 I make States and Countries pillows for my shop, Mod’s Best Friend. The challenge inspired me to try something new for Valentine’s, incorporating California into the word LOVE for a really fun applique.

You can find some of Jennifer’s creations at www.modsbestfriend.com, and on instagram (@modsbestfriend).

I recently decided to try my hand at embroidery and hope to share this little adventure with you. Your theme is perfect for me as its given me the push to get started.  I had a kit sitting there for ages, looking all sad and lonely. 

Maura is an Irish blogger with and interest in crafty things, especially crochet and upcycling furniture. Follow along at themessybrunette.com and on instagram (@TheMessyBrunette) and Pinterest (@messybrunette)

hoop3

Although I don’t sew much, I thought that an Altoids tin would make the perfect base for a charming little pincushion.  Two things I like about this pincushion, (1) the tin offers some handy little storage under the cushion for needles, buttons, and notions, and (2) I used a little bit of netting from a vegetable bag to create the floral embroidery that decorates my pincushion.

Check out the tutorial for Donna Herron’s kit here, and her other great projects at hubpages.com/@purl3agony

In August 2015 my sister-in-law was diagnosed with myelofibrosis which quickly turned into leukemia. To keep her warm, I made the beanie in the attached photo.

Rebekah Burr-Siegal stitched this E. E. Cummings poem with a back stitch and chain stitch, and it’s absolutely amazing.

Stitches and threads are my main medium (along with felt) so I knew I had to enter the challenge. All my dimensional felt flowers are hand-stitched. I also love to add stitched details to the the flat flowers as well. 

Cathy is a freelance social media manager/writer/photographer in the Pacific Northwest and makes all sorts of awesome felt creations for her shop Catshy Crafts. Follow her on Instagram (@catshycrafts) and her site catshycrafts.com

Stitches and Threads inspired me to try different stitches and colors to create a sweet heart. I enjoy stitching, knitting, crocheting, quilting, mixed-media journaling, painting, poetry, gelli printing, collage, ….

Uli Day shared this lovely Valentine’s heart with us. You can see her other fun adventures at her site, uliday.blogspot.com.

So glad the challenge is back! I went with a super simple crocheted chain stitch scarf/necklace thing that I really love.

Sarah White shared instructions for this fiber project at her site, ourdailycraft.com.

I’m Dani from California. Each year my New Year Goal is to learn something new every year. This year I chose needlework, and I love it! I’m learning different stitches and mixed media is addicting. 

Dani from California made this sweet little stitched piece from a printable and some needle felting, fabric and buttons for a friend undergoing cancer treatment.

I have been wanting to try paper embroidery for some time now and this challenge provided the push I needed to just go for it. I can’t wait to try another project.

Anna lives in Florida, and is a “teacher by day and sewist, baker, and crafter by all other hours.” She has an amazing step-by-step description of her project at her site, check it out!

Those last two projects are the perfect teaser to March’s theme. Can you guess what it is?

DIY: Target My Heart Pincushion

IMG_4390_hearttargetpincushion
About 12 years ago I stitched together a utilitarian pillow stuffed with cloth scraps and called it a pincushion. It was my sad companion through many a sewing project, and as much as I wanted to replace it I never made the time.

Well! The time has come.

Seeing as it’s February and Stitches + Threads time, let’s turn Cupid’s target into a nifty little pincushion.

IMG_4290_hearttargetpincushion

SUPPLIES:

  • Red and white craft felt
  • Corresponding thread or embroidery floss
  • A small scrap of chipboard
  • A black permanent marker (I used a Sharpie Stained marker.)
  • Your favorite adhesive
  • A pair or scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • A strong thin magnet
  • The printed fabric template: to download click on the image below, or here.

hearttarget

  • * Optional : If you’d like to turn your pincushion into a wrist band you will need a small length of elastic and a second magnet.

IMG_4305_hearttargetpincushion
First use the “Wrist Guard” template piece to cut a small heart out of chipboard. This will be place inside the pincushion to keep you from pushing pins all the way through. Use your favorite adhesive to attach one magnet to this piece of chipboard.

IMG_4294_hearttargetpincushion
Next tape a small piece of white felt to the template sheet and use a window to trace the rings of the target shape with your black marker. You may need to go over it a few times to make the rings as dark as possible.

IMG_4304_hearttargetpincushion
Set this piece aside for a moment to dry or you will end up with marker all over your hands. (Which is fun!) While you are waiting, use the “Heart” template to cut two red heart pieces, then when the target is dry cut just outside of the first dark ring. Keep all your little fabric scraps for the stuffing steps later. (Waste not, want not and all that.)

IMG_4314_hearttargetpincushion
Place the target piece in the center of one of the heart pieces and pinch or pin them together. Using black thread or embroidery floss whip the target down to attach it to the pincushion. (I used a blanket appliqué stitch around my target, similar to the one Rachel used in her Alphabet Hoop Art DIY . You can watch a video of how it is done here. If this looks tricky to you, use any old stitch you want!)

IMG_4315_hearttargetpincushion
When the target is all stitched down make a sandwich with the remaining pieces: target+heart piece, chipboard+magnet piece, plain heart piece.

IMG_4317_hearttargetpincushion
Then use thread (or floss) to stitch the two red felt heart pieces together, beginning at the top of one side. (For this stitching I used a blanket stitch. You can see a video of a pro doing it here. Any stitch should work to make this little pillow, so play around with it!)

IMG_4326_hearttargetpincushion
When you reach the top of the other side of the heart, stop sewing and collect your scraps to stuff. Any large scraps can be cut into tinier pieces that will fluff up the inside of you cushion.

IMG_4327_hearttargetpincushion
Start to fill the space between the chipboard wrist guard and the heart+target piece, using a little bit of stuffing at a time. Make sure to press into the point and sides of your heart to make it really puff.

IMG_4331_hearttargetpincushion
When you’ve got it almost over-full stitch up the remaining open space and tie a firm knot. Tuck your thread-end into the heart or trim it and you’re all done!

IMG_4380_hearttargetpincushion
So, why did I have you include a magnet? Because magnets are awesome! If you’re prone to losing straight pins like a startled porcupine loses quills you’ll appreciate the pin collecting magic of a strong magnet. Have a magnetic board or fridge in your making space? Smack your pincushion there for safe keeping!

But if you want to really kick your pincushion up a notch…

IMG_4329_hearttargetpincushion
you can make a magnetic wrist band. Cut a piece of elastic a little bit smaller than your wrist, and glue a magnet to one end. Sew the two ends together to form a loop, stitching around the magnet.

IMG_4335_hearttargetpincushion
Then you should be able to attach your pincushion temporarily to your wrist whenever it’s convenient.

IMG_4376_hearttargetpincushion
If you’re anything like me, it will be convenient a lot.

IMG_4369_hearttargetpincushion
I don’t think I’ll ever look back to the silly old pincushion of yesterday, but I am tempted to make a bunch more of these guys. Maybe a porcupine…