Friday, January 30, 2015

Abstract Fabric designing using Pencils

I have recently been inspired to create a range of fabric designs around abstract shapes using coloured pencils. The shapes have been heavily influenced by triangles and I have mixed some abstracted real images like hands or flowers or road signs with clean lines.

The pencils I have used have been Faber Castel Polychromos and I am very pleased with the colour rendition after scanning and loading for fabric.

 The designs have maintained the shaded aspects and depth I was hoping to achieve.

I have used the excellent fabric printers at Spoonflower and these swatches are all on their basic combed cotton.

I made my own Polo Shirt and designed the fabric too!

I have always loved the clean and comfy lines of polo shirts but have been always too scared to make my own. I thought the collar and the facings would be too challenging.  But I recently got hold of Kwik Sew pattern 2765 and I was amazed at how easy the pattern actually was. 
The sizing on the pattern was great (no tester required - yay) and the instructions were nice to follow. 
This is the result - a polo shirt made up using my Spoonflower fabric design "Shards of Sheer Aqua" in modern Pique fabric.  I designed the fabric on paper using pencils and I wanted to include grey and aqua - some of my favourite colours.
This fabric was lovely to sew with and I would recommend Spoonflower modern Pique as a shirt fabric to anyone.
I used some great Knitwit iron on stretch interfacing on the facing and collar and on the shoulder seams.

I am definitely going to make more from this pattern.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Free Embroidery Pattern - Butterfly Stitchery/Embroidery



Large butterfly stitchery completed size: 9cm high by 9cm wide each
Button stitchery is designed to fit 38mm self cover button

  • My stitchery is worked in 1 thread of embroidery floss.  This means if you have a skein of embroidery floss and you cut a workable length (around 40cm), you need to separate out one thread from the six in the length to work with.
  • I have worked these stitcheries using DMC Thread no. 816 (red) for the tiny butterfly buttons. I used a variegated brown thread for the large butterfly.  You could try this or any of your own colour combinations.  You may also like to colour portions of the completed stitchery using artist colouring pencils. 
  • I like to work on homespun (100% cotton fabric) in a light colour that has first been washed and ironed well.
  • I transfer the stitchery pattern using a well lit window and sharp 2B pencil. I transfer the design in line with the fabrics grain. The pencil marks are hidden by the completed stitches
  • I like to back my work with iron on interfacing to hide knots behind the stitchery.
  • I wax my thread as I work to improve the threads performance.
  • I use an embroidery hoop to improve the embroidery outcome.
  • After completing the stitchery, I iron the work well.  If there are any stray pencil marks, I like to use a fabric eraser to remove them rather than wash the work (which can sometimes make colours move slightly).
  • To make up the self-cover buttons, work the stitchery in a single strand of red embroidery thread on white homespun and make up buttons as per the instructions on their pack.


  • 20cm *20cm white homespun
  • 20cm *20cm brown print backing fabric. I like to use 100% cotton fabric and I also like to back this with iron on interfacing.
  • 2 panels 19cm * 19cm light weight iron on interfacing
  • 1 skein variegated brown embroidery thread
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery needle
  • Chopstick
  • Sharp 2B pencil
  • Sewing machine thread in off white
  • 10cm narrow ric rac for loop
  • Iron lightweight iron on interfacing to back of the white Homespun.
  • Print out the pattern to A4 size.
  • Using a well lit window and sharp 2B pencil, transfer the stitchery designs to the front of the homespun as spaced out on the pattern sheet.  This will leave enough room to sew the design.
  • Place the prepared fabric in an embroidery hoop and complete the patterns in backstitch using one thread, using pictures as colour guide.
  • After completion of stitchery designs, press the work.
  • Return the completed work to the well lit wrong side of work facing up, and mark in pencil on the back of the fabric the stitchery line for the hanging potpourri holder edge from the pattern sheet.
  • Iron lightweight iron on interfacing to back of the brown backing print. Fold the backing fabric in half and machine stitch a 5mm seam down the centre leaving a gap mid seam of 3cm.  This gap will become your turning hole and the hole for inserting potpourri. Press the seam open.
  • With right sides together, pin the panel of your chosen decoration backing fabric to your stitchery panel lining the back seam of the backing panel with the middle of the front panel, vertically.
  • Cut a small 10cm piece of ric rac for the decoration, fold in half, and insert into the unsewn seam at the top.
  • Using a small machine stitch and matching thread, stitch on the pencil line (as below on the left side image).
  • Once sewn, trim back edges to turn (I use pinking shears to give clean finish). 
  • Turn through banner using a chopstick and iron flat to neaten.
  • To complete a hanging potpourri decoration, fill the decoration with your chosen potpourri.