I’m just learning to embroider, but my mother embroiders, so I wanted to make something special for her this Mother’s Day – something I could do with limited skill. I decided on simple hand embroidery hoop art using a new font and some images online that I found, and of course, simple stitches to learn.
Materials Needed: Embroidery Hoop (I used a 5″ wooden hoop), Embroidery Needle, Embroidery Scissors (or any small scissors) Fabric (cotton, muslin, linen, etc.), Inkjet Printer, Paper (to test out size), Design (purchased or created with software), Rotary Cutter, Freezer Paper, Cutting Guide (ruler), Cutting Mat, Iron, Ribbon (for hanging)
The Embroidery Design
I wanted a very cute, but simple design outline that I could follow and cover with my stitches. I almost purchased one, but then decided to use my word processing software (Pages for Mac) to play around with some ideas.
I’m a font addict, so I have a ridiculous collection of fonts (mostly for personal use) that I like to play with. I ended up using “Existence Light” by Yeah Noah. So clean with fine lines. I love it!
I also wanted a simple outlined image of something that showed the mother and daughter bond. I did a google search and found a sweet graphic of a mama and baby elephant. There were some cute birds one, too, but the elephants had me all wrapped up in their trunks.
Notes on Putting the Design Together
Using my word processor, I toyed around with my new font in different arrangements and settled on “Best mom ever.” for a couple of reasons. First, it’s true. Second, I could align the words one below the other and stretch out the character spacing to form a simple square shape. Third, the word “mom” allowed me to stretch it out in perfect alignment to allow for a small heart to be inserted where the “O” was.
The other aspect of the design was to incorporate the image. Placing and sizing the image was easy, but I decided I wanted little hearts right between where the trunks met, so another search on Google led me to a basic black heart, which I duplicated to use two in the design (making one smaller than the other).
Notes: When putting fonts and images together in a design, be sure to change your “text wrap” settings to “none” on all of your elements or they will push each other around on the page. And, be sure any text that you use is in a text box, so that you can move it around easily, like you would an image. Once you get your design the way you want it, print it out on a piece of paper and place it under your hoop to use as a gauge for your desired size, which will depend on the size hoop you’re using. Keep in mind that the size hoop you use is limited by printing on a printer, as page size is usually limited.
Printing Your Design on Fabric
Once you have your embroidery design finalized, you’ll want to print it out so you can use it in your embroidery hoop art project. To do this, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps:
- On your cutting mat, cut out your freezer paper and fabric slightly larger using your template (a piece of paper in the size your printer will accept – mine was 81/2″x11″) using your rotary cutter.
- Lay the freezer paper, shiny side up (wax-coated), on your ironing board or protected table and place your fabric on top of it with the sides lined up as best you can (this is not vital as we’ll be cutting the edges again). Iron over your fabric with a hot iron (set for the fabric you’re using and with NO STEAM) for about a minute, running the iron from the center of the fabric to the edges, repeatedly until you feel the fabric is securely adhered to the freezer paper.
- Back on your cutting mat, lay your regular piece of printer paper over your fabric/freezer paper combo and use it as a template and cut around it with your rotary cutter, making sure to clear the edges of any frays.
- Place your fabric/freezer paper combo into your printer, correctly orientated to print on the fabric side and print your design. Remove the freezer paper backing and place in your embroidery hoop!
It may be easier to watch me go through these steps in a video, so I’ve embedded the instructions here for your convenience because sometimes instructions are easier watched than read.
Stitching Your Embroidery Hoop Art
If you’re new to hand embroidery, like me, please visit Bonnie’s “Learn Hand Embroidery with Me” video series, where she shows you how to transfer designs, common stitches, and tips and tricks to get you started. That’s what I did!
For my embroidery hoop art project, I used the stem stitch, backstitch, and the satin stitch. In embroidering my design, I realized that my outlining would have been easier with the backstitch rather than the stem stitch, but I’m not sure it would have been thick enough to hide the outline.
I also discovered that the satin stitch is a really tricky stitch for me to learn. I really struggled with it in this project, as you can see in the photo. I even tried doing an outline to give myself a guide, but even that didn’t save me. Know that there are many fill stitches, like the seed stitch and others that may work for you, and be easier to start with.
The backstitch was the easiest to learn and my favorite to do. It was easy to keep the stitches consistent and keep a straight line. It would have been ideal for outlining, so feel free learn from my mistakes. 😉
The basic embroidery stitches I used in my hoop art, and others, are discussed in Bonnie’s “Basic Hand Embroidery Stitches” post here on the blog, with convenience links to her instructional videos.
All in all, I love my simple beginner embroidery hoop art, and so does my mom! Yes, there are imperfections and a couple of mistakes, but that’s how you learn. Plus, my mom thinks it’s endearing.
Remember, practices makes perfect – well, not perfect, but better. Happy embroidering!!!