Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Freehand machine embroidery

(Free motion embroidery)

My lovely niece has a very special birthday looming, so I whipped her up a couple of little presents this week. 

The make-up bag in the background is made from a vintage style apple green and baby pink floral fabric which started life as a 'Dorma' duvet cover and is yet another car-boot find.  I am always taken aback by the price of fabric in quilting shops and just can't bear to pay in excess of £14.95 a metre!  At car-boot sales I can get a duvet cover or pair of curtains for a pound or two and they will provide metres of fabric.  I try to only buy 100% cotton and generally stick to more classic brands like Laura Ashley, Liberty, Cath Kidston and Next.

I often wonder what our Grandmothers would think of our approach to sewing and patchwork, surely the original origin of the craft was to recycle 'patches' and old scraps of fabric into new and useful items?  The material I pick up at charity shops and car-boot sales often has worn patches and I get a lot of pleasure from knowing I have created something to be treasured from an item which was destined for the bin!

I have made a number of items from this particular duvet cover, the lining of the make-up purse is from the back of the duvet and I also made my daughter's rag doll a 'new' outfit with it.

Sorry about the poor lighting in the above picture, we are in the depths of winter here and it's pitch dark outside.  My camera is not keen to take 'photos under artificial light, but I wanted to finish this post tonight so that I could slip Dolly back into my daughter's bed!

Anyway, back to my niece's presents, the heart motif on the compact mirror was applied with raw edge applique and I then machined the wording using a technique called 'Free Motion Embroidery'. Basically, this means you drop the feed dog on a regular machine and then draw or write using the machine's needle in the same way as a pen or pencil.  It can be a bit tricky to master, but once you get the hang of it the possibilities are endless.

The Queen of freehand machine embroidery in the UK is Poppy Treffry.  She has written two books on the subject and they are very comprehensive and beautifully photographed - Well worth putting on your wish list xxx

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