Wednesday 6 August 2008

Plan B or Teaching you what you already know?

This original 1950s pattern has been in my possession for a year and have been building up to trying it out for my son's girlfriend. Today I got everything ready, and discovered that half the main pattern pieces are missing so I am quite annoyed with myself for not having checked it , and with **** **** (these will be named and shamed or exonerated depending on their reaction to my e-mail) for sending it incomplete. Plan B.
Something else I have been building up to.
I don't know if a Machine Embroidery tutorial is actually necessary for any of my contacts but I have had one or two enquiries about it so here goes.
Many years ago I watched this programme on BBC, presented by a young Jan Beaney, and it opened my eyes to a lot of new techniques, including Machine embroidery

but try as I might, I just couldn't make it work.
Then I did my City and Guilds and am now in a position to tell you, in case you don't already know, how to do it.
I am assuming that you have never tried it before, so sorry if you have.
First of all, you need hoops..the more the better! Can't have enough. Like scissors.

Then you need to stretch the fabric as tightly as you can over the hoop...this one is bound with bias tape and it helps to grip the fabric.

(At this point, writing in February 2009, I would like to welcome my recent visitors from 'Hobbyshneideren' and from 'Urban Threads'. I hope you find this helpful. It would be nice to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment
And now hello to 'Whip up' visitors. Please feel free to leave a comment)

Next drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine.
It is very easy on my basic Bernina machine,to drop the feed by means of a knob on the right. I also have an elna machine and there is a sliding button at the back to do this,and another small elna has a metal plate to cover the feed dogs. You need to find out how to do it on yours.

I usually use a darning foot. You can get all sorts of darning or embroidery feet, use the one you are most comfortable with. You can do it without a foot, but the consequences can be unpleasant..yes I have sewn through the side of my finger.

Put the hoop with the fabric side downwards.

Press the lever down at the back as if you were doing ordinary sewing. This is very important for the tension.

I think when you first start there are one or two things no-one told me that are helpful.

1. Make sure both ends of the thread are on the top of the fabric. (If you don't know how to do this ask me)

2.Hold them together against the side of the hoop.

3. Always start with the needle in the fabric.Now, DON'T PANIC, just start the machine lightly with your foot pedal and gently and calmly move the fabric like so:

I usually use both hands on the hoop but as my husband is up a ladder in a castle in Wales I had to use my left hand to take the pictures.
Sorry about the quality of the video.
I've added this photo so you can see the result.

Its such a pleasant occupation to doodle with the machine needle onto fabric.

If that fabric is water soluble you can do even nicer things, and at the end you are just left with the stitches.
This is yet another piece inspired by the Cretan Amphora from this post.

Of course you can take it all a bit too far. This Hairy Monster was once a perfectly acceptable painted and handstitched panel, but in a sudden rush of blood to the head after a talk by Alice Kettle I decided to augment it. I wasn't keen on it then and I hate it now.
But I like this little sample. Half and half. Water soluble fabric behind voile and the stitching dripping off the edge, with a few added beads.
Photographed on my kitchen table again. I think the colour goes so well with the blue.

Now, about regrets. I had so many comments last time (thank you) telling me not to have regrets, but I think regrets are good because they help you to learn don't they? And they make you realise you don't always make the right decision. Maybe its a generation thing.

And thank you for your suggestions that I should wear the ring around my neck.

I would do ..but it won't go over my head.


Anonymous said...

Great tutorial and fabulous samples. I am glad to get caught back up with your blog. For some reason you fell off my bloglines list and I lost track of you!

Threadspider said...

I think the samples are really beautiful and water soluble embroidery is on my "to do soon" list. I am so enjoying your blog-utterly inspiring. Thanks.

Daisie said...

I love the half and half!
Don't do machine embroidery, I just started out by hand (and knitting) so maybe one to try in the future......
Glad you sound happier and try the ring on some ribbon or take off your ears and put them back on afterward!?! haha!!

LingoVise Says... said...

Fab Tute J!

I think your vessel piece is exquisite - have you considered cutting away the left over foundation fabric that is binding up and mounting the piece to something else? Remounted & heavily pressed I think you'd lose all/most of the wave. It'd look spectacular framed! Just something to think about.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

Ahh, it was the Jan Beany programme that opened my eyes to what was out there, and I was lucky enough to find it on Sky years later, so have a very scratchy VHS copy of the programmes
couldn't get my head around M Emb until I did C&G either. I think I was poking out my tongue the wrong way LOL
love all your pics

jude said...

wow, i love the one where everything is hanging off the edge.

arlee said...

NARF!!!! I justabout snorted my coffee on the monitor :}

If you can't lower the feed dogs, you can cut a hole in a business card and tape it to the faceplate, letting the needle go through the hole.

Jan Beaney was "here" also in bookform---i had never seen or heard about embroidery done so freely and uniquely before that--what an inspirational eyeopener---of course i was naive enough then to think it was all done by hand!

Genie said...

Love the Tuturial, and samples,
Have a great weekend

jennyflowerblue said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I can't bring myself to love doing machine em but love your results!

Lindsey said...

Fab tutorial. I actually did an entire C&G in machine emb. It's the only way I could learn it.
Haven't done any for a while in any great quantity but when I come back from Cornwall all that will change. As ever, you are a total inspiration. I have just bought a 25metre roll of Bondaweb of eBay and I'm going to get painting, bonding, layering, zapping and machining like crazy when I get back. My fingers are itching for the first time in ages. Can't wait.
btw Saw Mamma Mia on Saturday and can completely see why you love that island so much. When the opening shots came on I thought of you swimming in that sea :o) heehee

Maureen said...

I hope I'm not going to regret this but I would love to do m emb so have read this post intensely - think I'm going to have to start staying up nights. Never will be able to do what you do so perhaps I'd best not start altho have all the right bits.

Beate Knappe said...

Thank you so much for this Fab tutorial - I'll give them a try - your work is so beautiful. YOu are inspiring me a lot - thank you again.

jenclair said...

Thanks for this tutorial. The hoop must be a great help; I've done some thread drawing on quilt sandwiches, but not straight to the fabric.

The blue beaded piece is gorgeous!

hens teeth said...

Jackie ~ you are a diamond.

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

Your work is lovely.
I used to watch that programme with my Mum and also Jan Beaney was on Pebble Mill at One. I remember her making a machine embroidered daisy bag.
I had that book given to me at school prize giving!

Anonymous said...

thanks for providing the missing step - dont panic - this is where i *always* go wrong. great embroidery, and thanks too for showing us something you arent happy with - its nice to see something other than perfection occasionally! love the blue piece and the Cretan Amphora - and the laugh at the end.

Lorie McCown said...

Ah Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, a real inspiration for me, too. I think they have a big exhibit coming up at a show in the UK? Your sample w/ the embroidery coming off it is wonderful. Creative stuff!

Linda Vincent said...

That was so helpful and informative Jackie - I am definitely going to have a go.
There are some hoops somewhere in my loft, I know...
Love your artwork,
Linda x

Chris Daly said...

Such pretty work. I love your creativity. I just picked up some water soluble stabilizer last weekend. I'm going to be trying some thread painting and embroidery on my next few projects. Do you have a favorite thread or threads?

Victoria said...

That's too bad about that vintage pattern. I just went through my extensive stash in the hopes of finding the same pattern, (I collect them for the imagery, as I am awful at following patterns) but no such luck.

Great tutorial! You are a master at the craft! Wonderful instructions and your examples are so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

this is a lovely post - I especially like the term - feed dogs - I never knew it was called that! and bravo for one handed stitching while filming - multi tasking! I suppose your husband was multi tasking too - or was he JUST up a ladder in Wales?

silverpebble said...

He he love the last comment about the ring over your head.

Thanks so much for that tutorial - wonderful and that little blue sample is to die for. One day soon I'm going to get a proper sewing machine - how will I get any jewellery made then though?

Jude said...

Thanks Jackie, very helpful. I'm on the lowest rung of a ladder but want to keep climbing. I've been staring at my machine and it's instructions for days now, wondering. More tutorials please!!
Regarding the vessels, greek,cretan,whatever, I've spent most of my life as a potter and I love them all.

katafolt said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! Your blog is wonderful !

Mermaid's Purse said...

A great tutorial and lovely samples. Like you, my first adventure into machine embroidery was during C & G and what a magical moment that was!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely, lovely work!

Kim said...

Oooh, I'm soooo glad I found your blog, it's beautiful. I'm off for a browse now :)

Kim x

'fancypicnic' said...

Gosh, look at all of these comments!!! I want to say the same thing...thank you so much for the tutorial! It's donkey's years since I had a go at machine embroidery, and I can't get the hang of it AT ALL with my new I'm going to go and try again. xx Charlotte

maggik1 said...

I'm most 'put out' because my Google reader didn't tell me that you'd posted again! Fabulous 'tute' which made me want to do some more machine embroidery - I do love it. Yours is exquisite! Fancy having that book - I just loved it and remember the programmes well.

green phoenix said...

See, someone who knows what they are doing!
I tried machine embroidery years ago and still have a bunch of magic disappearing fabrics that ought to have just left behind wondrous, embroidered creations, but didn't.Fair to say I wasn't very good.
I am also such a dork, as I was reading I kept thinking of Jan Leeming, 'stange, never had her down as a crafty type.'

Only as I read through your comments did the penny drop, and I have books by Beaney and Littlejohn too!
That's why the name was familiar.....

ArtPropelled said...

I just look with wonder.....

Little Blue Violet said...

Oh I think they are all wonderful. I imagine that takes temperance and tolerance. I know I would not have the stamina. Gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the tutorial Jackie.
Where in Wales is your husband ?
I love all your work you are so talented .Maybe you should do teaching In Tan Y Bwlch.
Love from sesga xx

The Broken Man said...

It's such a shame you haven't got the complete pattern for that dress - it looks like it would be fabulous :(

The Broken Man

Ro Bruhn said...

Thanks Sooo much for the tutorial, I haven't tried it before, I'm definitely going to give it ago now. I love what you've created.

Florence Knapp (Flossie Teacakes) said...

This is so interesting as I've recently bought a darning foot and had been playing with and getting into all kinds of trouble...and then last week I learnt that you shouldn't machine embroider a single layer of material and that you always need a stabiliser or second layer (would you agree with this?). I've enjoyed reading your tutorial and will no doubt refer back to it again when I next feel brave enough to get out my darning foot!

Thank you for your comment on my blog - I'm intrigued though - what is 'dicover'? - I've done a quick google and am still mystified.

Wishing you a lovely weekend,


saraeden said...

Your tutorial is just what i needed , now i know what i have been doing wrong !!
thank you so much for writing it !!

Sara x

Pat said...

Jackie, You know I don't do machine embroidery......I just don't have the talent for machine work. Yours is fabulous and this post is just great...I even watched the video! LOVE the half & half with the lacy edge/beading. It's gorgeous!!! pat

Our Hands For Hope said...

I loved this...great job... and now my curiosity is perked wondering what your hubbie is doing in a castle in Wales!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great tutorial and thanks for the friendly welcome. Someone found your blog and posted the link on the german "Hobbyschneiderin"-page where we were just discussing machine embroidery.
My favourite definitely is the blue half-and-half lace - what a great idea!

Greetings from Hamburg,


jeanette, mistress of longears said...

I must have been in the throes of ADD when you first posted this...Thank you for explaining how this technique works...Now all I have to do is figure out if the feed dogs on my 1970's era machine can be dropped and whether I can get a darning foot for it...I know I can't get a teflon foot (needed for an oilcloth sewing project). Perhaps I will bite the bullet and - gasp- get a new machine!

Elaine/Muddling Through said...

I'm here for the first time from WhipUp. Thanks for the tutorial. Very inspirational.

Meg said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I've tried machine embroidery a couple of times, but fail miserably. Your tutorial has given me a bit of confidence again!

Quick question though. When creating a circle or a loop, do you turn the hoop around in a circle, or keep the hoop straight moving it up & down (and side to side). I hope this makes sense?!

Kaaayren said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I'll be the one to ask--how do you get both side of the thread on top of the fabric?

Jackie said...

this is for you because you are a 'no reply' blogger and I can't find you anywhere. Please let me know if you get this.
To get both ends of the thread on top of the fabric, hold the top thread in your left hand (slightly pulling it) and turn the wheel by hand so that the needle goes into the fabric and up once. As you do this use the left hand thread to pull the lower thread up through the fabric. You will feel it becoming loose at a certain point in the turn.

noricum said...

Fantastic! Thank you. :) That tip about wrapping bias tape around the hoop is neat too. :)

Digitalgran said...

Great post Jackie! It took me a long time to get the hang of machine embroidery, but once I got it, I love it and it's my favourite form of embroidery. That 1/2 and 1/2 one is a real beaut as are all the others of course.

mo said...

Hi - and Thank you for this tutorial - I am pregnant with machine-embroidery (so we would call it in German ;-)).

And I love your blog since I found it and will follow it - and put you on my bloglist.

hugs from Germany

Karen Lizzie said...

I must thank you for this tutorial, it has inspired me to try again at machine embroidery.

I first attempted this at an evening class of "mixed craft", I had looked forward to machine embroidery as I have used a machine for many years. However the end result of the class was to leave me feeling terrified and that the whole thing was out of my control. they insisted that I should run the machine very fast to create the result, I felt sure that this couldn't be right.

You have given me confidence to believe that if I control the machine at a gentle speed thst I am happy and comfortable with then I may learn to achieve the result I wont.

Thank you so much.

Jackie said...

Karen Lizzie I'm so pleased that you are going to have another go. Do keep in touch and let me know how you do.

Hanni said...

Thank you for this wonderful tutorial, I love everything.

Yvette said...


Yvette said...

so sad I can't (most of the time laying flat on my broken back)

but laying down I can do some embroidery..I had to give up my big felt making.
I red your blog about your dog too..sad

Sandie said...

Hi Jackie, Do you use an embroidery ring when you are machine embroidering on handmade felt. I never have and am not happy with the results. Any tips.

Leanne said...

Thank you for sharing! I'm trying to create fabric creatures and here's hoping that this wonderful tutorial will give me new directions to go in! I've never heard of water soluble embroidery and am quite curious to see if I can find the supplies!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this tutorial. The hoop must be a great help; I've done some thread drawing on quilt sandwiches, but not straight to the fabric.
theu tnc

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