Here at Anything But Cute we love to see all the seasoned and expert mixed media artists, but we also want to encourage those who are just getting their feet wet. Our design team will always be on the lookout for these exceptional artists, and you just never know when we might be giving out something special to a talented mixed media newcomer.
Make sure to put 'newbie' after your name in the linky so we know who you are.
(new refers to 'new to mixed media' NOT 'new to our challenge')
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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spotlight Artist - Anne - Add Sewing to your Project

Hello everyone, Anne here, I would like to share with you a few sewing projects and also some hints and tips that I find useful when sewing craft projects.  My samples mainly incorporate machine sewing as I find that the quickest and easiest method of adding interest to a project.  However, faux stitching (with a pen) or hand stitching can also be very effective.

You do not need an 'all singing and dancing' expensive machine to get good results, even the cheapest little sewing machines from the craft store will work fine as long as you are not trying to sew through too many layers.

Firstly, there are a couple of things to remember when stitching with card or paper (I have put my tips into bullet points, throughout the post, for easy reference).

  • Machine stitching onto paper or card will blunt your needle!  I keep one needle separately for use with paper and card.
  • Take your time!  Stitching on paper leaves holes, so if you do go wrong you will be left with an unwanted hole.
  • Always stitch on the 'right side of your paper/card - holes from the back look like the paper has been punctured and trust me, it is not a good look.
My first project is a simple one.  I took some watercolour paper and put a wash of turquoise watercolour ink across one section and when dry, I added some washi tape for interest.  I die cut some hearts from card and decided where I would like them to bit.  I used a bit of washi tape to hold the edges of the hearts and machine stitched down the middle of the hearts.  This could be used as a card topper with the addition of some words.


You can leave the stitching messy as I have done, or you could pass the thread through to the back for a neater look.  If you are going to pass the thread through, just leave a nice long length of thread, so that you can thread it onto a sewing needle and pass it through one of the holes you have already created.
  • Use a larger stitch length when stitching onto paper or card, too small a stitch may rip the paper/card.  You can see below, my craft sewing machine has just a few basic stitches, I used the 'C' stitch, which is the middle sized stitch, but a larger one would work equally well. 
  • Never use pins to hold things in place for stitching - you will not be able to get rid of the holes and that will spoil the look of your project.
You can stitch by hand onto your project, it will take a little longer but it looks just as effective.  On the example below I decided where I wanted my heart, held it in place with washi tape and used a pokey tool on a mat to make the holes.  You could stitch direct onto the card but poking the holes through first makes it much easier to control the spacing of the stitches.


I tend not to use a back stitch when I sew onto paper/card, I used a running stitch (bottom left) going from one end to the other and then a running stitch on the way back (top right) to fill in the gaps. This method looks very neat as you can see in the picture (bottom right).

For my next project I took some book pages, coloured them with ink and then drew out some quirky houses, along with a couple of doors.  Book pages are very thin, so I usually coat them with a a layer of clear Gesso - this gives the book pages a bit of 'body' and makes them easier to handle, for stitching.


After creating a mixed media background, using ink, paint, stencils, rub-ons and some washi tape, I laid the houses where I wanted them and held them with a little washi tape.  


I stitched around the houses with black cotton but you could use white or another light colour so that the stitching will be more prominent.
  • Don't be tempted to use sticky tape on the back of something that you will be sewing over, it will make your needle very sticky and it will affect the way your machine works (ask me how I know this!!).
My next project includes both card and fabric.


I started by drawing a beach hut onto cream canvas fabric and used a watercolour pencil to draw in and colour some stripes.  I also did the door in the same way.  I find it much easier to draw out the elements onto canvas/fabric and then machine stitch the edges BEFORE cutting them out.  This helps to prevent the edges from fraying too much when you cut out the elements to add to your project.


I cut two more pieces of fabric to create some 'sand dunes' and then stitched these to the tag base.


I stitched the beach hut in place, going all around the edges and then did the same with the door.  Several rows of stitching adds interest to your project.  I added some coloured gauze at the bottom to represent the sea.   This photo shows me placing the pieces onto the tag.


If you are adding gauze or any other flimsy type of fabric, just remember to stitch slowly across it, gently pushing it under the needle as you go.
  • You may get a build up of lint in your machine, when using card/paper - just check from time to time and using the little lint brush that comes with most machines, clean this out of the compartment where the bobbin sits, if you see that there is a build up of lint.
My next project uses sewing onto a cotton canvas base to create a simple picture.  I started by sketching out in pencil, where I wanted the hills, houses and trees to be.  I stitched all the lines in black cotton to make them stand out.  I coloured the little houses with watercolour pencils to make them stand out more.  I have not decided yet whether to watercolour the rest of the picture or possibly add some embroidery.


Finally, this is a project from a year ago, I just added a little machine stitching to the heart but I think it makes the heart stand out beautifully.


I hope you may feel inspired to get your machine out and add some simple stitching to a project, I think it can add a lot of interest to projects, it does not need to be fancy, a few stitches even by hand can make such a difference.

If you have any questions, please do leave them in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Our current challenge - Crazy for Colour  is being hosted by the lovely Branka.  If you have not joined in yet we hope that you will, there is still plenty of time left!

Thanks so much for your visit to Anything But Cute today!


70 comments:

  1. OMG, Anne, I am so inspired by your awesome post to pull out my sewing machine and create something with stitches! One of the best tutorials about how to add some sewing in mixed media projects! I love all of your creations here especially that amazing tag! Thank you so much for such a wonderful and detailed tutorial! Hugs! Branka x

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    1. Thank you so much Branka! I am so pleased you feel inspired, I just think it is such a simple way to add interest to a project. Hugs, Anne xx

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  2. Brilliant tutorial! I don't sew and don't have a machine but loved learning how it is done in case I ever get inspired. All of your art in this post is beautiful and the stitching only makes is more beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Suzanne, that is the fabulous thing about adding stitching, you can do it by hand and it still looks great! xx

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  3. What a great tutorial Anne! Thank you for putting it together for us!
    Hugs
    Samra

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    1. Thank you Samra, glad you enjoyed it! xx

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  4. I do feel even more inspired Anne! That seaside tag and the stitched scene are absolutely brilliant and I love how you've used stitching in so many ways to add that extra special touch. Would you recommend your machine? What type is it? I need to invest in a new one... xxx

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    1. That means a lot Jenny, considering your sewing talent!! It is a John Lewis own brand one, it costs around £50. It is quite basic (not as heavy as my main machine) and it comes in lots of gorgeous colours too! I love it for craft work, it would not be useful for say... sewing curtains or anything heavy but I use it to make bags, purses etc which have a lining and wadding - I would definitely recommend it for things like that. Hugs, Anne xx

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    2. Thank you Anne! I know have a new sewing machine and have already added stitching to a new project! Your timing is as perfect as your beautiful projects. Jenny xxx

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    3. That's brilliant Jenny! xx

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  5. Stunning! Thank you for the step by step, the helpful tips and the most fantastic inspiration. I loved the blog post today and I love your projects x

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    1. Thank you so much Mac Mable, I am so pleased that you found it useful! As a team we want to inspire people to try different things in their craft! xx

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  6. Brilliant tutorial Anne. I'm definitely going to lift out my trusty little ikea machine as soon as I can. Really handy tips included, I certainly will clear out any lint as that's never been done. Especially love your beach scene and houses, you have exceptional range! Lots to think about, thank-you for fab inspiration and education. Nicola x

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    1. Thanks so much Nicola! So pleased you liked my projects and found the tips useful. I found out the hard way about the lint... definitely not recommended... very expensive too... Hugs, Anne xx

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  7. There are so many wonderful tips and tricks here Anne. I have made quite a few notes and I may even put them to use very soon!! Thanks so much for putting this together for us, what a wonderful post! HUGS :)

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    1. Thank you Pamellia...it was my pleasure! Now I am really looking forward to seeing what you make! Hugs, Anne xxx

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    1. Thank you so much Arnoldo, I appreciate you taking the time to look and comment! xx

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  9. Holy Moly Anne, this is totally incredible!!! You are so, so clever!! What an amazing make, I am in complete awe!!!

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    1. Aw, thanks Astrid, sewing was my first love and I always enjoy getting back to it! Hugs, Anne xx

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  10. thanks for sharing all your fabulous stitched projects Anne and invaluable hints and tips...hugs kath

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    1. Thanks so much Kath, it is something I keep going back to, I am glad you found the tips useful! Hugs, Anne xx

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    2. Thanks so much Kath, it is something I keep going back to, I am glad you found the tips useful! Hugs, Anne xx

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  11. Hi Anne, loved reading your post. I am a huge fan of adding random stitching to my work so loved reading this and your projects are brilliant . Love your beach hut and all the designs. Great tips and techniques. Have a lovely Easter. Tracy x

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    1. Thank you Tracy, I always love seeing your stitched projects. Happy Easter to you too! Hugs, Anne xx

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  12. WOW, so many cool projects in one post Anne! Great tips and you've reminded me that I need to change out my needle lol. my bad…

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    1. Thanks so much Lisa, I appreciate you stopping by! Hugs, Anne xx

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  13. My word, Anne ... What a great post with such amazing projects and so diverse. I do love the fresh feel of the first pne, but you can probably guess it's the last one which really takes my fancy! Brilliant inspiration.
    Alison x

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    1. Thank you Alison, so pleased you liked the projects - and yes, I thought you might like the last one! Hugs, Anne xx

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  14. Look at you go Anne -- I love them all but my very favorite is the Beach Hut one. I love houses of all shapes and sizes. I have a cheap sewing machine - still in the box and in storage no less! Fantastic post today Anne - is there anything, anything at all that you cannot do!
    sandy xx

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    1. Lol Sandy, yes there are lots of things I can't do, the list is too long for here.... please get your machine out and use it!! Hugs, Anne xx

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  15. All of these are stunning Anne! The thing I love the most is how diverse your projects are and how you change style so easily and yet always create something beautiful, in fact more than beautiful. Your finished projects always look awesome and very effortless. Thank you for the wonderful post and gorgeous inspirations Karen x

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    1. Oh Karen you made me blush! Thank you for your lovely comment and I am pleased you felt inspired! Hugs, Anne xx

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  16. Wow, wow, wow and wow again, one for each project Anne. Each of these are fabulous in their own right and then seeing them all together is amazing. Thanks for sharing your genius with the machine xxx

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    1. Brenda, you really are way too kind! Thanks so much for your lovely words! Hugs, Anne xx

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  17. This is a brilliant post Anne, I have really enjoyed reading through and seeing all your lovely sewing projects whilst learning a thing or two from your really useful tips. I am in love with the Beach Hut tag, as you know I have a thing about beach huts! living near the sea I wonder why! Mo x

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    1. And I do so envy you living near the sea Mo! Thank you very much for your lovely words! Hugs, Anne xx

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  18. amazing projects Anne - one and all - I love them all - you are so clever and the work so varied - brilliant!!! Hugs rachel x

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    1. Thanks so much Rachel, I hope you will give it a try too, it really is such fun! Hugs, Anne xx

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  19. Now I can try out my little sewing machine and use this very helpful post/tutorial as a reference! Great designs and tips, thank you very much Anne! You rocked it dearie! And your little maching sure is darling. Hehe! Hugz!

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    1. It was you dear Niki that started me off on this post so I thank you very much for that - I hope you have lots of fun having a go! Hugs, Anne xx

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  20. A super informative tutorial Anne. Thanks for the tips about the paper fibres around the bobbin. Your projects made with your machine are very inspiring, loving the layer Cheesecloth on your beach tag.
    Happy Easter and hugs, Julie x

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    1. Thanks Julie, I am so pleased that you found it useful! You need to do a lot before the fibres build up but it is wise to keep an eye on it. Happy Easter to you too. Hugs, Anne xx

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  21. Inspirational!
    I have been wishing and wishing for a sewing machine but I have some deep rooted issues from school days (bad teachers!), leading me to believing that me and a sewing machine will never be the best of friends BUT I love stitches and so far all I've had to hand is a handheld hemming type of gadget. After reading this, I need to be brave and be serious as to finally having a sewing machine in my life!
    Stunning projects and such a wonderful tutorial.
    Wishes
    Lynne

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    1. Thank you so much Lynne. I am always very precise when I make something from fabric but the beauty of stitching in craft is that you can stitch away with gay abandon, it does not need to be in straight lines at all and it can still look great! So, forget what those horrid teachers said (why or why do they do that!!) and have some fun just playing! It is very liberating! Hugs, Anne xx

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  22. Wow, Anne! You provided us with so much information in an easy to follow tutorial. Your samples are just wonderful, too! I really love that beach scene with the waves--how clever! Thank you for all these great tips; you are tempting to pull out my old clunker! Love your cute little sewing machine, too! Thank you so much for all your hard work on putting this feature together. Hugs! Happy Easter!

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    1. Thank you so much dear Sara, I really enjoyed doing the projects! Yes, do get your machine out and just have some fun! Happy Easter to you too! Hugs, Anne xx

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  23. You have blown me away with this post, Annie! I not only loved all your stitching, learned a lot, and was inspired by it, but I was impressed by your freehand drawing and writing as well!! You are so, so ingeneous!! I'm in awe!! And happy ~ these are all such happy happy designs!! Hugs, Darnell xxoo

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    1. You are always so very kind to me Darnell and I really do appreciate it! So pleased you like my drawing and writing, that's not something I am used to hearing these days so I really appreciate it my friend. Thank you!! Hugs, Anne xxx

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  24. Gosh, you have been soooooooooooooo busy Anne.
    Fabulous pieces and lots of inspiration.
    Toni xx

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    1. Thank you Toni, I appreciate your visit and comment very much! Hugs, Anne xx

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  25. Absolutely fabulous Anne. Your beach hut is superb and I feel the need to get my old sewing machine out. Might just be simpler to buy a cheap new one though!! Elaine xx

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    1. Thanks so much Elaine! I don't want to encourage you but I do love my little lightweight sewing machine... just saying - lol! Hugs, Anne xx

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  26. No need to reply Anne but just wanted to say I've emailed the page to Julie who you met at my house. She has just started using her machine for crafting and this is a great blog post for info for her.
    Thanks
    Lynn xx

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    1. Thanks Lynn, I am not quite up to your standard but I enjoy dabbling. I hope Julie finds the tips useful. Hugs, Anne xx

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  27. Wow !!! Your makes are all totally fabulous Anne and these tips are essential to us beginners. I really must get my machine out as I just love the way the stitching adds more depth to the piece. ( Don't laugh mammy)
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful step by step Anne xx

    Huge hugs
    Annie x

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    1. Thanks Annie, I appreciate it! You don't have to be good to add some stitching to craft items, in fact, I find the messier - the better! Apologies to your Mum!!! Hugs, Anne xx

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  28. Lovely work. I like the idea of machine stitching (I've only tried this once!). Some splendid design ideas on each project and thanks for showing the pictorial instructions. So helpful, but I know it takes longer to complete when you're taking photos of so many steps. I especially liked the 'water effect material' on the beach house. Very ingenious & looks so good. A great sketch idea too, on the muslin, and thanks for the clear gesso tip with book pages. Good to know the gesso doesn't gunk up the needle. Wonderful creations on each one! WTGo! And stitching on the hearts really did add so much emphasis. TFS & Hugs

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  29. Mary, you are always so kind! Thanks so much and I am glad that you found some useful tips, I hope you will get your machine out and have a go again... Hugs, Anne xx

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  30. I keep every tip you give here, Anne! Thanks for the tutorial, and I too love the second project you made!

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  31. Thank you Lys, I am pleased you found the tips useful! Hugs, Anne xx

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  32. Wonderful tips Anne, you've inspired me to get brave and add some stitching! Deb xo

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    1. Thanks Deb, I am so pleased, I look forward to seeing what you create! Hugs, Anne xx

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    2. Thanks Deb, I am so pleased, I look forward to seeing what you create! Hugs, Anne xx

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  33. Such an array of fabulous projects and loads of cool tips too, thank you soooo much! I bought a machine from a friend. When I have worked out how to work it I will try and incorporate some stitching into some cards. xxx

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    1. Thank you Chris, I hope you have lots of fun with your machine! Hugs, Anne xx

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  34. Wow Anne what an incredibly informative tutorial full of very useful hints and tips and need i say Inspiration . I doubt anyone would read this and not have an urge to start sewing in one form or another . Thank you so much for all the thought, time and work that I know will have gone into not only creating the fabulous examples but also putting this post together . Each one of your examples are wonderful- Love them all , especially the beachhouse tag - such a fab idea created so perfectly .
    Thank you so so much Anne for sharing .
    big hugs xx

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    1. Thank you Amanda, you have me blushing here! I just love sewing and it is never a chore now that I have a small machine to work with! Big hugs back, Anne xxx

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  35. Hi. I found this post through Pamellia's latest post. I don't have a sewing machine and wouldn't know how to use it if I did, but you sure make it tempting to learn. I love the look of stitching on cards and other projects. I will save this post, just in case :-)) A lot of good tips. Also, I love love love the canvas with three houses and just black thread, I think it would be beautiful framed just like that. Your other house projects are adorable, too. Thank you for a wonderful post.

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