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.
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