Monday, January 20, 2014

Vintage Inspired Crafting: The Embroidered Pocket

As an amateur (and I mean really amateur!) student of sewing, I decided to focus on improving my needle skills in the new year. So, I decided one of my first projects of the year would be to create a brief tutorial on embroidery from one student to another!

I chose to do simple, 1920s Deco inspired pocket embroidery designs mostly because as a first time embroider-er I didn't want to take on too large of a task, get overwhelmed, and ignore it for the next two months (something that has definitely happened in the past!).

First thing's first - supplies! You will need: a sweater to embroider, a pen or thin marker, craft or embroidery thread, a needle with a large eye, a hardcover book, and a pattern! My thread is actually more fuschia than bright red in real life (no Christmas colors here!).

Step 2: choose your pattern! My pattern came from this 1920s Deco dress trim. I fell in love with it because a. it's simple (most important!) b. it's vintage, but still totally workable into modern fashion and c. it's so pretty!

Here's a before photo of my sweater. I love the mustard-y color and the scoop neck design! It's one of those pieces I used to wear almost every day but has sadly fallen out of my fashion routine. I'm hoping (now that I've sharpened my embroidery skills!) to add some more vintage inspired patterns along the neckline and buttons a little later!

Step 3: Draw a freehand mock up of your design onto the intended area.

This is the simplest way to transfer your pattern, if you're looking for a more detailed and "perfect" result, feel free to leave a comment and I'd be more than happy to tell you the extra transfer steps!

 Step 4: Stretch your sweater across a hardcover book. This is in place of an embroidery hoop (if you have one of those, use it!). It'll help keep the sweater taut as you work on your design and make your life a whole lot easier!

Step 5: Sew! To be perfectly honest, my first pocket took a very long time. It was challenging working so repetitively and keeping to the pattern, but I did it! The entire pattern was done using the simplest embroidery method that I know (looping the thread) which I hope is visible in the above photographs. It also turned out that keeping a similar method throughout the pattern made it look significantly more put together! Make sure you remember to knot your thread firmly in the back so your embroidery doesn't come undone in the wash.

And here is the final product! My first pocket definitely turned out a bit nicer than my second pocket, but such is DIY. I hope that my brief tutorial was helpful and (maybe!) inspired another amateur seamstress to try their hand at embroidery!