Simple Summer Linen Dress

Isn’t it delightful when a few different long-percolating ideas can come together? I’ve had this lovely embroidered linen in my stash for a bit. It was a gift from a friend who bought it for me at Mood when she was in New York last year (or the year before?). She was texting me photos while she was there and I thought it was just to share the excitement but much to my delight one of the cuts of fabric made it my way! I knew that it needed to be a simple garment since pattern matching was not going to be possible given the irregularity of the embroidery and the amount of fabric I had. After releasing my Ultraviolet Tee I brainstormed a list of ways I could hack the pattern and turning it into a dress was definitely on the list. I browsed through my wall of fabric …


Evelyn Rose’s Birth Sampler Embroidery

I didn’t make much in preparation for Evelyn Rose’s arrival. I did make a batch of clothes, but not much else. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps I felt a bit superstitious about preparing too much? Perhaps I wanted to get to know her first? Perhaps I was just too worn out by being pregnant. Whatever the reason, it did feel really important to me to embroider a birth sampler for her. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted it to look like, but the more I thought, the more right it felt to make it around a rose for her middle name. I had originally thought that I would decorate her nursery in all black and white and red in a very gender-neutral baby-friendly palette. Well, after I decided to do the rose embroidery that went out the window. The embroidery just felt right to …


A Fully Armed Battalion Embroidery

When my husband is into something, he tends to get a bit obsessed. For example, the soundtrack to Hamilton has been on repeat on our stereo for months now. Adam’s 40th birthday was 2 months ago. I wanted to do something really special for him to celebrate, but I couldn’t take him to go see Hamilton in New York since I had our baby 2 days before his birthday and traveling across the country at 9 months pregnant isn’t really feasible. So, to commemorate his big birthday, I embroidered him a love letter in the form of lyrics from Hamilton. “Oceans rise. Empires fall. We have seen each through it all. And when push comes to shove, I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.” I think You’ll be Back is my favorite song from the musical and I thought it a more appropriate lyrical …

How to Embroider the Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is my new favorite embroidery stitch. Sorry stem stitch, I’ve replaced you. I want to chain stitch all the things now! Chain stitch is fun to do and, though it takes a little bit to get used to keeping the tension even, it zooms along once you get the hang of it. It makes an interesting outline and an even more interesting textured fill, like I used on the boat above. To embroider the chain stitch, start with your needle coming up from the bottom of your work. Put your needle back into the same hole or right next to it. Pull the needle to the back side but leave the floss as a big loop. Pull the needle through to the right side of your work at the point where you would like the next stitch to start. Gently pull your thread through until the loop you created …

Comfy Embroidered Skirt in Stitch Magazine Winter 2015

In Stitch Magazine Winter 2015 you’ll find an embroidered skirt pattern by yours truly. The pattern is simple instructions for a dirndl skirt with a narrow waistband and center back zip with a deep embroidered hem and a pattern for embroidering the hem. Working with Stitch magazine was quite fun and quite different than the experience I’ve had working with other magazines. The original pitch that I sent to Stitch was a wool pencil skirt with an embroidered hem. The embroidery was inspired by a Burmese fabric that I bought in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over several back-and-forths with the editor, the final project became a full dirndl skirt made out of sweatshirt fleece. While there are often changes from a pitch to final project, usually I’m the one suggesting the changes as I work out kinks and details over the course of drafting and sewing a pattern. For this skirt, …

How to Embroider a Lazy Daisy

Flowers make everything happy and daisies have always seemed to be one of the happier flowers. Lazy daisies are such a simple embroidery stitch (seriously deceptively easy. There’s a reason the word “lazy” is in their name!) but they can have a great impact to perk up, spring-ify, sweeten, and otherwise improve any garment you might want to stitch them onto! I stitched them all over one arm of my Bomber Jacket and it made we want to add daisies to everything I’m making these days! To embroider a lazy daisy: With your needle coming from below the fabric, bring the needle up through the fabric where you want the center of your daisy to be. Then put the needle back through the fabric from above to below, in the same place as you brought the needle up or right next to it. DO NOT pull tightly yet. Bring the …


Hand Embroidered Rigel Bomber Jacket

I dreamt of a peacock. Floating feathers, cascading flowers. Striking stitching on a simple jacket making it unique and wonderful and one-of-a-kind. (I already detailed the process of the embroidery, if you’re interested.) I love that the Rigel Bomber jacket is fairly simple, making it wearable with so many outfits, day after day. But my stitching makes it completely unique at the same time. I’m a jacket junkie and this is pure manna for my addiction. The outer wool is from a vintage pashmina. I bought the pashmina along with a stash of vintage fabric from a flea market in Guerneville, CA (mostly 70’s fabrics, including the fabric I used for the bodice of my Thanksgiving dress). I pulled it from my stash for this project because I knew it would be a dream to embroider on because of the relatively loose weave. I bought the ribbing and perfectly matching zipper from Britex and the …


Embroidering My Bomber Jacket

Ideas, stemming from unknown places, out of my control, seem to be taking over my head. My last project, a jacket and backpack, came from a fabric obsession that took over my waking and sleeping thoughts. This project grew from a desire, nay, a need to embroider a piece of clothing.  I have plenty of handwork projects going right now – several shawls I’m knitting for my wedding, a needlepoint organ that’s languishing on the shelf – but a burning need create my own textile through embroidery arose from the creative miasma and demanded attention.   I first thought that I would embroider a floral motif, western shirt style, to the back yoke of a jacket. I went poking through a Flickr group of vintage embroidery patterns and found several ideas (and pinned a few of them). I decided on a jacket pattern, decided on a lovely length of wool from …

How to Stem Stitch

Stem stitch is a great workhorse stitch for embroidery. It makes a lovely straight line that has interesting texture but is quite simple to stitch. It is the only stitch that I used in my Anatomical Leg Embroidery. Start the stitch by bringing your needle up from below on the left side of where you will be stitching. Put your needle through a small section of fabric from right to left, in line with the line of the stitch or angled up very slightly. Repeat the motion, keeping your spacing even. Be careful to always keep your thread below the needle. The stem stitch demo above is shown very loose and with the angle of the stitch exaggerated for illustrative purposes. Note that, although there is an angle to the right-to-left portion of the stitch, the line as a whole is straight. This example is more illustrative of what you …


Bougle Leg Embroidery – Pattern from Victorian Anatomical Drawing

Being stuck on the couch with an injury does have some silver linings. One of them has been ample time for hand work which has resulted in me finishing a new embroidery project. Bougle’s Leg is an embroidery pattern based on an anatomical drawing from 1899 by Joulien Bougle (making it from the Victorian era). It uses three colors (black, red, and blue) and is all done in stem stitch. The finished embroidery is 16″ long and 3″ wide. Most of it is done with one strand of embroidery floss although there are a few places that use two or three strands to get the wider veins. This makes for an easy project with a striking end result. This is the second project in my series of needlework patterns based on Joulien Bougle’s drawings. The first was an anatomical heart needlepoint. I’ve taken up needlework recently as a means of …


How to Back an Embroidery Hoop for Framing

There are many ways to frame an embroidery. I really like how they look framed in wooden embroidery hoops. This is tutorial for how I permanently frame an embroidery in an embroidery hoop.

How to French Knot

My favorite embroidery stitch, and the one that gave me the most persistent headaches while learning, is the french knot. It makes a lovely accent with other stitches and can be quite beautiful on its own. It’s one of only two stitches you need to know to stitch my embroidered love letter (along with backstitch).

How to Backstitch

I thought I would share how to do a couple of different embroidery stitches for those of you interested in getting into embroidery for your wall or to spice up a handmade wearable. First up, backstitch. One of two stitches you need to know in order to stitch my How Do I Love Thee? embroidery. Backstitch is a great stitch for working straight lines and outlining shapes. You can make the stitch length as long or as short as you want and it’s easy to use on tightly woven fabrics as well as aida cloth.


How Do I Love Thee Embroidery Pattern

I’m so very excited to announce the release of an embroidery pattern! It’s a love letter, stitched onto notebook paper. The pattern was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It’s from a love letter that Roger Rabbit writes to Jessica Rabbit and reads “How do i love thee? Let me count the ways. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, five one-thousand, six one-thousand, seven one-thousand, eight one-thousand, nine one-thousand….”

Mom Made Household Dec

Welcome to my mom’s house! This is just a tiny glimpse of some of the lovely handmade touches she has added to her house to make it a home. Here is a shelf in her TV room. The folded quilt is all made of fall fabrics and is displayed seasonally. The red white and blue quilt and begonia applique (design by Primitive Gatherings by Lisa Bongean), while designed to be overtly Fourth of July, become more subtle and year-round when part of a broader decorating scheme that includes other colors (yellow) and lots of pattern.