no-rules machine embroidery

design, eco-craft, fabric, family, sewing

As I mentioned in my last post. It’s Birthday Week around here. I should actually say that it’s Birthday Week: Part 1. Birthday Week: Part 2 resumes in late August when Bill and I celebrate our birthdays, which are two days apart.

Following on the success of the gift bags that we’ve been making for Christmas each year, I decided that we needed some eco-friendly birthday bags for all of these celebrations. There are fabrics lying around the studio that I love but that don’t work well with some of our furnishings, so I decided that they would be the perfect fabrics for birthday bags.

I wanted to make an embroidered tag for each bag but wanted to finish it quickly because we are in the middle of yet another book and our clients never got the memo (happily) that we’re in a recession. So I decided to play around with some machine embroidery options.

At first I tried to trace something with machine stitching but didn’t like the result. I wanted a more freehand look. So I programmed a narrow zigzag and shortened the stitch length. The photo below is the setting that I used on my Bernina.

I kept the feed dogs engaged but swapped out the regular foot for the embroidery foot. The embroidery foot doesn’t press against the feed dogs so I was able to both see the stitching and slide it around under the foot to simulate writing.

I went back after I did the script to cross the T and dot the I. Although I wouldn’t normally have used variegated thread for an embroidery project, it was the right color and I thought, “What the heck? Let’s give it a try!” I have to say that I prefer the look of this so much more than pristine embroidery done on many sewing machines. It still has the hand quality to it, which I like. I was surprised when the Birthday Girl actually saw it and commented, “Wow! You made that? It’s beautiful.” I instantly dreamed of all of the fun birthdays we’ll celebrate with these bags and maybe a few more in other sizes.

I wouldn’t be able to do it at a really small scale, but I’m going to think about other uses for this kind of embroidery. Maybe a birthday placemat?

2 thoughts on “no-rules machine embroidery

  1. I love these. I made some Christmas ones after seeing your holiday post last year and they turned out so well (and were a big hit with my family!) Thank you for the idea! I’m in birthday season at our house too and I was just thinking that I needed to make some birthday bags. And now here is your post to remind and inspire me. Nicely done, and I love the idea of using freehand machine embroidery to spell words. I have done this on quilt borders before and yours turned out really well.

  2. T-shirts! Funny tag lines, ‘wheezy rider’, or any other message you care to share. It would be a great way to personalize a plain t-shirt, or comment on a t-shirt with a message/picture :-)

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