Embroidering Tricky Fabrics
Embroidery is fun. It brings out the creative in you and can be a rewarding hobby. Each time you finish a masterpiece, there is a certain feeling of contentment and pride. I started embroidering when I was in grade school – that was when school projects would require nimble hands to do some stitching and sewing. I began to like embroidery that even during hot summer days, I would look for a shady place and open my little box containing my needles, threads in various colors and fabrics.
I moved on from hand embroidery to the more delicate, and challenging, embroidery using my grandma’s embroidery machine. I was able to do a lot of stuff – from pillow cases, table tops, curtains, ornaments for garments, and many more. But there are always fabrics that are difficult to do. I searched around and found some nice tips on embroidering tricky fabrics from the blog, Stitchpunk. According to the blog, there is no need to avoid tricky fabrics but one must know how to deal with these tricky types to come up with fantastic projects. The site listed several difficult-to-embroider fabrics and how to deal with them . Here’s a few:
This lovely, sheer fabric can give the design a beautiful floating effect. Because of its delicate texture, you should always remember to:
- Choose a design with minimal seams, as they may be visible through the textile.
- Use the smallest gauge needle available to make the smallest holes possible.
- The best stabilizer to use with polyester or nylon organza is heavy-weight, water-soluble stabilizer.
- Lighter designs allow the fabric to drape better, and the organza can also be reversible when stitching designs with matching thread in the top and bobbin.
For outdoor project, the sturdy waterproof nylon can be annoyingly slippery, shifting in your hoop and adding puckers to your fabric. Try these tips to prevent it:
-Spray your stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive and smooth your nylon over it.
- To keep the nylon from pulling away from the sides of the hoop, add Wonder Tape to the sides of the inner hoop, but not to the corners.
- Finally add pieces of rubber shelf mat to the bottom sides of the inner hoop, on top of the Wonder Tape. Your hoop won’t be going anywhere now!
- Sturdier sport nylon is able to handle light to medium fill designs. If working with ripstop nylon, use designs that have light fills.
- Medium weight cutaway stabilizer with work best with most types of Nylon.
This light and flexible fabric is great for everything from workout clothes or ballerina princesses, but its stretchy properties can make it very pucker prone. Check out these tips to make your design come out wrinkle free:
- Try using a ball-point needle. Ball-point needles have points that are more rounded than embroidery or sewing needles, so they’ll push the fibers to the side when forming the stitches.
- Choose a design that has open areas with simple fills. If you choose a complex design with layering, shading, or highlighting, chances are it’ll be not only too heavy, but also get misshapen.
- When hooping, it’s best to stretch the spandex so it replicates the level of stretch the garment will have while it’s worn. I know, this is often counter to the rule ” don’t tug on your hooped fabric”, but in this case, it’s needed.
- Don’t over stretch the fabric, or your design will pucker once the fabric is relaxed.
- As spandex is often used for garments, we recommend a No Show Mesh cutaway stabilizer, as it hides well behind the sleek, form-fitting material but gives enough strength for your stitches.
There are different kinds of silk, including Charmeuse, Shantung, and Dupioni silk. To get the best results, follow these steps when embroidering silk:
-Use a 75/11 sharp needle. Needles with a rounded tip (embroidery, ballpoint, stretch) are likely to tear the delicate fabric and leave visible perforations.
-Light silk like charmeuse calls for a very light design such as toile, scribbles or redwork. You don’t want anything with fills or heavy satins.
-On light silk, you can use tear-away stabilizer, as cutaway stabilizer would show behind the translucent fabric.
-On medium weight silk like Dupioni, you can use light to medium designs, but make sure your design will allow your fabric to drape a bit.
-Shantung or decorator silk is of a medium-to-heavy weight, and is able to handle medium-to-complex designs.
-For Dupioni or Shantung, you can use medium weight cutaway stabilizer. Lightly spray it with temporary adhesive and smooth the silk over the stabilizer before tightly hooping them together.
Stenciled coffee mugs
I can’t start work without a hot cup of coffee. Each morning, I look forward to making my favorite brew. That’s the reason why I started to like mugs. Mugs being sold today come with so many designs, but I like collecting ones that have unique designs.
When I got a set of glass paints from my sister last Christmas, I knew then that I can really start my own special mugs collection. I looked for some tips on how to do it, put in the design and make sure the pattern is nicely copied onto the mug. Here’s one of the designs I already tried from Cherished Bliss.
Metallic opaque glass paint, black nickel
Metallic opaque glass paint, sterling
Paint dauber (3/8″)
Adhesive stencils – bold sans alphabet
Glass scraper and pick set
Rubbing alcohol and cotton balls (for cleaning)
The first step is to clean the glass with rubbing alcohol to get it free of any dirt and fingerprints. Then let it dry. Next, figure out where you want to use your stencils and center it up. I would usually start with the center design or center letter and move toward left or right.
Next, take your dauber and use it to apply the paint inside the stencils. Try to alternate between the two colors listed above. Then using the dual end bent pick, take the smallest side and move it back and forth across the paint in each stencil. This gives the paint a smooth finish and helps eliminate any bubbles. It really is a great tool, and I highly suggest this.
Keep moving your way through each word, once you are done painting your stencils remove immediately. The paint dries pretty fast. Let each word dry before doing the one below to reduce any risk of smearing the paint. Once done, remove a few little specks to clean up the letters. You can also use the pick for this, simply scrape off what you need removed. Then cure it, either in the oven (just follow the manufacturers’ directions) or let it air cure for 21 days.