I came across this old blog post from 2009, Clutter Punk, it is called, and Gina tried thread sketching.
She put a really cute bird on an apron and I thought it was really accessible, and for someone like me, who has never done any embroidery or free motion quilting, I thought I will try this as a first step.
So I bought myself a tea towel, and I looked on the internet too– for a cute design, and I came across this little flower that I put on the tea towel. For this project, you don’t need much.
just your ordinary sewing machine with an ordinary needle, some thread that contrasts with the color of your fabric, a medium weight fabric, mine is just a tea towel– but if I would do it again I would take one that is more tightly woven.
I used this darning foot that comes from my set I have from The Ultimate Presser Foot Set, and there’s another darning foot in it so you could choose– I prefer this one.
You’ll need a screwdriver to put the foot on your machine, a little just scrap to test and to practice.To draw, I use these great gel pens
I used the white one and the red one, and of course to erase the lines you drew, you need a hot iron as well to finish.
The darning foot is a screw-on presser foot, so first you’ll have to remove your old your normal foot, and not just a snap-on part, but the holder or the adapter as well, so you need a small screwdriver.
So, you get that with your machine and screw off the holder with the foot and then put on the darning foot like this. And then make sure to test if the position of your needle is good when the darning foot is on your machine.
Take a little piece of the middleweight fabric if you want to test your design or getting the feel of free motion stitching, and let’s go.So, begin with a really small stitch like 2. 0– some say it’s better to use zero– and when you drop the needle down, the fabric is fixed to the machine. Once you start, the needle is up, your the boss of where you’re going.
The feeling of working with this kind of foot is really different from your normal presser foot. Your hands guide the stitches, so the machine is not doing it for you– if you go left, the stitches go left.
If you go right, they go right. If you move really fast, you have bigger stitches, going slower you have smaller stitches.
You can also try some other stitches, like zigzag stitches, and try what effect that might have for your drawing.You have to know your stitches will not be the same size and length everywhere, but that’s how it is, and you have to accept that and it’s part of the fun.
This is the result– it’s kind of funny, you can really do anything! Now we’ll draw something and try to follow the design.I will just draw a simple curved line and some straight lines. I’m using my white heat erasable gel pen marker from Madam Sew.
So just stitch over the lines and move the fabric around with your hands.You can also see here that my lines aren’t really perfect, but that’s okay. I’m just testing and learning and here from another angle you can see how I’m just freewheeling, so without the design, I’m just making curves to practice some more. So now it’s time to copy your design onto your fabric with the fabric marker.
There are a number of different ways to mark designs– you have chalk markers, or even ordinary bar soap slivers, which I like to use to copy patterns on Jersey, but for this project I think gel pens are perfect.
So you can erase them with heat, you can draw really smoothly over your fabric, thin lines, you can erase when you make some errors and start all over.
You don’t have to wet your fabric, you don’t have to wait for it to disappear, and so I shall show you the ballpoint draws really smoothly over the fabrics, it doesn’t stutter, and well you can buy a package of four different colors on Madam Sew.
Com and it’s important to start with an easy drawing.So, I’m trying a flower. because I didn’t like one of the leaves I drew, I just erased it with my iron, and I drew a new one and that went really easy.
For the stamens and pistils of the flower I used my red marker because once I am stitching, I’m afraid I will stitch those lines first, and I want to do them last because I want to see if I position them in in the right way.
So, don’t go too fast in the beginning.When I’m going through turns and curves, just go slowly, and when there’s a really sharp corner, or when your fabric is going the other way, you don’t see where you’re going just stop, lift your presser foot, turn the fabric around, lower the foot again, and continue sewing along the lines.
You can choose whether to go over all the lines just once like I did, or you can give your drawing a more sketchy feeling by going over some lines again to add more structure, more depth, and an inky feel– like Gina did on Clutter Punk.
With this technique, you can also write your name on a project like a little signature, or add the names of your children to stuff you make for them.
For the stamens and pistils, I used a zig-zag stitch to have like these little dots.To finish, you just iron over your stitches.
The lines will disappear, and you can see the result! As you can see, and maybe you saw it while I was stitching, the fabric I use is not really tightly woven.so my needle sometimes took a little thread, and that you could see here.
So now I have this personalized tea towel, and it was a nice test, and I would certainly do it again and try something more difficult or more challenging next time.
So, I hope I inspired you guys and you will try some thread sketching on your own.