With the Stitch and Sew SAL just around the corner I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite embroidery supplies.
As with anything it makes it a lot easier to learn and to practice if you have the right supplies.
My favourite fabric for embroidery is linen, in particular Essex linen by Robert Kauffman. My top choice of colours at the moment has to be – yarn-dyed Steel and natural. Bear in mind when picking your fabrics that the lighter the fabric the more likely your thread will show on the back. So if you’re new to embroidery you may want to try on a darker fabric. Alternatively you could pick lighter threads so it won’t show through as much.
Transferring your design
I’ve dabbled with a few methods when it comes to getting my chosen design from the pattern to my fabric, all with varying successes.
My go to favourite used to be a Frixion Pen. It looks and writes just like a biro but with the magic effect of vanishing with the heat from an iron. Except from finding out the hard way and further research it doesn’t completely vanish! Although initially it looks like it has disappeared under the heat of the iron it can actually leave a ghost line, or even worse can reappear if exposed to colder temperatures! With this in mind, it is best not to use it if your stitching is intended as a gift. I still use it if it’s for marking where it wont be seen or if it is just a practice run that I’m doing.
So, instead I have a tried and tested new favourite. “Sulky Sticky-Fabri Solvy”. Simply pop the paper in your printer and it print your chosen pattern, you then peel off the back and stick it to your fabric. Of course if you don’t have a printer you can easily trace your design on the the paper.
Stitch over the top and once you are finished either run under a tap or soak in water. I find soaking in luke warm water the most effective for a few minutes, and then rinsing the last little bits under a warm tap. The warmer the water the quicker it will dissolve, although I wouldn’t use hot water. Sometimes if you don’t rinse all the transfer off your stitches can feel a little crispy, so you may need to repeat the process. Gently press the water out and leave to dry. Once dry give it a press with a warm iron. To avoid burning your stitches or miss-shaping them iron on the reverse with the stitches face down on a towel.
My favourite needles without a doubt are Tulip Hiroshima Embroidery Needles. They are beautifully packaged in a glass vial and boxed in a very pretty box. Being a bit of a sucker for pretty packaging I couldn’t resist getting some of these to try and in this instance they really are something that is not style over substance, they really are good, in fact I use the whole range of their needles for all my sewing now.
There are so many pretty threads available, but my go to is Aurifil Thread’s Aurifloss. With a choice of so many beautiful colours it is always hard to narrow down the floss I want to use! I’m also having a try with the Lana Wool thread which just gives your work a beautiful soft texture!
In the interest of not being biased I would also have to include DMC for their huge range of colours and floss types, including their new Etoile Standed cotton which has added sparkle to it and I’m really looking forward to having a play with it!
Using an embroidery hoop really does make things a whole easier. It keeps the fabric nice and taut and help the needle go through properly. It also makes it a lot easier to hold.
I’m a bit of an avid collector when it comes to embroidery scissors. They come in so many pretty shapes and colours which I can’t help be drawn too. With their small sharp tip they make it so much easier to snip little threads compared to normal sized scissors. Of course it is a good job I have so many because of their small size they do have tendancy to disappear. This way I have a pair always in hands-reach.
I think I have remembered everything, is there anything you can’t stitch without?