Hand embroidery projects and ideas

In this post I’ll resurface some of my favourite hand embroidery projects and ideas. Each project comes with a tutorial to make an object as well as a novel way to use embroidery in a non traditional way.

1. Using the fabric design as an embroidery template

The first project is an iPad carrybag. The embroidery pattern is the outline of the fabric I used for the tab and the back scaled down. This is an idea that can take other directions and in future I intend to explore further.

2. Embellishing a quilt with embroidery

This tutorial shows you how to make a Christmas quilt using 5 inch charm squares. The quilt is completed by an embroidered French Christmas poem.

3. Gradient embroidery

This tutorial is for a notebook cover. This type of embroidery can be done with numbers, initials, names and the like. It’s easy though a bit time consuming.

4. Extending fabric print with embroidery

This cozy tutorial is embellished with embroidery. Check out the tutorial and look closely at the fabric. The pattern in the fabric has been filled in with embroidery. I intend to explore this type of embroidery further in the future.

5. Embroidery lettering

These napkins are made as a set. Each of them contains an embroidered line belonging to a French nursery rhyme.

6. Pillow embroidery to match duvet cover

This tutorial contains an embroidery idea for a matching pillow case. The idea was born out of need. I bought a doona cover without matching pillows. I then drew some of the doona cover flowers on the pillow and embroidered them.

7. Embroidering on felt shapes

This tutorial contains instructions on how to make flowers with felt cutouts. I used embroidery to embellish the flowers.

8. Mixing improv patchwork with embroidery

This is a tutorial for a reversible tray cover using basic improv patchwork and embroidery. The words on both sides are in French as well.

If you make any item based on my tutorials pleas share in my Flickr group.

cook … eat … repeat tea towel

A couple of years ago I planned to make two tea towels. Somehow I only got around making one: the French cuisine tea towel.

This is the second one. It’s not a set and it is a faster project with a lot less embroidery. I’m also making use of my textured tutorials I posted as I’m using prairie points for the border.

Both tea towels make great gifts.

If you make one, I’d like to see it. Please upload it to my TeresaDownUnder Flickr pool.

Materials

  • Variegated stranded cotton
  • White fabric – I cut a piece 20 in x 5 1/2 in
  • Tea towel
  • 4 x 5 in charm squares – 3 for the trim and 1 for the embroidery sides

Kitchen towel size

32 x 22 1/2 inches. For a different towel size increase or decrease the pattern below when printing.

Embroidery

Embroidery stitch: stem stitch (stem stitch video tutorial – link will open in another window)

Download pattern

  • Teatowel lettering (pdf – 2 pages). When printing scale it down or up to match your tea towel width

Method

Print the pattern and stick matching the lines as per picture.

Place the strip of white fabric over.

 

Make sure the letters are centred and straight.

Trace with water soluble pen.

 

My variegated embroidery cotton matches the charms colours.

 

Embroider using stem stitch.

 

Press well.

When finished trim the embroidery down to 5 in wide. Then cut 3/4 in from each edge.

At this stage I wanted to add some colour to each edge so I used a charm square for this purpose.

Get a 5 in charm square and cut it in half and stitch each half to each side.

 

Press seams open.

 

Prairie points

For my tea towel I used 3 charm squares, i.e. 12 prairie points. If your tea towel is smaller or larger you may need fewer or more.

I will explain quickly how to make a prairie point here but if you need more visuals try my prairie point tutorial.

Cut each charm square into 4 2 1/2 in squares.

 

Fold in half. Then fold in half again and press the corner with your finger.

Then drag each side corner meet in the middle as per picture.

 

Stitch along each prairie point at 1/8 in from the edge.

 

 

 

Now make a 1/4 seam on each side of the embroidery strip.

 

On both sides.

 

Pin the strip aligned to the edge. Fold the edges in on both edges as per picture. Pin well.

 

Now place the prairie points between the tea towel and the embroidery strip. Pin well making sure everything is aligned.

 

Your will need to adjust the distance between prairie points depending on the width of your tea towel. A bit of overlapping is fine.

Stitch making sure that all three layers – embroidery strip, prairie points and tea towel – are aligned. Use many pins if necessary to avoid having to unpick the stitches as I had to do.

 

To finish stitch also the top of the embroidery strip .

 

Done!

 

Five Valentine’s day free tutorials

Groovy heart mug rug

This mug rug uses an easy fabric texture that can be used as well on larger pieces such as quilts or baby blankets.

Pigeon pair placemat set

This placemat set can make a lovely St Valentin’s gift.

Love is the answer… hot water bottle cozy tutorial

Zig zag pattern hot water bottle cover with embroidery and ribbon gathering.

Scrappy heart potholder tutorial

If you have never done paper piecing this is the project for you. Very easy and quick to make.

Patchwork heart pincushion tutorial

This pin cushion has two different sides to it. It was made with the heart cutout from the hot water bottle (tutorial below).