Before Christmas I blogged about using free motion stitching for the first time – to quilt random curly swirls on to our Advent Calendar. In researching how-to’s for that project, I came across people using free motion in all sorts of ways – to write, to draw, to colour-in. It has this messy, sketchy quality that I love. Some examples are below:
For Christmas I got a whole load of craftbooks (thank you mum!) including All Sewn Up by Chloe Owens, a beautiful book full of colourful projects using applique and embroidery. The instructions are clear and well illustrated, the photos are beautiful and the projects are all things you would want to give/have.
One of the first projects is a teacosy, with an illustration of a little girl losing her umbrella. The girl is made from fabric scraps, cut and adhered, with freemotion detail added on top. I thought this would be a great way to have a go at some creative freemotion-ing, and use up some scraps – which we are already drowning in, oops.
The book is great in that it includes photocopyable pattern pages for each of the projects. For each piece of my little girl, I traced the shape on to double-sided fusible webbing, ironed them on to my scraps, cut them out, peeled off the paper and ironed them on to the backing.
Once all the pieces were stuck down I took a deep breath (and a swig of tea) and got stuck in to the freemotion details. I used black thread and started with the umbrella. It came out, frankly, pretty wobbly. Chloe Owen’s FM look like graceful pencil sketch lines. Mine looked more like a toddler let loose with a crayon. But I pressed on and gradually got better. I added creases and a pocket to the coat and movement to the hair. I left the face until last but it came out surprisingly well. The only parts I didn’t trust myself with were the eye and flower. These I added by hand afterwards.
The construction of the teacosy itself is straightforward and I only made a couple of modifications: The first issue was that once I’d turned the cosy out my lining didn’t want to sit inside. It kept poking out, giving me a line of the contrast fabric around the bottom, which I didn’t love. Solution? I ironed it in to submission and put a line of topstitching around the bottom. Fixed. I also handstitched through all the layers in a couple of places at the top of the cosy, to keep the lining in place.
I have to say I love the end result, wobbly lines and all. I made it as a belated birthday present so it’s getting wrapped up tonight. But I might just have to make another. And I’ll definitely be trying more freemotion projects this year.