Maybroidery – week 1

There is SO much going on this month in the online sewing community! Sewalongs and challenges and competitions and all sorts! Being in Geneva, I’m often jealous of the real-life sewing networks in London and New York and other places, but these online events are definitely the next best thing. I love seeing what everyone creates from the same starting point. I’ve dipped my toe before, but this month the joiner urge has taken over and I am all in!!

The first challenge I’ve made a start on is Maybroidery, organised by Carina of Polka and Bloom. The deal is that Carina sends out batches of little motifs each week and you try to complete one-a-day. Then at the end there’s a pattern to turn them in to something useful.

I know some people (including some sewists) are a little meh about embroidery, but I think it can be really beautiful. Sure the traditional cherubs and scottiedogs stuff lives on (power to you if that’s your thing), but it’s sooo much more versatile than people give it credit for. Clean, graphic hoop designs make lovely little pieces of art.


The Penny Runner via Etsy


Polka + Bloom

Jenny Hart meanwhile has taken embroidery-as-art to a whole other level with her beautiful portraits. This is her recent piece, Patti Smith:


The blogosphere also has some great examples of creative peeps using embroidery to customise their garments. I love this bomber jacket, created by Seamstress Erin, emblazoned with peacock feathers and stars.


Anyway, so now I’m done defending embroidery, here are my first set of motifs –

IMG_4219 IMG_4221

  • Day 1 – Queen Anne’s Lace. Simple backstitch stems and satinstitch flowers to get going.
  • Day 2 – Anenome. I love these flowers, especially the ones where the colour seems to bleed from dark to light. To achieve a similar effect I tried out a new-to-me stitch known as “long and short” around the edges of the petals. It basically is just as it sounds – a deliberate blend of long and short stitches to give a painterly shading effect (tutorial here). I like.

IMG_4223 IMG_4222

  • Day 3 – Succulent. I love this shape. I can definitely see myself using it again. I think it would look really cute on the pocket of a shirt/t-shirt. I stuck with a simple backstitch for speed (the first two motifs took quite a while!!) but picked out the spiky tips of the leaves in red.
  • Day 4 – Lavender. An easy-peasy quick sew in backstitch only, using a couple of purples on the flowers to add interest.

I like that these are easily achievable, taking just an hour or two of concentration. That’s some instant craftification right there! Hahaha! Anyone? No? Fine. They’re also a great way to practice neat handstitching (not a personal strength) and are much more portable than, say, a sewing machine, making them an ideal project for tram journeys and lunch breaks. Wins all round.

Siobhan xx