A Modern Twist on Beginner Embroidery

A Modern Twist on Beginner Embroidery main article image
Posted on January 31, 2022 by Carrie Christenson
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Hello Everyone!  Today I’m going to show you how to make a simple embroidery project with a modern twist.

I’ll be honest, this was my first time doing embroidery!  That’s how simple this project is, perfect for fellow beginners like me.  Also, crafting is supposed to be for fun. Whether or not it turns out absolutely perfect, it’s a handmade creation that brought you joy!

Do I think my project is technical perfection?  Heck no, I’m a beginner, but did I have fun?  I sure did and I’m probably going to make more creations because it’s a relaxing hobby.  

Supplies Needed:

  • Mesh Fabric (find it near the bridal fabric section)
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Embroidery Needles
  • Scissors
  • Freezer Paper
  • Heat Press or Iron
  • Printer
  • Design File

supplies image

Design your Pattern:

I didn’t go the conventional route and select an official embroidery pattern for my project.  Instead, I found a simple line drawing of some flowers that I wanted to use as an outline.

I wasn’t sure which pattern I wanted to use at first so I imported them to my Silhouette Studio software (you can use any software though), scaled them down to size, and then printed them out on a sheet of paper.

screen shot of designs

Next, I placed my embroidery hoop over each design to figure out which one I liked best.  I also surveyed some family members to get second opinions.

picking the pattern

Once I settled on the design, I centered it to the page and prepared the file to print (don’t print it just yet!).

centered image

Prepare the Fabric Paper:

I’ve printed on fabric before so I wanted to test it out to see if it would work for this mesh fabric as well.

You can cut a piece of freezer paper down to the size of a sheet of paper, 8.5” x 11”, and also cut a small piece of mesh fabric.  Then feel the two sides of the freezer paper, you’ll want to set the fabric against the glossy side.

Next, you’ll need to use a heat source to attach the fabric to the freezer paper.  I used my heat press at 350 degrees for about 10 seconds with my Teflon protective sheet over top.  You can definitely use an iron as well, just make sure to use something as a protective barrier over the top of the mesh fabric so you don’t accidentally burn or melt the delicate material.

heat press fabric together

Once the mesh fabric is firmly attached to the freezer paper you can add it to your printer tray or bypass slot.  For my particular printer, the printer tray works better.

Now you’re ready to send the design to the printer.  I always adjust mine to the highest quality setting so I make sure to get a nice crisp print.

print settings

It worked!  The pattern did print onto the mesh fabric!  Once I finished doing my happy dance that another crafting experiment succeeded, I moved on with the next steps.

printed fabric

I carefully peeled the mesh fabric off of the freezer paper and completed my second dance of the day.  The pattern lightly transferred to the fabric so I could use it as a guide for my embroidery project.

image transfer to fabric

Don’t you just love when a plan comes together?!

Add Fabric to the Embroidery Hoop:

If you’ve never used an embroidery hoop before you might not know that it comes in two pieces.   The screw part on top needs to be loosened so you can separate the outer ring from the inside ring.

You’ll want to set your fabric over the smaller inside ring portion, making sure to center your design.  Then you’ll carefully add the outer ring overtop which will pull your fabric tight between the two rings.  You can carefully pull on the extra material sticking out to make sure it’s nice and taut between the two rings. Now you can tighten the screw at the top to hold it all firmly in place.

fabric in hoop

Stitch the Design:

Here’s the best part, embroidering the design!  You can use any style of stitching you are comfortable with.  I mainly used a backstitch style for my project because I wanted the outlined look.  I have provided a guide to embroidery stitches at the end of this article.

stitching in hoop

close up of stitching

I did fill in a few areas using a satin stitch as well.

To tie off the end of a stitched section, I made sure to bring the thread back to where I started and tied a double knot with the thread making the knot as small as possible as you can see through to the back because of the mesh material.  

tying a knot

I continued this process for each petal of the flower, making each petal its own loop.

progress of flower

I did find that the knots were coming untied with all of the movement from me stitching other sections, so I added a dab of clear nail polish over top to seal it together.  This really helped keep the knots from coming undone.

adding nail polish

Just keep repeating this process until the project is complete to your liking.  I debated if I wanted to fill in the petals of the larger flower, but decided that I liked the look of the simple outline.

finished flower

Trim the Fabric:

Now you’re ready to trim the excess. Make sure the fabric is pulled taut again and double-check the screw is as tight as you can get it. Use your scissors to carefully trim around the edge of the back of the embroidery hoop to remove the extra material.

trimming fabric

You’re done!  You can now add this work of art to its final home in your space or gift it to a special friend.

finished project

Basic Embroidery Stitches Guide:

I did a little bit of research before diving into this project since I was a first-timer.  I figured I would help give you a quick glossary of sorts so this project is a one-stop-shop for the rest of you newbies.  

Running Stitch:

This is the most basic of all of the embroidery stitches.  If you like to hand sew you already know this stitch well.  To create a running stitch you simply push the needle upwards from the back of the fabric in a straight motion and then shift the needle to the left or right a small distance and bring the needle back down towards the back of the material.  You leave small gaps of fabric between each stitch.

running stitch

Uses for the Running Stitch:

Outlining, borders, filling in areas, or simply creating decorative details.

Back Stitch:

This is very similar to the running stitch but instead, you don’t leave gaps of fabric between each stitch.  You essentially start the beginning of the next stitch as close to the end of the previous one so it looks like a single line. 

back stitch

Uses for the Back Stitch:

Outlining, straight, or curved lines.

Satin Stitch:

This stitch is used to fill in shapes with solid, smooth stitches.  You simply go side to side as close as you can to the next stitch.  You can create any shape you want but the idea is to make it look completely filled in.

 satin stitch

Uses for the Satin Stitch:

Solid filling for shapes

Split Stitch:

A split stitch is a fine change stitch that’s formed by bringing the needle through a soft thread.  Essentially you go back through the center of the thread of the stitch you just made.

split stitch 

Uses for the Split Stitch:

Outlining, straight and curved lines, filling a shape.

Stem Stitch:

I bet you can guess how this stitch got its name!  It’s most commonly used to create stems for flowers and vines.  You create this by angling your stitches next to each other in a continuous line of long overlapped stitches.

 stem stitch

Uses for the Stem Stitch:

Outlining, straight and curved lines, stems for plants, creating a rope look.

Chain Stitch:

A chain stitch is a series of looped stitches to form a chain-like pattern.  You work from top to bottom bringing the needle up at the 1 and then reinsert the needle in the same hole, forming a loop.  Next, bring the needle up at the 2 and pull the thread to tighten the loop.  Repeat to create the chain.

 chain stitch

Uses for the Chain Stitch:

Outlining, straight and curved lines, filling in shapes.

French Knot:

French knots are beautiful decorative accents that you can use to create interesting fillers in your design.  First, bring your needle up through the fabric and then wrap the thread around the needle about 2-3 times.  Hold the thread taut with your other hand, insert the needle right next to your first hold, and push it back through the fabric.

 french knot

Uses for the French Knot:

Decorative dots, filling flower centers, leaves, plants, eyes.

Seed Stitch:

A seed stitch is a short straight stitch placed side by side and randomly to fill in an area.  Essentially it’s two small dashes that you can scatter around your design.  They work best when they are grouped together randomly at different angles to look like they are scattered seeds.

 seed stitch

Uses for the Seed Stitch:

Filling spaces, flower centers, background textures like leaves, snow, and sand.

Star Stitch:

Here’s another fairly obvious name for what the stitch looks like.  You are using straight stitches at varying lengths and angles around a center point to create a star shape.  Typically you will have 8 evenly placed stitches to create a star.

 star stitch

Uses for the Star Stitch:

Decorative accents, stars, flowers, borders.

Lazy Daisy Stitch:

A lazy daisy stitch is formed by an elongated loop held down at the free end by a small stitch.  To create that look you start by pulling your needle from the back of the fabric and loop down again near that original hole leaving some loose thread making a loop.  Next, bring your needle up at the center of the loose loop and create a small stitch to hold the edge in place.

lazy daisy 

Uses for the Lazy Daisy Stitch:

Creating flowers or leaves (if you use a single stitch)

Okay, I think that gives you some great starting points for tackling your own embroidery project!  I can’t wait to see what you make.  Don’t forget to favorite this for reference later.

pin graphic

Thank you so much!

Carrie Christenson

@designedtobecrafty


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Comments
1 Comment

I really love the look of embroidery on mesh both for home decor and clothing items, but it definitely requires being a lot neater than I'm used to because you can see right through it! Thanks for all your helpful tips, I'll have to try this out.


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