For all the new arrivals…

I am absolutely delighted that several of my friends have recently had babies. It has been such an exciting time and it has been so much fun cooing over baby clothes and gifts as I have struggled to choose presents for baby showers, births and christenings. I have to admit I have definitely gone OTT and have totally spoiled my friends and their beautiful babies. But then actually, isn’t that what friends are for? Of course it is!

I have had my eye on a project I spotted on Pinterest for quite a while now and am over the moon that I have finally been able to try it out! The idea is pretty simple (you can find the original source here) and is basicaly an embroidery project to make a small plaque/wall hanging with the name of the new baby. (This meant, of course, that I have had to wait until the babies were born so that they had names! I had to be very patient!)

I really liked the use of ‘negative space’ (Oooh! Fancy!) but wasn’t sure that my OCD personality would cope with the randomness of the stitching so I decided straight away to alter the design to suit my own style and taste. (Don’t get me wrong, I really LOVE the way Rachel has done her lettering – I really just didn’t think I would be able to recreate it – my mind works in too much of an organised way and I would have probably just ended up with lots of neat and even stitches – this would NOT have worked well!)

The materials for this project were really simple:

  • 1 embroidery hoop (I used a 5″ one but you could use any size)
  • scrap fabric (I used an old pair of linen trousers and cut them up)
  • embroidery needles
  • embroidery thread (in whatever colours you need for your design)
  • Access to a computer and printer to create your design (if you are like me and are not that great at drawing)

I am not really anything of a computer-whizz so I just used Word to create a template for my design (I know there are a million other programmes out there that would do the job a hundred times better, but I’m happy  so 😛 ) I inserted a circle and made sure it measured the same as the outer ring of my embroidery hoop then I added a second one inside leaving a 5mm gap to account for the inside ring of the embroidery hoop. I made sure that my design fitted inside this second circle.

(The flower design is available free here and the font is Lavanderia Sturdy, available here)

The next steps were to place the fabric in the embroidery hoop (making sure it was tight) , print and cut out the deign and to then pin the design to the fabric in the hoop. To do this properly I should have used a fabric pencil but I don’t have one so I thought it would be just as easy to stitch over the paper then pull it off at the end.

As soon as the design was attached to the fabric I was able to start stitching. I had already purchased a selection of threads in the colours I thought would look girly and would look nice but I laid them out just to see what they looked like next to the design to make sure I was happy.

I wanted to keep the design simple and since the font was quite intricate I decided it would be best to use backstitch for the outline of the lettering, keeping it readble. As I said earlier I didn’t want to use the ‘random-stitching’ approach I had seen so I chose only to outline the letters. I used all six strands of the thread to make sure that the lettering stood out from a distance when the design was hanging on the wall.

It didn’t take long to finish the lettering and to also stitch the flowers. I thought about doing something more intricate with the flowers but in the end I decided to maintain the simplicity of the design and I used backstitch for them too. I wanted the flowers to be a little softer and more delicate than the lettering so I only used three strands of the thread. This worked really well.

Probably the most fiddly part of the whole project was to peel off the paper template. I had to be careful not to pluck out any of the stitches or to pull them so they became noticible. This is probably the part that took the longest to complete (but bear in mind the whole thing only took me around 3 hours).

The final part of the project was to tidy up the loose fabric at the back. This was really simple and only required a running stitch all the way round the edge which I then pulled really tight. This nipped in all the loose bits of the linen and made the design look really neat and tidy.

And that is really all there was to it! Some friends have had girls and some have had boys so I  am making a selection of different designs. You can see two of the finished designs above and I will endeavour to photograph the others as I complete them. I have had great fun making these – I just hope that the recipients like them!

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