Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery
An easy way to restyle or upcycle jeans is to add a touch of embroidery. Free motion embroidery, also referred to as thread painting, is so easy and you don’t even need an embroidery machine for this technique. Instead we are going to use free motion quilting / embroidery techniques.
- Medium Weight Tear-away Stabilizer
- Any type of thread (all-purpose, rayon, embroidery, silk, cotton)
- Embroidery Hoop
- Fabric marking pen or chalk
- Open toe quilting foot
Layout the Design
Try on the jeans and determine where you want the embellishment to go. A few things to keep in mind:
Don’t place the embroidery:
- too close to the zipper
- on top of thick seams
- over thick pockets
- on top of metal rivets
- Too far down the leg (remember you need to get to the area to stitch J)
Good places for the embroidery:
- Above the hemline
- Along the back yoke (avoiding the center back seam)
- Front hip
Choose a hoop size that can easily fit into the jean pant leg and large enough for the design you have in mind. Using tailors chalk, mark the placement for the design.
Draw a design with a fabric pen.
Hooping the Jeans
Slide the stabilizer into the jeans leg behind the design area. My design is close to the front pocket, so I will pull the pocket lining out of the hooping area.
Align the smaller inside hoop on the outside of the jean leg with the larger hoop and stabilizer inside the jeans leg.
Push the hoop closed, encasing the jean fabric and stabilizer, and tighten the screw on the hoop.
Free Motion Embroidery
Set the sewing machine up for free motion quilting and slide the hoop under the presser foot, making sure to keep the back of the jean leg out of the way. We only want the fabric in the hoop under the needle on the machine.
Start in the middle of the design and fill in the design with thread.
Here I have outlined the design first. Then fill in the petals by moving the machine back and forth with thread. This is your design, so don’t worry about perfection, just have fun! Continue to change colors of thread and paint away J
When you are all finished designing, remove the hoop and tear-a-way the stabilizer.
You can see here how my design falls just under the front pocket, perfect! Brush off the chalk marks and your new embellished jeans are ready to go! Be sure to join me on the social side using #angelawolf ♥ I always love to see what you are working on.
Transform a Turtleneck into a Stylish Boatneck Top
Here is another recycle project for the turtlenecks in our closet and its easy – perfect for beginners! For this sewing tutorial I am using a turtleneck that has a design, but any tank top will work. Click below for the video tutorial and here is a quick recap.
- ½” WIDE ELASTIC
- TAILORS CHALK OR FABRIC MARKING PEN / PENCIL
Start by marking the new boat neckline on the turtleneck. I am using a dress form and following the design on the turtleneck. Another option is to measure from the center front and back neck down to the top of the newly desired neckline.
Add a ½” seam allowance and mark the new cutting line. Start cutting higher than the new marking to test the fabric for fraying.
If it is determined the fabric does not fray, then go ahead and cut along the last chalk marked line. If the fabric does fray, leave an extra 1” of fabric from the chalk marked line until after you attach the elastic.
Measure around the circumference around the new neckline. Subtract 1” from that measurement and cut the elastic the same length. Start from the center front and pin the elastic to the wrong side of the fabric. Stretch the elastic as you pin so the elastic is a little shorter in length than the fabric. Continue to pin all the way around the top. When you get to the center back, cross the elastic ends and pin to secure. To read the full blog, head over to my post as a Brother Expert Consultant on the Brother Stitching Sewcial or watch the video below.
I would love to see your creative designs, be sure to tag me if you post a photo #angelawolf #brothersews
I would love to see your creative designs, be sure to tag me if you post a photo #angelawolf #brothersews
I have been experimenting with various ways to create custom fabrics. You might have seen photos on my Facebook page with a few of my favorites by embellishing with:
- needle felting
- thread art with the Dream Frame
One that you might be surprised about is using the serger with a simple 3-thread overlock stitch and the blind hem foot. This purple bad is a perfect example. We made that bag in my Craftsy Class Sew with your Serger – Quick & Easy Gifts and most recently at the American Sewing Expo. I could see using this fabric as a collar or cuffs, color blocking – what about the flap on my back jean pockets!
Supplies from WAWAK sewing:
PREPARE THE FABRIC
1.Cut your fabric larger than you need for the pattern piece, the serged line takes out a minimum ¼” of fabric. Chalk mark lines parallel to the grainline. Choose any width you want, these are 2” apart.
2. Chalk mark lines perpendicular to the previous chalk lines.
SET UP SERGER
3. Set up the serger for a 3-thread wide overlock stitch. Dis-engage the knife and attach the blind-hem foot (your blind hem foot might look different, check your manual)
4.Test your stitch: fold a piece of fabric and (more…)
I just got back from a 6 day Sit & Sew tour visiting all the Allbrands stores which started in Louisiana and ended in Texas. Fabulous trip, but definitely dragging a little today. I will be sharing details of the week as soon as I organize all the photos. In short, I met so many wonderful people, ate some amazing food, got over my fear of bridges, I now have official Mardi Gras beads …
In the meantime, I posted this message to facebook and realized not all of you are on facebook, so I thought I would THANK YOU again.
Saturday was the last day of teaching and I was flying out the next morning. Super tired, but before crashing I decided to scan my emails and came across one from Craftsy with the title “Are you a blogger award finalist?”. I clicked on the link and couldn’t believe it! You nominated my blog to the top 4 Best Sewing Instructor Blog again. You all are AWESOME! This means so much to me, thank you, thank you. I also know it is a little work to nominate a blog at the first stage, you have to fill out a lot of things. Thanks so much for going through the effort, you inspire me to keep at it 🙂
One More Round of Voting
Now, there is a last round of voting that ends Wednesday at midnight. This vote is quick and easy:
- Click here to vote: Scroll down the page to Vote Now! Best Craftsy Sewing Instructor’s Blog and you will see my name. Vote and then watch the tally live.
Just being in the top 4 is such an honor and knowing it’s because of your effort to nominate me really makes my day and a huge THANK YOU is all I can say! By the way, while you are scanning the page you might want to check out a few of my friends blogs that also made the top 4 in their category: Leah Day has a great one for quilting and Lisa Shaw in Embroidery.
The 2014 Wardrobe Challenge was so much fun! Seeing your outfits on flickr and following your Pinterest boards has been a treat and a quick way to get in the sewing mood, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. There have been a few hiccups on my end, so thanks for your patience. (Note to self: Never plan anything while I am traveling to teach, tape It’s Sew Easy, or shoot online classes – just not enough time and brain space ) In fact, I still need to post the list of winners, but I wanted to give you the last challenge.
I told you the last challenge would be an easy one. Take a picture of the clothes in your closet that you have sewn this past year and post it on Flickr before February 15th (the same way you posted the other photos – click here if you need help uploading to flickr). Even if you only have 1 garment, your photo qualifies you for this last challenge. Winners will be all random drawings from the entrants, so even if you haven’t participated yet or you feel intimidated by the rock stars who have really used the challenge to fill their closet, let us see what you have made. Again this is just 1 photo, just like mine. Good luck and thanks again to all that have participated.
I don’t know if you read my last post about the cooking adventure, but many of you gave the best tips for cleaning the pan! the baking soda worked like a charm and I wrote all the cleaning tips down so I am ready for the next burn. Well, I am off to edit pictures and explain to Winn how I got my mardi gras beads 🙂
Cheers and one last thank you,
I love sweaters and shawls, especially since I am always cold in the air-conditioned restaurants (not that we have needed air conditioning in Michigan this summer!). Thinking of the wardrobe challenge, sweaters are one of the items that I end up buying. Yes I do know how to crochet, yet trim on a jacket is about as far as that usually ends up. A small knitting machine sits in the corner of the studio (on my bucket list to learn how to use 🙂 ).
I was recently sewing a fringe skirt and the tweed scraps falling on the floor reminded me of meeting a women wearing a really cute, long, loosely woven (sweater looking) vest. It was at the annual conference for ASDP, so I had to ask the question that only sewer’s are allowed to ask each other “did you make that?”. She had indeed! I was really intrigued when she mentioned using water-soluble stabilizer and scraps from her last sewing project – yes, scraps!
Below is an example of using scraps from my tweed skirt:
NOTE: WAWAK sewing has offered my readers a discount for July – yeah!
Purchase a minimum of $30 and receive 10% off your entire order – Use coupon code WAB714 when checking out (expires July 31st) Thank them when you order, they are the best! :))
- Lay out one layer of water-soluble stabilizer (54″ for a scarf)
- Randomly place yarn, scraps, hairy yarn, etc.
- Place another layer of water-soluble stabilizer (same length as the first piece) on top of the yarns
- Using long pins, pin through all the layers
- Starting at one end, stitch down the center of the stabilizer, stitching through all the layers. Be careful not to sew through any pins, stitch all the way to the end. (Draw a straight line down the center if you need something to follow).
- From the center, align the edge of the presser foot with the first stitched line. Stitch a second row, and a third, and 4th, until you get to about 1″ from the edge of the stabilizer. (If your machine has a Laser Vision Guide, like my Brother Dreamweaver, this would be the perfect application!)
- Continue stitching rows along the entire length of the stabilizer until you have the desired width.
- Turn the fabric and stitch a row from side to side, across the width of the stabilizer.
- Continue to stitch row after row until the entire length is filled.
The width of the stitched rows depend on how tight you want the weave of the new fabric or lace. Just be sure to keep it somewhat tight or the yarns will fall away.
The next step is easy! Rinse the fabric panel in warm water and watch the water-soluble stabilizer disappear or throw the fabric in the wash on a hand-wash cycle, again with warm water.
Above you can see the stabilizer has disappeared and I am left with a loosely woven fabric. Notice the stitching lines, this is good to keep in mind when you choose the thread color.
Who would have ever guessed
could go so far!
A few more tips:
- Throw the fabric in the dryer to soften the hand
- The stabilizer and yarns shrink up after washing and drying, keep that in mind if you need a specific length.
- The more yarn and scraps, the thicker the fabric
- To make an outfit, stitch all the pieces together before washing out the stabilizer
This is a great technique to use for June’s Fabricate Challenge – which I extended the deadline until July 31st.
Have you ever tried this? If so, please share any tips you might have!
There are so many sewing machine feet to choose from, it can get overwhelming deciding which foot is best for the job. Why bother, right? If using a specific foot for a specific job could drastically cut the sewing time down and offer professional looking results, wouldn’t you want to try? I sure would.
Home sewing machines usually come with a fabulous manual explaining what each foot is for and a tutorial explaining how to use it. Industrial machines don’t always offer such advice, at least mine didn’t. With a 5 page manual, written in a language I don’t speak, I am surprised I got the thing put together in the first place! I don’t use this machine as frequently as all the others, mainly because it’s loud, doesn’t have a thread cutting feature and I don’t have any accessories for it. I bought it for speed and that it has.
Scanning the list of additional feet for industrial machines, I found the feet to be are very inexpensive, but again I ran into the issue of which foot is the right foot for the job. I thought I would start testing some of these feet and share with you my findings.
A Narrow Rolled Hem
I sew a lot of garments with sheer fabrics (especially this months wardrobe challenge; Dress the Part) and my go-to stitch is usually a narrow rolled hem on the serger – its super fast and looks professional. But sometimes a rolled hem on the sewing machine would be more appropriate. I found 3 different feet for the industrial machine:
From left to right: Rolled Hem Foot, Ball Hemmer Foot, Double Fold Spring Hemmer Foot
Rolled Hem Foot
You have probably seen the Rolled Hem Foot, as it comes with most home sewing machines. This is the only foot I had ever seen used for the job. It does make a rolled hem easy, but has its challenges as well. Getting over thick seams can be interesting and sometimes the fabric doesn’t feed evenly. Of course there are tricks:
- Hold the fabric to the left side of the foot as it feeds into the machine and trimming seam allowances for less bulk.
Results: A nice rolled hem, I had to use the tweezers to get the fabric started and the rolled hem is a little uneven. With practice this foot will work.
If you have an industrial machine, you have more options and each offers different results:
Ball Hemmer Foot
This foot has a plate that covers the front feed dogs allowing the fabric to feed perfectly. You can see the ball at the tip of the foot, the fabric will roll over that ball as it double folds into a narrow hem. I must say, I love this foot! This is how it works:
- Feed the fabric into the foot, above the plate. Notice how the place covers the front feed dogs. Insert the fabric the same way you would for the rolled hem foot.
- The fabric folds over the ball.
- Hold the fabric a little to the left side of the foot as the fabric feeds into the foot (as shown above). Stitch.
- Results: A perfect narrow hem! This foot offers the easiest rolled hem I have ever tried! I hardly had to do anything with the fabric except guide it into the foot. I even sewed at a high-speed and the rolled hem is perfectly even. A definite A+++++
Double Fold Spring Hemmer Foot
The “spring” part is what intrigued me about this foot. You can see the foot looks very similar to the Ball Hemmer Foot, yet there is not a ball. Instead, there is a movable area that the fabric will go through. Look closely, this is the back of the foot:
Looking at the left photo first: see the corner touching my finger tip. When I do nothing with that corner, the opening on the foot remains unchanged (see opening at yellow arrow).
Take a look at the right photo: Here I have pushed that corner in and the opening gets larger (see yellow arrow).
Now we know what the “spring” means. This opening adjusts for the thickness of fabric as the fabric flows through.
- There is a plate protecting the fabric from the front feed dogs, just like the ball hemmer. Slide the fabric on the top of the plate.
- Again, feed the fabric into the foot and stitch.
Results: Another perfect rolled hem! Just as easy as the ball hemmer foot.
My favorite foot for the rolled hem on silk charmeuse is the Ball Hemmer Foot. The rolled hem was a little thicker than the other two and perfect!
What about crossing seams and thicker fabrics? I will test these and more, and let you know the results. So far both feet are winners!
I also have to check to see if these feet will work on my Brother PQ1500. The PQ1500 straight stitch machine is just like an industrial machine with speed and ease of use, plus it’s not attached to a large table and easy to move around. Fingers crosses on that one! Otherwise, I have my eye on the Brother Industrial Machine used on Project Runway. Do you have an industrial machine? Have you tried these rolled hem feet?