Hello! It is Stacey here today. I hope all of our readers in the U.S. had a wonderful holiday weekend! Today I want to share with you a few techniques I love using when maching stitching.
When I am planning a new layout (or card or mini album or tag or whatever), thread is one of the first decisions I make – right after papers.
Thread is critical for me. I get excited about thread. Sometimes I stitch with my sewing machine, sometimes by hand. Often, I’ll do a little of both and every once in a while, I’ll do a whole lot of both! I just love it – without some type of stitching, I have trouble feeling like a project really reflects “me.” And that’s what it’s all about, right? I want leave a little bit of myself in everything I do.
In my world, sewing has different “levels.” On a very basic level, machine stitching around the perimeter of a layout gives my page boundaries. This stitching sets the tone of my layout with color and movement. For example, if the stitching is neutral or just blending in with the papers, it’s mostly just adding delightful texture. When I chose a contrasting color, the stitching quickly becomes a significant page element page.
In addition to color, stitch movement is a defining factor on the layout. When I’m wanting a solid, grounded border, I’ll stitch straight lines around the page. Sometimes, this is all that is necessary to “contain” my page and it’s elements. More often, I’ll stitch over that same “frame” a few times, slightly straying from the straight lines. For me, this sets a tone of imperfection and flexibility. I really like the way this unpretentious “I didn’t try too hard” stitching feels. It looks a little lazy, it’s comfortable and creative and fun. It’s really “me,” and I really like that.
The second level of stitching involves working with the page elements, sewing around journaling blocks, photos, patterned paper strips, ribbon, you name it. (Oh, and just FYI, there is an unwritten rule in my scrap room: no sewing though heads or body parts if you stitch on a photo.) I usually use the same color of thread throughout the page, unless my papers are very neutral and the thread is a significant color element.
The third level of stitching (remember this is just my world we’re talking about here) falls into the sometimes-I-don’t-know-when-enough-is-enough category. This is when I add gratuitous handstitched x’s or machine stitched zigzags “just because.” I love adding stitched photo corners with overlapping lines, little stitches here and there to make elements like tags or ribbon scraps to appear tacked down (in reality they are adhered well before the stitching is added). The stitching I’m referring to here usually includes my “finishing touches,” but can go on for a very long time if I’m not careful!
A few things to keep in mind as you dust off your machine and grab your thread:
1. Imperfection = good
2. No sewing through heads.
3. Keep your stitches far enough apart that the paper doesn’t tear.
4. For hand stitching, pierce holes first with a pushpin, then sew through them.
5. Tape – don’t knot – loose threads on the back.
6. Do not – I repeat, do not – machine stitch through Glue Dots. Need I elaborate?
Here’s a fun little stitched banner embellishment you can make with your sewing machine and some punched scraps:
Punch (or cut) a pile of triangles (or hearts or little flags or whatever you like!) from a variety of patterned papers (look under your chair where you’ve been working – there’s probably a perfect little pile of scraps right there!).
Then feed them (carefully!) through the sewing machine to create a happy, free-moving banner that you can play around with and position any way you like.
I love these because I can position and reposition the entire banner easily while I am creating. I used to stitch the banner pieces right on the card or layout where they would be immoveable...and this is so much better because I just really need to move things around!
If this inspires you to create something, please share with us at the October Afternoon Flickr gallery!