For many of us, trying to accurately print a template onto fabric is the most difficult part of working an embroidery design. It can feel almost impossible to trace through thicker materials and other methods can also also go awry. Save time and effort by using a rubber stamp to print out your pattern – they are quick and easy to use, with endless designs to choose from. Here are three festive ideas to get you started!
- Fabric: cotton; white, 50cm; green printed, 17cm x 30cm; purple printed, 17cm x 20cm; lilac striped 12cm x 22cm
- Embroidery thread: a variety in coordinating colours
- Ribbon: gauze, spotted and plain, a variety in coordinating colours
- Woodware rubber stamps: robin; baubles; stocking
- Ink pad: pale shade
- Dried lavender: one bag
- Gift bag, 12cm x 14cm; Lavender bag, 8cm x 14cm; Robin sachet, 10cm square
Create cute rubber-stamped embroidery panels
Lay out the white cotton fabric and press with a hot iron. Pick your desired rubber stamp and press it into a pale shade of ink. Position the stamp above the cotton, making sure there is at least a 5cm border around the design on all sides, and press the design down firmly on the fabric.
Repeat step 1, stamping the design as many times as required, re-inking between each impression and leaving a wide border between each image. This will ensure each design can be cut out each accordingly to create the lavender sachet, pouch and gift bag.
Allow the ink to dry fully before placing the fabric in an embroidery frame. Cut lengths of embroidery thread to 40cm and begin to stitch over the first stamped design, using two strands at a time. Use a short backstitch to work over basic outlines, and French knots to cover dots. Shading can be created using a long and short stitch.
Once the design is complete, release the fabric from the frame and move it across to allow the next print to sit in the centre. To protect the delicate threads of the first design from the frame place a scrap piece of material over the area before tightening the hoop.
Once all of the stamped images are stitched, press the fabric again on the reverse and cut into panels. Turn the edges of each panel under by 5mm and press the hem, securing with fusible interfacing if desired. The embroidered panels are now ready to use as decoration on a selection of gifts.
Create a robin sachet
Cut a 12cm by 22cm rectangle of striped lilac cotton, fold in half and press. Pin a square embroidered panel to the centre of one half of the rectangle, leaving a 1cm border on the three raw edges.
Cut lots of short pieces of ribbon and cut a fishtail into one end of each piece to prevent fraying. Begin to stitch the embroidered panel to the base fabric with a small running stitch, whilst at the same time tucking the straight raw end of the ribbon strips under the panel to secure them as you stitch.
Once the panel is completely edged with ribbon tails, fold the strips over the top of the embroidery and pin into place. This is so that when the base fabric is later folded in half with right sides together, the ribbons will not get caught in the stitches when the sides of the sachet are sewn up.
Fold the work in half with right sides together, and work machine stitch around the edges, leaving a 4cm gap on one side to turn the sachet through. Remove the pins from the ribbons before turning out, and fill the sachet with dried lavender. Turn in the raw edges of the gap and close with a neat hand stitch.
Stitch a lavender bag
Cut a 17cm by 20cm piece of printed purple cotton and turn it landscape. Pin and sew an embroidered panel to the centre of the fabric. Edge the panel with a gauze ribbon frill. To begin this, fold 5mm under at the end of a long length of ribbon and secure it to one corner of the embroidered panel with a couple of stitches.
Gather up 2cm of ribbon with a running stitch and secure to the fabric, stitching along one long edge of the ribbon only. Continue gathering and securing all around the edge of the panel. Cut the ribbon 2cm longer than necessary to finish the border, turn under the end, gather and secure as before.
Fold the work in half with right sides together and machine stitch down the side seam, using a 1cm seam allowance. Position the seam so it sits directly above the centre of the embroidery and press. Stitch along the base of the bag, before turning out and pressing once more.
Neaten the top of the bag by stitching folded ribbon over the raw edge as you would with bias binding. Fill the bag with dried lavender and close the opening using a hand running stitch, worked 3cm down from the top edge. Tie several long pieces of coordinating ribbon around the neck of the pouch and trim the ends at an angle to prevent fraying.
Make a pretty gift bag
Cut two 14cm x 17cm retangles of green printed cotton. Pin an embroidered panel to the centre of one and secure into place with a tiny running stitch. Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together and sew the side and bottom edges with a straight machine stitch, using a 1cm seam allowance.
Turn out and press. Make a 1cm double folded hem at the top of the pouch and secure with a double line of running stitch. Cut six 25cm lengths of gauze ribbons (using three different colours or designs) and layer into matching sets. Fasten the ribbon together with running stitch, gathering it up slightly before securing the stitching.
Hand sew the ribbon ends to the inside of the hem at the top of the pouch and arrange the gathers evenly along each handle.
Decorate the base of the handles with more gauze ribbon. Cut a selection of different coloured ribbons, place them around the base of the handles and knot in place to secure.