The art of using a needle and yarn to tailor, patch, and decorate fabric has been found worldwide, with some examples dating back as early as 400 B.C. in ancient China. However, being an avid Francophile, I’m happy to tell you that the first embroidery machine was used by the French in the mid -1800s. Why take hours to sew every stitch by hand when there’s cheese to eat and wine to drink? And I agree. Machine embroidery rocks.
If you’re new to this craft, first of all, get that picture of Laura Ingalls sitting by the fireside with her hoop and thimble out of your mind. And don’t think cutesy polka-dot monograms on baby onesies, either. Modern sewists use their imagination coupled with a little tech savvy to create some amazing and artistic designs.
I learned to sew when I was seven, and I’ve always had a passion for textile art. (I still have my 5th grade report on the history of textiles. No lie.) So when Anthropologie opened its doors in the nineties, their fresh interpretation of embroidered clothing and home goods legitimized what I knew all along. Embroidery is cool. (By the way, did you know one of its founders had a double major in Anthropology and French? I’m not surprised.)
So here’s the deal. In this series, my friend Patrice (who is a digitizing genius) and I will be sharing with you tips and tutorials so you can dip your toe into this wonderful sea of stitchery. Oh, along with something else. A free embroidery design. Every month.
*Note: Many of my designs are a combination of embroidery and raw-edge applique. I love the free spirited look of this technique, as the raw edges fray slightly over time. Tutorials on this applique technique coming soon!