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How to Make Free Motion Embroidery Art
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How to Make Free Motion Embroidery Art

Difficulty Intermediate
Budget £10 - £30
Time 1 hr +

Take your sewing skills to the next level with some free motion embroidery art. This unique technique creates an illustrated-style design using fabric and a sewing machine, and is a fab way of adding applique detailing that is a little bit different. 

You will need

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Equipment

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How to make

Step 1

Using paper draw and cut out a chicken shape.

Iron your fabric to get rid of any creases – you don’t want this spoiling the finished look!

Lay out the fabric you are going to use for the body of the chicken. Cut around the main body shape of the chicken, removing the features like chin, tail and legs. Put these aside for later.

Pin the chicken body shape to your fabric, and cut around.

Step 2

Iron your fabric to get rid of any creases – you don’t want this spoiling the finished look!

Step 3

Lay out the fabric you are going to use for the body of the chicken. Cut around the main body shape of the chicken, removing the features like chin, tail and legs. Put these aside for later.

Step 4

Pin the chicken body shape to your fabric, and cut around.
 

Free Motion Embroidery Art

Top Tip! . . .For fiddly small pattern pieces, sellotape onto your fabric and cut out with embroidery scissors – it helps to stabilise as you cut and is less awkward than pins!

Step 5

Pin the head piece, tail and chin piece to your pink fabric, and cut out. Cut your beak from the felt.
 

Step 6

Cut and iron some interfacing onto the back of all the pieces except for the felt beak. This will help stabilise them when you sew them.

Step 7

Place your background fabric right side up in the hoop, with the smaller hoop inside the larger hoop, so that you are working on the right side with the fabric laying flat against your work surface.
 

Free Motion Embroidery Art

Step 8

Place your pattern pieces inside the hoop and arrange so they are straight and centred. Pin in place.

Free Motion Embroidery Art

Top Tip! . . .It’s always a good idea to practice on a scrap of fabric before you start, so you can get used to the tension and how to ‘draw’ with your machine!
 

Step 9

Begin by stitching around the main body of the chicken. Place the hoop under your machine needle and switch your machine on. What you are trying to do is trace around the edges of your design, about half a centimetre in from the edge, in a sketching style – you should end up with a sketched style line when you have finished stitching. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy as you go – it’s designed not to be neat!
 

Step 10

Go round the outline twice with your thread.
 

Free Motion Embroidery Art

Top Tip! . . .If you’re finding these really fiddly to stay in place, glue them down with a little fabric glue first to help keep them in place while you stitch.
 

Step 11

Next, place your features onto your fabric and repeat step 9 and 10 for each feature, sewing one at a time. You may need to move the hoop if you’re getting too near the edge of the hoop with your needle.
 

Free Motion Embroidery Art

Step 12

Cut the back threads as you go, so they don’t get sewn in.

Step 13

Now stitch the eye. It’s best to draw it on with a bit of tailor’s chalk first, so you know where to stitch. Using the machine, stitch very small circles to create an eye shape. Once again, this doesn’t have to be perfectly shaped!

Step 14

Repeat step 13 for the wing.

Step 15

Take your fabric out of the hoop and insert it the correct way round, with the smaller hoop inside on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 16

Trim the excess fabric on the back, leaving at few centimetres spare from the edge of the hoop.
 

Free Motion Embroidery Art

Step 17

Trace the shape of the inside hoop onto your piece of felt and cut. Stick onto the back of the hoop, enclosing the cut ends of the fabric to make it look neat. Hang and admire!

Free Motion Embroidery Art

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