Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Teaching Tuesday: fancyschmanzy cutaways and design transfer

Better late than never, here we are! Yes, it is still Tuesday - just. 

In the week before half-term we were constructing backgrounds by free-machining scraps of fabric onto calico (we used Bondaweb to stick them down first). Some people were more pernickity than others in arranging their "scraps"!

Christine Libby

And some people used neutral fabrics and painted them after stitching:


Then we embroidered something over the top, as it were. 

Some people went for an applique, making it up as they went along carefully designing something first, then piecing it together and stitching it onto the background.



Other people tried a bit of design transfer and a cutaway technique to create their embroideries.

First, stitch your background (as above).

Secondly, design something to stitch...we were inspired by the wonderful Angie Lewin.


Thirdly, pin a piece of sheer fabric - organza is good - onto your background. Make sure the pins are just around the edge.

 Is this you, Lyndsay?!

Fourthly, turn your work over and pin a tracing of your design onto the back. You can trace onto tissue paper, you can use tracing paper, a photocopy or even a design drawn on the back of a (paper) envelope! I just drew straight onto the stabiliser backing.


My design, drawn and stitched on the reverse

Fifthly (!) make sure you have a wonderful thread in the BOBBIN and a toning thread on top, and stitch - upside down - following the lines of your design. Finger's crossed your bobbin tension is set perfectly (we'll be talking tension soon).


When you have finished stitching, you can tear away the excess paper from the back, turn your work over, and CAREFULLY snip away the excess organza with some very sharp scissors.


I made a mistake here - the little details should have been stitched after I cut away the organza. I think I will regret that as it means more fiddly cutting away...

To make sure nothing comes undone where it shouldn't, I tend to stitch a double line of tiny stitches, and I don't cut the organza right up tight to the stitching - I leave a millimetre or two!

Here is Carole adding some detail to the top surface. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have a photo of the finished piece - but it was wonderful! Next time. So meanwhile, here is mine:

Ta da!


  1. Lovely work from your students, it is amazing how carefully some people are able to arrange their scraps, me I just take a handful & add it to the wind (you can tell, too!)

  2. WOW !!! thank you for the beautiful explanation Iz !
    I am definately gonna try this !

    Great artist this Angie Lewin !

  3. Lovely work. I really like the organza pieces.

  4. That looks fantastic - the grey is gorgeous in that almost monochrome piece. One day I might get confident enough to play with an electric machine. Actually, one day I might end up with 36 hours per day so I can have the time to play!!


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