Okay so I admit, whilst I have always admired beautiful pieces of embroidery, creating my own by hand has never really appealed to me. Maybe it’s because of the sheer amount of time it takes or possibly because most of the embroidery I saw growing up was in the old people’s home I used to work in. Nevertheless, I’d pretty much written it off. It wasn’t until I saw one of my favourite Bristolian seamstress’s post some amazing machine embroidery designs on her Instagram page that I thought ‘I gotta get me some of that!’
The natural choice was to learn from the master and so I quickly booked myself onto Laura After Midnight’s freehand machine embroidery course which promised to teach you all the tricks of the trade.
I wasn’t disappointed. When the date arrived, my good friend Heidi and I set off to Laura’s Midnight Atelier for a full lesson in ‘sewing machine doodling’, which is what I have decided freehand embroidery should now be renamed. Once we learnt how to set up the machine and how to create texture and pattern we were left free to start experimenting! With one person describing the process of machine embroidery as the ‘crack cocaine of the crafting world’ it’s no surprise that fantastic designs started to quickly take shape and the best thing about it was that everyone created something so very different.
Despite my earlier snub about old people’s home embroidery, my piece ended up looking like that’s just where it would belong! That’s not to say I don’t love it though – most of my own creations tend to have quite a vintage feel as that’s just what I like. I traced the initial onto my fabric and then used my needle to build it up using a mixture of dark threads. I then cut small flowers from fabric and appliqued them on to add some interest. One of the flowers was actually made out of thread which I achieved by stitching the design directly onto water soluble paper and then dipping the whole thing in water to reveal just the threads – magic!
Heidi also decided to use a floral patterned fabric in her design but made the piece her own by carefully appliqueing the word ‘twat’ on top outlined in bold. Just beautiful.
Needless to say, it was a great day full of tea, biscuits and giggles. Laura is a great teacher and if you live in the Bristol area (or even if you don’t) I can wholeheartedly recommend her sewing courses. I’ve certainly caught the machine embroidery bug and can’t wait to do more doodling.