18 Feb

Sewing with Miss Magpie Designs

Part three of the column by Emily Summers, aka Miss Magpie Designs, outlines the trials and tribulations of working on a small scale project! 

In the world of crafting, very rarely do things turn out exactly as we would want. It comes with the territory and it's something you slowly have to get used to, however reluctantly!

This week's project is a great example of this and as much as I hate sharing things that haven't come out right (that's the perfectionist in me!), it's all part of the journey, so I felt obliged. Perhaps I will get some cyber-sympathy from you fellow crafters who feel my pain?!

If you read my last post, you'll hopefully remember the Great Tit embroidery sampler I created. I've been beavering away with rest of the tit family and have turned them all into samplers, complete with frames.

The Long-tail is definitely one of my favourites! They are something a little different to hang on the wall and were great fun to design.

I wanted to carry on the hand-embroidery theme so this past fortnight I have been planning a way of creating embroidered brooches. I'm a hoarder naturally and one of my favourite items to collect is brooches; I have quite a lovely collection but am always on the look-out for more.

My first challenge was the fact that these birds would be quite a bit smaller than the samplers I did, quite a LOT smaller! I decided to stick with just black thread rather than full colour. I wanted to avoid them looking too busy and messy. I used fabric transfer paper again for the outline and stitched with a single strand of thread; such a difference from the four or five I'd been using last time!

I've actually grown quite attached to these teeny-weeny birds; I worked in a space about 4cm both ways so they really are quite miniature but I think they look a nice size to have on a brooch. I'd roughly drawn out in my sketchbook how I pictured the design. I was imagining a round piece with the embroidery on the front and a contrasting patterened fabric on the back. Originally, I hadn't planned to use any stuffing but after sewing the fabrics together, I felt it looked a bit flat.

It has to be said, this was a pretty fiddly project in the end; sewing in a circle is tricky! When working on such a small scale, everything becomes that much more intricate, particularly slip-stitching the opening.

I'm not entirely pleased with the outcome but I'm confident I'm on the right track at least. I need to have a re-think and see if I can come up with a slightly more time-friendly technique. On the plus side, at least I got a new brooch for my collection!

Make sure you pop back soon to see how I'm getting on with my textile work-I've got something a little different planned for next time. Let's just say...quack!

I'll be popping my framed embroidery samplers up for sale in my Etsy shop very shortly and you will also be able to purchase them through my Facebook page.

Until next time!

The founder of Miss Magpie Designs, Emily is an illustrator with a particular passion for our feathered friends! Based in West Sussex, she works from home in a 19th-century rural cottage, surrounded by woodlands and wildlife, which serve as a constant source of inspiration. When not pouring over animal illustrations, she'll probably be found buried in a book or looking at the world through a camera lens and loves nothing more than curling up in an armchair with a costume drama on the TV. She dreams of seeing her work in National Trust gift shops and gracing the tea towels and crockery of country kitchens everywhere! You can find her last column here.

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