Hello there! Our theme for April is Sewing. Throughout the month you'll see plenty of hand stitching, faux stitching and machine stitching. We have some cracking guests lined up too! Here are some of the team to kick off the month chatting about their sewing experiences...
Sheena: I love to sew on lots of my pages & received a mini sewing machine from John Lewis for Christmas so I can machine sew at crops and retreats. When I hand sew I often use thin crochet thread as unlike embroidery floss it doesn't split.
Pol: Hand stitching on layouts is one of my favourite techniques! My mum used to be an avid cross-stitcher but she no longer has time, so she gave me a box full of embroidery threads. I was in heaven! I just use standard DMC 25 skeins of embroidery thread, and a bog standard stitching needle. I’ve found that the blunt cross stitch needles are too big for the holes once you’ve threaded them.
To start, I fix the end of the thread onto the reverse of my card using a little bit of Cosmic Shimmer acrylic glue. When I’ve finished or am at the other end of the thread, I do the same again and trim any long ends away.
I often use my Silhouette Cameo to convert cut files into stitching templates, this works extremely well on large backgrounds or designs. For smaller designs, you can easily make a template yourself, or again use a cutting machine with a sketch pen. I either hand draw my design, print it from the computer, or use my Silhouettes sketch pen feature to draw the design. Once I’ve got my design, I fix it with low tack masking tape to the area I want it on my card. I pop a foam mat underneath the card - an old mouse mat works just as well. I then pierce holes at regular intervals on the lines of my design. I use a cheap pokey tool from eBay for this, again a large drawing pin would work. Once the design is finished, carefully peel it off, and there you have pierced holes ready to stitch.
Emma C: Oooh, stitching is such a trend right now and if you choose to hand stitch it can be time-consuming but oh-so-worth it! When I first tried hand stitching I did it in a very rudimentary way by hot glueing a drawing pin to the end of a pen holder as a way to poke the holes without buying a pokey tool; you can look at this in 2 ways, either I’m cheap or I’m innovative. Anyhow, it worked and I liked the effect so I then bought a Tonic Craft Pick which is much more comfortable to hold. You’ve also got to remember to put something under your page when you poke the holes: learn from my mistakes, people! I have pinpricks in the worktop! Oops! To solve this I bought a We R Memory Keepers Piercing Mat from Amazon or when I was being ‘innovative’ I used folded up cardboard; though I wouldn’t recommend this long term (see pinpricks!)
I also occasionally do machine stitching which I use the John Lewis Mini Sewing Machine which I absolutely love! As a complete sewing machine novice (not even using one in school - a severe gap in my secondary education in my opinion!) I found it really easy to use and with practice I’m gaining much better control, too! Plus it’s a gorgeous minty colour - WIN!
Jess Claire: Stitching on layouts is a new concept to me. I am not at all talented with needle and thread. I failed textiles at school when I broke the sewing machine needle in half so I've always been kind of stitch-avoiding in my scrapbooking which is a shame because it looks so effective. The solution is faux stitching. I use my pen and a ruler to draw on small lines to make it look like it’s stitched. So far I have only used this technique for borders on journal cards and TN layouts but it could certainly work for other things. My next project is to try it for letters and titles too.
Jackie: I love to add stitching to my layouts, whether it's hand or machine stitching. I find hand stitching very therapeutic, especially when it’s a large design. I do struggle to use large design hand stitched features on my layouts, but seeing what is out there, I’m in awe that other crafters can produce such lovely hand-stitching on a layout. Having a cameo makes the process of hand-stitching large designs easier, as the machine can make the holes for you. I purchased a large bag of embroidery floss from HomeSense a few years ago and I’ve still got most of it, but I’ve added some lovely two-toned threads that I purchased from Hobbycraft, this gives my layouts an added interest when I hand-stitch.
Last year I got a sewing machine, and I love adding stitching to my layouts, it could just be stitching over Thickers in a straight line, or adding details around the page. I think it adds another element to the page and gives it more life.
Lisa-Jane - I love the look of stitching on layouts of any kind and to that end, I bought a teeny sewing machine a couple of years ago. I’ve still not ACTUALLY used it on my scrapbook pages, though! What I have done though is used my Silhouette to create the template and punch the holes for me. There are lots of tutorials around to show you how to do this but basically, you just select perforate instead of cut. It means that any shape you design or purchase using the Silhouette software can be made into a stitching template. Of course, you still have to do the actual stitching yourself but with the holes already punched it’s something you can do curled up on the sofa half watching TV or chatting with friends, like a few of us did on a recent scrapping retreat. There also may have been cake involved but I hear that it’s not compulsory...
Susan: Stitching is one of my favourite techniques when scrapping - I like that it gives the page a bit of texture and also ‘brings in’ elements of the page that might otherwise be floating. I do have a little sewing machine (a £12 jobby from Hobbycraft) but I’ve not had a lot of luck using it on cardstock. I prefer to hand sew, and like my teamies, I prick holes first, sometimes freehand for a deliberately wonky effect and, sometimes using the holes in a Tom Holtz Idea-ology ruler for a neat and even look. I find the holes made with a standard pokey tool are a bit too big and I prefer the neater hole you get with the Tattered Lace pokey tool that is intended for getting the unwanted bits out of intricate die cuts. Occasionally I do faux stitching and my tip for making it look more real is to poke holes just as you would for real stitching then join the holes together with a fine pen. And finally, I like to stitch buttons on my pages; to me, they look unfinished without the stitching, though I have been known to cheat and draw fake stitches with a Sharpie pen. Oh, I nearly forgot, I’ve put together a board here to save you trawling Pinterest for stitching ideas.
Kirsteen: I love hand stitching cardstock. It’s such a labour of love but so worth it and hugely therapeutic. I use Bazzill stencils and a pokey tool to make my holes and a regular sewing needle to sew. I bought a bag of embroidery skeins from Argos years ago and I still have loads of thread left.