For months, I’ve been anxious to try my hand at denim embroidery but could never figure out how without freehanding under a sewing machine, unsuccessfully tracing or using my horrible penmanship as an adequate enough pattern. I was stumped. Determined to find a way to transfer a pattern or letters onto denim, I went to my local fabric store to investigate. Turns out, there’s a product that will forever change your embroidery experience and that inspired me to embroider all denim in sight. Read on, friends . . .
Ok, are you ready for the 411 on the best product ever?! Drumroll . . . it’s Paper Solvy! This stuff is essentially paper that you can print on and embroider directly on. And once it comes in contact with water, it all dissolves away. Like magic! I’m actually super bummed I hadn’t discovered Fabri-Solvy or even better, Sticky Fabri-Solvy, until after I finished my project with the Paper Solvy. The paper was okay to use but I can only imagine how much easier it would have been with the Fabri-Solvy, which has a more fabric like consistency – less ripping and more pliable. And it comes in a sticky version!! Which means no pinning or embroidery hoop necessary! I have yet to use the fabric and sticky fabric version but I’m sure it’s much easier to work with than the paper version. Whichever stabilizer you decide to use, the first step is to print your design and arrange it over your denim.
Secure the paper with pins and an embroidery hoop. Again, if you’re using Sticky Fabri-Solvy, then no hoop or pins should be necessary!
I like using a chain stitch embroidery for letters. It’s substantial enough that you can read the type against heavy, dark denim and it’s also nice when getting around sharp corners or tight curves. Thread the needle with a long piece of embroidery floss. Tie a knot at the end. Push it through from under the start of the first letter. Bring it back down just a couple of millimeters away from the first hole. This is your first stitch.
Bring the needle back up, leaving the same distance away from the end of the first stitch. Pass the needle through the first stitch and pull the floss all the way through.
Re-insert the needle back down the same hole and pull the floss all the way through to complete the second stitch.
Repeat the same stitch. Push the needle through the bottom of the denim, leaving another equal distance from the second stitch. Pass the needle through the 2nd stitch and re-insert it into the same hole to create the third stitch.
Continue following the lines of the letter. If you’re transferring a letter with thicker parts, just skip them for now and consistently follow them along the either the outer or inner line.
If your floss runs out, simply double knot it on the backside of the denim and start a new piece by coming up to start a new stitch.
Once all your single lined chain stitch is complete, you can go back and add more lines along the thicker parts of the letters.
If the inner part of the letter is complete, complete the outer line. Then go back and fill in a third line down the middle.
When you’re finished, remove the embroidery hoop. Rip away some of the paper without yanking it from under the embroidery.
Place the denim under running cold water and watch all the magic happen! The paper will dissolve within seconds!!! Yes, I know! Crazy cool! Agitate the embroidery under water so release any paper trapped under the stitches.
Wring out the water and lay flat to dry.
For my baby . . .
And for my ladies!
(images by HonestlyWTF)