Saturday, October 9, 2010

Christmas Gift Idea: Mixing Painting & Embroidery

Do you love to embroider? Do you love to paint? Well, then I've got a project for you! How about mixing the two to create pretty linens for someone special? These pack quite a visual punch and are sure to wow even your most hard-to-impress gift recipients this year.

You'll need fabric paint, brushes made specifically for painting on fabric (they have very stiff bristles and let you really push the paint into the fabric with a lot of control), embroidery floss and a needle, a transfer pencil, a design and fabric to put your design on (muslin, linen, and cotton work wonderfully).

When choosing your design, keep in mind that simple turns out just as lovely as something complex.  Color-wise, we like to stick with just a few paint colors and then embroider around them in a darker version of the same color -- it really makes the design stand out like in the leaves, petals, pollen and stems above.  Try using DMC's glossy rayon embroidery floss instead of the standard matte variety to add dimension and luxuriousness.

As far as choosing your fabric, we've found that Osnaburg muslin handles beautifully and has a great texture.  Linen is wonderful for achieving an heirloom-quality look and creating fringed edges, like in the runner above. Which ever fabric you choose, make sure to shrink it first and sew it into your desired shape -- it's much easier to align and transfer your design to a finished piece then to try sewing it after you've painted and embroidered.

If you have a stash of pretty laces, try incorporating some of them into your piece.  We used a crochet lace border, a swath of muslin and careful stitching to create the large, one of a kind doily below.

Because the lace makes such a strong statement, we went with a simpler design in just green so as not to overwhelm the eye.

The blanket stitch running along the edge is more than decorative - it also helps to secure the border in place.

While we clearly have a thing for table runners, this technique can be used on all kinds of linens... a set of pillow cases or napkins, hand towels, even pillow covers.  Most of the supplies you need are available at Michael's or Jo-Ann, and design inspiration is everywhere.

Happy weekend everyone! And happy crafting!


  1. Amanda,
    That is a charming look. I think I told you I put you on my Google Reader.I have to finish swaps and then I am about ready for something new. I am so glad you came to my blog again and thank you for your kind words about Iver. Isn't Croatia wonderful? Who would have thought? I never knew imagined what a beautiful country it was until we were there seven years ago. I will go back because of Petar but there is so much more to see. The little towns are incredibly charming!

  2. What a wonderful idea... and these examples are GORGEOUS! I like the idea of combing to different mediums to great effect. Thanks, Amanda! :o) Happy Week, my friend ((HUGS))

  3. Hi Amanda, your Mom sent me to your blog to check out the embroidery...I LOVE IT!! I used to sit for hours watching my Granny sew and have done many pieces myself, however these days I take vintage pieces and embroider poetry and sayings on the old fabric, leaving the original flowers of the piece as inspiration for the verse. Unfortunately I have to cut up the pieces to fit the frames, but they are adorable when grunged and with primitive writings on them.

    This way they are on the wall being admired every day rather than stuck away in a drawer>

    Keep up the good work, gonna go visit your mom now.