Stitch of the Week: The BEST Fly Stitch Tutorials!

The fly stitch is a fun and easy stitch that can add personality and whimsy to your embroidered pieces. This is not a stitch I have used much in the past, but after some experimenting, it turns out…I LOVE IT!

The first tutorial I have for you is from Sew and So’s stich library. It is a one minute video …not one word is said, but I found it to be simple and clear. Even if you are sewing this stitch for the first time, this is the only tutorial you will need! (I must add, if you have a minute to check out their website, they have some great products on their site, like zendoodle embroidery kits! They look so fun to me! I can see myself working on those while the Olympics play round the clock, and I betcha I would use this stitch! Haha!)

Next, you have to check out Sarah’s Hand Embroidery Tutorials! She has a fantastic way of organizing all of her embroidery tutorials…in families!  There is a whole fly stitch family to check out, but for today, if you want to learn just the basics, she does a great job of showing you how to make the individual fly stitch, as well as in a line, horizontally and vertically. I often go to her website for clear instructions and great pictures! Be sure to check out her comment section too. Many people submit their work and you get to see some great ideas for using embroidery in more than just hoops!

Next you MUST MUST MUST check out The Floss Box Blog! This site is such a jewel! Emily believes in experimenting with a stitch to learn about it. So on her blog she has beautiful examples and a fly stitch tutorial, that is a little different from the previous tutorials I have shared. Why? Because, she includes several variations. I just love the idea of learning through experimenting in stitching. It is so liberating and inspiring for embroidery to not be serious or demand perfection. Might I add, she recently reposted a map of the USA that I just want to gobble up!

There is always more to learn and try with embroidery! Thanks to everyone who posts such great tutorials! Did I miss any? Where do you go to learn new stitches?

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Star Trek: The Next Generation of DIY Sleep Masks

A few weeks ago, before we went camping, I decided I wanted to make a sleep mask. It is one of those things that I have always wanted, but never wanted to spend money on, even though they are not necessarily expensive. I confess, the desire probably grew from watching Matilda as a girl. (Remember Matilda’s horrible mother wears one when Matilda plays those tricks on her parents?)  Anyway, I didn’t have time to make it happen before we went camping, but I did get the chance to work on it while I was camping. Yes, it smells like campfire…

I did not want the typical sleep mask, so after some brainstorming I landed on the idea of making a Geordi La Forge visor sleep mask (from Star Trek: The Next Generation). I really thought I was so clever. Haha.  So, I gathered my materials, and took it with me to camp.

Materials Gathered:

  • My pattern
  • tracing transfer paper
  • brown cotton fabric
  • craft batting
  • elastic
  • soft material for the backside-I picked mine based on what I found in the remnant bin at Jo-Ann’s
  • scissors
  • embroidery thread and needle

I followed my normal process, and began to stitch. I had beautiful dreams of creating this using satin stitching and metallic embroidery floss. I finished about an inch of it before I let that dream die. The metallic embroidery floss was so difficult to work with, especially with the amount of satin stitching I had planned. It was difficult to thread the needle, and because it is a rougher floss it pulled up the batting I had behind my fabric and really looked awful. No picture included…SO I started over. I decided to use regular embroidery floss for the main satin stitching, but not giving up on the “brilliant” metallic idea, I outlined with a silver and gold metallic floss. Is anyone at home shaking their head at me yet?

IMG_2198 You can see above all the satin stitching finished and me working on the outline. Can you tell just how tired of satin stitching I became? It looks so messy and crazy…but I had come too far! I had to continue. The metallic floss was still so hard to work with, but I did like how it was turning out. So I finished it…I am only a little excited to show you this…

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It totally looks wonky and crazy…but I had come so far….I had to finish. I chose a soft material from the remnants section of JoAnn’s and went to work making the mask…

If you were not shaking your head before, you are now right? I chose a slippery fabric so I did sew it as a rectangle on purpose, but HELLO Kirsten when you are sewing two fabrics right side together with the plan of turning it inside out when you are done…you CANNOT sew the elastic to it at this step…it will end up on the inside of your project. Haha…not sure what I was thinking or even if I was…but it is clear this is a “what NOT to do” post, right?

IMG_2211 So, I unpicked one side of the elastic, cut a slit in my back fabric and shoved it threw…yes I really did this…oh boy…I am totally losing my credibility aren’t I, haha! No, this was not super successful, but at least the elastic was on the outside right? Well, when all is said and done, and I had jimmy-rigged it together, I tried it on and realized…I made a child size sleep mask! See it on my poor husband…doesn’t he look silly?

IMG_2221Super handsome I know…but a little silly, the mask just barely covers his eyes…poor sweetie! So I tried it on my kiddos to see if it fit them at least…

Geordi La Force embroidered sleep mask for kids

Perfect fit! And might I add totally cute on her! (Don’t mind her dirty sweet face…she had just finished a Popsicle and was kind enough to come inside and model for me.) My genius, brilliant idea for a sleep mask has turned into the blindfold we will use for “pinning the stuff on stuff” as my six year old said. (He has pinned a lot of “things” on “things” but never a tail on a donkey…).

I am passing on the pattern if anyone is interested, but seriously, I feel like this could have been so much more…I might try tweaking it to make it bigger, but I will most likely NEVER do that much satin stitching at once again. Instead I would use three strips of felt and yes I would still outline it in metallic floss. I love the look more than I hate the work!

8 Steps to Some MARVELous DIY Beanbags

My husband’s family goes on a camping trip together every year, so I thought it would be great to make and take beanbags for the kids to play with around the campsite. NOT the campfire…the campSITE. There will be plenty of fun for the kiddos to have in the great outdoors, but sometimes it is nice to have a few planned activities up your sleeve for when the “crankies” or “boredoms” come.

So let’s makes some! This project features the stitch of the week: the blanket stitch. If you need to brush up check out my previous post.

This project is VERY inexpensive and SUPER easy. If you want you can even speed it up with a glue gun, but I enjoy the embroidery…shocker.

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You Will Need:

  • Felt in various colors (since I am not planning on keeping these as heirlooms I am using the cheap craft felt but feel free to use the fancy wool kind if you want)
  • Embroidery thread in various colors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing scissors
  • Paper scissors (heaven help the person who uses my sewing scissors on paper!)
  • Bean Bag Filler…I used dried pinto beans because they are cheap and big enough to not fall through the blanket stitching I did around the beanbag
  • patterns (download the free ones I made here)

Step 1: Cut out the pattern

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Step 2: Pick felt for the front and back of your beanbag, pin the pattern to it, and cut

Step 3: Cut the pattern in pieces, largest to smallest, pin to the appropriate color of felt, and cut

Step 4: On the circle that will be the front of your bean bag, pin the 1st layer and stitch with a running stitch. I used all six strands of embroidery floss, to give it a chunky look.IMG_2101 - Copy - Copy

Step 5: Continue with remaing layers, matching the embroidery floss to the piece of felt you are adding to the beanbag.

Step 6: Place the front and back pieces of the bean bag together and do a blanket stitch around leaving about 2-3 inches to fill with beans

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Step 7: FILL WITH BEANS! My kiddos love helping with this part! (I love having projects I can do with my cuties!)

Step 8: Pin shut the opening and finish the blanket stitching

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All that is left to do now is line them up and admire them…haha my kids didn’t think that was the next step. They immediatley wanted to play with them, try and juggle them, throw them, or carry them around in a backpack. See that little hand down there trying to sneak in and grab one?

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So here you have 5 beanbags with the symbols of some well loved Marvel superheros! Captain America, Hulk, Spiderman, Thor and Iron Man.

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I just love them! They are a cute, easy, cheap, fun way to have some playtime with your littles! I do want to give you a little more information about Spiderman though…he is probably the trickiest, but he is SO worth it!

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Before putting on the eyes, I made a french knot in the middle of the circle. Then I pinned a straight piece of paper to the circle resting just beside it. I did that three more times. Then I did a backstitch to connect those lines together, dipping down a little in the middle. Let me know if you have questions about this. Sometimes I wonder if I makes sense…Also, I did not make an extra line on the pattern for the black felt behind Spiderman’s eyes. I just cut around it a little bit bigger than the line on the pattern says for the eyes.

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I hope you can enjoy making these as much as I did! These could be a great gift or part of a fun game at a superhero party, or just something you pull out when the crankies come. Let me know what you think!