What to stitch for a 13yr old? – Elmo!

Occasionally, I enjoy making projects that I realise I can make no money off what-so-ever.  This week I have been working on one of these projects.

Last week, my beautiful baby boy was 13 years old.

I cannot believe how quickly time flies, and just how grown up Cameron is already.


my beautiful baby boy at approximately 6-8 weeks.

One of our favourite memories with Cameron was always how much he loved Elmo.  Each morning he would get up and watch Street Street (had difficulty saying Sesame Street) whilst he had his breakfast, and then we would turn the television on again in the early afternoon and watch Street Street whilst we shared lunch.  Cameron’s first Birthday cake was an Elmo Cake, and one of my best memories of this was 15month old Cameron sitting in front of me, whilst  leaning back on my stomach whilst watching tv.  He kept on swatting the back of his head, and I could not work out what was going on, right up until I realised that it was his sisters kicking him from the womb.

As Camo has gotten older, he has certainly stopped asking for Elmo clothes, but does fondly remember his little red friend.

Last birthday in a throwback we made Elmo cupcakes, and I got a great picture of hubby and Camo in a similar pose 11 years on.

This year, we have the my darling boys main present, but I like to get him a few little surprises as well.   So last night at my local K-mart, I picked up a pair of pyjama pants and a t-shirt for $4.00 each, as well as a pair of slippers, and came home to begin creating.

Now I am very aware of the copyright issues surrounding embroidery designs, and I always steer away from creating anything that breaks that copyright.  However this design is being created for personal use only, and unfortunately I cannot and will not sell the design, but I had a wonderful time making this embroidery design.

I did have a quick check on Etsy and other sites to see if I could quickly purchase a design, however none of the designs had the furry look that I love with Elmo.  To get this effect, I used layer after layer of stitching, going around the shape of Elmo, all with a jagged edge.


For a little bit of extra interest, I used glow in the dark threads for the eyes.  I had to go out and purchase white glow in the dark thread, however I love that the final look has a little bit of a twist to it.

When you are creating t-shirts, there are of course a few things to remember

  • I use polycut cut away stabiliser on the back of my t-shirts for the best possible stitching results. You really need to support the stitches of t-shirt designs over the life of the project, and that requires a cut away.  I like that polycut is soft and does not itch the skin.
  • Use a temporary spray adhesive to stick the stabiliser to the back of the shirt. For best results, I use a little temporary spray adhesive, attach the stabiliser to the t-shirt, and then hoop.
  • Once completed, gently pull the stabiliser away from the t-shirt, and carefully trim any excess away.

For the pants I have trimmed down the design so that it will fit into a 10x10cm hoop, and placed it on the bottom side of the pants.

When it came to the shoes, I relied on badge fabric.  I keep some around (it is a really stiff fabric with a weird backing that works so well for badges, and can be purchased at your local habby store, or check out your commercial embroiders for their offcuts) for times like this, in white and black.  I changed the design to be quite small, and added a circular border to the design, in a satin stitch.  After stitching out the two Elmo’s, I ironed on a piece of Bonded onto the back of the item.  (Bonded is a heavy duty double sided bonding film, perfect for items that need long term adhesion, under moderate use)


Embroider Elmo on badge fabric

I then trimmed away any excess fabric/Bonded from around the satin edge of the design, I placed the patches onto the slippers, and ironed them on with a hot iron.  I like to iron this item a couple of times to ensure the bonding is really secure.


Use a heavy bonding web to ensure the design won’t move or fall off.

Cameron opened his presents last night, and immediately put the pyjamas and slippers on.  I am thrilled with the way they have turned out, and I hope Cameron likes them even slightly as much as the technology we have given him.


The finished Elmo slippers

I hope I have inspired you to get out the software that came with your machine, and have a play to create your own amazing designs. (Colouring in books are brilliant for practice for this).

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.



How changing design colours can transform a design

Good morning, and thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.  I don’t know about you – but I am the first to admit that I struggle with colour choices.  I spend a lot of time on sites such as Pinterest looking for ideas on how to combine colours together in new and interesting ways, as well as what are the current colour trends.  If you take a close look at my design catalogue, you will see that I steer towards a very similar colour pallete in a lot of my designs.

I am always impressed with people who have the innate ability to look at a design, and immediately see it in different colours, and my friend and neighbour Louise is one of those people.

About 3 years ago, I created the collection whimsical butterfly’s.  This was a collection of gorgeous butterfly’s with small touches of candlewicking with them.  I always loved how sweet these designs were, and used them myself on a baby’s blanket, and set of towels.  I never really saw these designs for an adult female, in a dressy manner.


Whimsical Butterfly’s design with the original colouring that i imagined these designs in.

Louise however, has much more vision than me.  She saw the butterfly’s in a monochrome design, highlighted with silver thread, and dancing off a background of printed fabric.

She came to visit a few weeks ago, with the idea of using these designs on a dark blue/black denim skirt she was creating.  Louise is a master sewer, and beautiful dressmaker, and I knew that whatever she created would be wonderful.


Skirt made by the Amazing Louise Fredericks using the Whimsical Butterfly’s Designs

Louise wanted to use the design like a patch, and had purchased some black and white spotted fabric that she wanted to use as the patch.  After brainstorming for a few minutes, we decided to finish off the block using a satin stitch border around the design, but to give it more interest and a little more added detail, we also added in a blanket stitch edge, to make it look a little more “handmade”.


Design as customised by Louise Fredericks with a satin stitch border, and blanket stitch detailing.

Louise used her software that came with embroidery machine, and cut up a design to enable her to embroider the pockets for the back of the skirt as well, using exactly the same techniques.  Cutting the design down to the single butterfly allows for an extra level of detail on the back of the skirt as well.


Pocket detailing of the single butterfly with the same background and edging details.

I love the way Louise has interpreted the design, using Navy, White and Silver threads, in place of the pastels that I created mine with.  They are totally age appropriate for an adult, and yet still give a decorative and fun spin to an outfit.

Happy with the skirt she had created, Louise entered her creation in the Canberra Quilters Exhibition at the Canberra Craft and Quilt Fair in August, and was awarded 3rd place in the Creative Clothing Division.  I am so thrilled for Louise that her amazing work is on display for all to see, that everybody can see what a great talent she is, and that she has allowed me to share her beautiful project with you all.


Louise made her skirt using Butterick 5466 as the base pattern – adding a frill cut on the bias, and then adding the embroidery and a bias binding trim in the same colour as the background.  I really love the level of detail and co-ordination that has gone into this outfit, and when Grace and I went to take photos of the skirt yesterday, Grace was begging for one of her own, meaning that in the next school holidays – only weeks away, it looks like we will be making a skirt!

I hope you have enjoyed a look at this beautiful outfit, and that it will inspire you to create your own designer original.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

Friday Flashback – Antique Sewing Machines – Beautiful Free Design

Hello, and thank you for joining us for another Friday Flashback.

This week I am happy to bring to you a beautiful collection called Antique Sewing Machines.


This collection was created approximately 9 years ago, and is still one of my favourites.

I can remember my grandmother had a classic singer treadle back in the 70’s that we used to love to play on, and that is one of my favourite memories of her.


A few years ago, my darling husband found me a classic singer treadle that needed some work, and brought it for me.  Now we have barely done any work on it yet, but I still love the machine.

I specifically asked the artist that I work with to create me a collection of classic machines.  I wanted something that was full of detail, and looked “real” rather than cartoonish.


I have an amazing artist that I work with, who has an amazing skill for creating exactly what I need and want.

I was thrilled when I got the files to work on, they had totally exceeded my expectations.


These designs took a lot of work.  On average, there are between 13000 and 15000 stitches in each design.  It was also a time in machine embroidery where not all machines had jump stitch cutters and I was very careful when I created the designs to ensure that there were no unnecessary jump stitches in the designs, giving a lovely smooth stitch out.

There are 15 designs in the Antique Sewing Machine Collection, and I can still remember back to 2009 when I first created these how happy I was when they were stitching out beautifully.


I initially created a beautiful lap rug with these designs, and I have spent the last 3 weeks looking for it, so that I could photograph it and share it with you.  Unfortunately I cannot find it for the life of me. (although I have now photographed and arranged everything else).  The laprug was made up of 12 different sewing machine designs, stitched out on white fabric, with a medium/dark gray thread.  I love using gray thread instead of black, as it softens the look of the embroidery, and gives it a very antique look.

When I put the blocks of the quilt together, I tilted the blocks off centre, and used a border of soft floral fabric.  I was then even inspired to quilt through all of the layers of the lap rug and finish it (something I rarely do).


I also made a couple of wallhangings with these designs, however never really loved any of them.  Up until I got busy this week!

I can also remember going to a shop in Queensland, to find the staff had used these designs to decorate the back of their shirts for work.  I thought this was a really innovative idea, and really turns a plain shirt, into a “work only” shirt.

Here you can see my latest two favourite wall hanging’s.  One shows this weekends forecast, and the other is showing the power of the sewing machine.  You can purchase these wallhanging designs for $9.95 each HERE.


Initially when I created this collection, we gave away a small sample of the needle and thread part of the machine.  You can access this design HERE.  Now I realise that I have been very lax over the past month, and have not been keeping up with my Friday Flashbacks, so for the next week, I am offering the Power Tool sewing machine design as a free download.  This offer will expire in 7 days, so don’t hesitate to get your copy NOW.


I hope you have enjoyed this flashback, and are inspired to stitch out your own Antiques.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

A Gucci By Any Other Name……

Would a pair of shoes modeled and styled off a pair of Gucci shoes, but at 2% of the price still feel as great?

If you are anything like me, you will spend a lot of time (maybe a little too much time) on Pinterest.  I have been inspired by a gorgeous pair of shoes that I saw on Pinterest the other week, by Gucci.  Now I am not normally that much of a shoe person (I have a size 11 foot, so I am happy when I don’t have to wear the boxes instead of the shoes), but these shoes just spoke to me.  I looked up the shoes on a couple of different sites, and found out that the shoes are available for purchase for only $875.

By pure chance, on the same week I was at my local big box retailer (K-mart), and I saw this gorgeous pair of slides that looked remarkably similar in original style to the Gucci ones.  Wonder of Wonders – they also fit on my feet!  So I just had to purchase two pair to make the most of this magical occurrence.  I however paid the princely sum of $15 per pair for my mules.

This is my 3rd or 4th item that I have been embellishing with the use of the By Any Other Name Designs.

The next thing I had to think about was exactly what design, and how I am going to embroider these.  I didn’t want to pull the shoes apart and then embroider the leather, I might as well just go to a cobbler and have a pair made for me.  I also didn’t want to embroider right onto the shoe, as on such a delicate part of the foot, the embroidery could easily rub.  When I looked into the Gucci shoes a little more, I could easily tell that these shoes had appliques attached to the shoe after manufacture.


Create a template for your design using the software that comes with your machine, so that you can ensure the design will fit well on the shoe before you stitch.

So with imitation being the sincerest form of flattery – I have embroidered my chosen design (again the rose from the by any other name collection that I am so in love with at the present time) onto fine netting or tulle that matches the colour of the shoe.


Hoop together tulle netting and WetAway Stabiliser to create a  firm hooping.

When you are embroidering with fine netting or tulle, you need to remember to use a wash away stabiliser (I love WetAway, because it comes away so easily, and rinses clean) underneath the tulle.  I also like to use two layers of the netting or tulle, just to give the design a little more stability.

One of the most important things to remember with embroidery on shoes is that as you stitch the design, you need to mirror the design for the second shoe, or else you will have weird looking shoes.  To do this, on most machines these days (and for the past 15 years), you can simply flip the design in the hoop, and stitch out the second copy.


Design (by any other name roses) stitched onto tulle and WetAway stabiliser.

Once the design is embroidered, trim closely around the design, and remove all of the excess wash away stabiliser, my gently immersing the design in warm water.  You want the stabiliser to be gone, however you want to keep as much of the “starchiness” of the stabiliser in the design, to assist in forming it around the shoe.


Embroidered design trimmed to approximately 2mm around each edge, awaiting the stabiliser to be removed

Whilst the design is still wet, place it on the shoe, and “mold” it around the shape of the shoe, as you are planning on attaching it.  Leaving it to dry on the shoe will ensure that the design is in the correct shape as you adhere it.


Once the stabiliser has been removed, and whilst the design is wet, place on the shoe, and mold it to the correct position.

Once the design is completely dry, remove it from the shoe, and using a strong clear drying glue, glue the design onto the shoe surface.


ensure that the glue you use is clear drying.  I love a hot glue gun for this project.

Allow the glue to dry, and you have your own pair of designer shoes, for a fraction of the price.


I have been so happy with my first pair of shoes, that I have customised a second pair – and I am receiving so many compliments on the shoes, they are a wonderful conversation starter.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, and that it will inspire you to create your own one off designer creations.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.