Add Embroidery to Projects

Innovative Ideas to Make Gifts of Art Out of Store-Bought Items

Take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. Simply add a little embroidery.

Embroidery doesn’t have to be done on particular canvases or pre-marked kit cloths. Any simple item can be personalized with a touch of embroidery. It makes one-of-a-kind items, and it gives gifts a special touch that makes them stand out.

Choose store items that have a canvas-like material, and that isn’t too busy so that the embroidery can stand out. Free form designs are a very popular trend right now, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. Draw an image using a fabric marker by freehand, or use transfer paper that can be bought at any craft store to trace an appropriate picture.

Great Items to Embroider

  • Shirts—T-shirts and polos work best. Embroidery design of about 3 x 3 inches on the upper left-hand front of the first is the common place for it.
  • Sweatshirts—Be a little careful here. Some sweatshirt material is bulky and tends to bunch. Cotton blend materials that are not very thick work well.
  • Bags—Bags, backpacks, and purses made of canvas lend themselves so well to original design. Choose plain bags. The design can be stitched right onto the bag. Especially good are “photo” bags, where clear plastic pockets are sewn onto the sides. Stitch a design to fit the pouch, and it’s easily converted to a walking art gallery.
  • Shoes—This is not as difficult as it may sound, and the results can be breath-taking. As long as the shoe is made of a fabric material, it is the perfect candidate for embroidery. Do not use leather, vinyl, plastic, or anything that would leave a hole if poked with a needle. Choose stitches that won"t be bumpy on the inside of the shoe, as that would cause discomfort.
  • Hats—Cloth hats, floppy hats, and tops of baseball caps are all candidates for embellishment. Center the design in front, or make a border that goes all the way around.
  • Aprons— Only cloth aprons should be used. Plain aprons ready for decoration are available in many places, including the Embroidered Clothes Store. Choose colors that match the recipient’s kitchen.
  • Towels—Everyone needs towels, and they are easily customizable—just choose colors that match the recipient’s bathroom or kitchen. A simple monogram that complements a bathroom embroidered onto the hand towel band is quick to do and makes an elegant gift.

Great Stitches to Use

Stitch choice isn’t very limited when doing these kinds of projects, but do keep in mind that the items will get a good deal of wear. Choose floss and stitches that will hold up to wear and tear. Some good choices are the satin stitch (especially padded satin), pinhead stitch (very sturdy), and cross-stitch (it crosses over itself, and that makes it quite durable.)

One last thing to remember–don’t use long stitches–they can pull under the stress of everyday use, and these pieces will be so unique and gorgeous, their owners will want to use them all the time.

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