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Ministry of Craft Blog

    Friday, May 12, 2017

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    Free Machine Embroidery by Sam Moylan


    Free Machine Embroidery by Sam Moylan

    Kirsty Allsop described freehand machine embroidery as the 'crack cocaine' of crafting and I have to agree, it’s pretty addictive. Nearly everyone that try's Free machine embroidery agrees, it's the perfect way to express your artistic side there are no restrictions.

    Free machine embroidery brings a whole new dimension to your sewing machine, I love how I can draw on fabric with a variety of threads and enhance those drawings with layers of stitches and beautiful fabrics, there's no right or wrong way... just your way. To create free-motion machine embroidery, you move tightly hooped fabric under the needle to create a design. The "feed dogs" or machine teeth are lowered or covered, to allow you to move the fabric manually in any direction.

    You can keep it simple and clean or build up a 3D multi media image.

    Free machine embroidery is the Freedom to sew outside the box .... within an embroidery ring ....The combination of free machine embroidery with appliqué involves sewing layers of fabric to the free machine design, adding texture.

    How to get started


    A darning foot - allows you to stitch safely and effectively. Because of the spring within this foot it doesn't hold the fabric down, but let's you move freely around the fabric.

    An embroidery hoop - the smaller the hoop the greater control you will have.

    Stabiliser -there are various types of interfacing available. Fusible, sew in, water-soluble.

    Fusible webbing or fabric adhesive - to adhere the appliqué pieces to the main fabric.

    Embroidery scissors - to cut loose and connecting threads.

    Trick marker or pencil- to draw out your design.

    Something to embroider on – a cushion, tea towel, garment


    Set up your machine

    Install your darning foot.

    Reduce your top tension to around 1 or 2.

    Lower the feed dog to move the fabric yourself in any direction.

    Set your stitch length to zero. This can be adjusted to suit the project's design.

    Thread - use one or two different colours of thread at the same time to give shading and perspective.



    Press your foot control and gently move your hoop in any direction.

    Ensure your fabric is pulled tight in the hoop like a drum. Start with straight stitches, short and long variations. Introduce texture using spirals, waves, open curves and zigzags.

    Any pattern created using free-motion machine embroidery will be your unique design and cannot be exactly reproduced, unlike computerised embroidery.

    Louise Gardner is an embroiderer I admire and has inspired me, this is some of her beautiful work.

    Join us at the Edge Theatre in Chorlton on 19th and 26th July or Fred Aldous in the Northern Quarter on 25th November to take part in a Free Machine and Embroidery workshop



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