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Embroidery Inspiration

Project: Turning a Child's Art into Embroidery

Our children like to embroider their drawings.  The following one was created by our eldest daughter (the ballerina) when she was 8 years old.  Just this week she created another one (she is now 10).  Below is a tutorial that originally posted in 2006 on my homeschool blog:


First, draw a picture.  This is a picture that our ballerina (8) drew of her new kitten.  She drew it left-handed, even though she is a righty, because her right elbow is broken and in a cast right now.   Pretty good, considering all that!


Transfer the design onto any fabric of your choice. Denim, broadcloth, linen, cross-stitching Aida cloth, burlap, silk, etc.   For the child's first time, choose a cloth that is light-weight (eg. not denim this time) so the child can insert the needle easily.  Our ballerina transferred her design onto a piece of pink linen purchased at the needlework store.   

There are several options for transferring a design. One idea is to just have the child draw on the fabric in the first place. If they drew on paper, you might use a transfer pencil, use some kind of transfer paper, or simply do what we did:  put the drawing under the fabric and copy it with a fine-point Sharpie (see Step 4 to view the results) or a pencil.


Choose your thread. On burlap or plastic canvas, use yarn.  On the other fabric choices, use perle cotton thread or embroidery thread.  We used DMC cotton embroidery thread, which our model is displaying below.


For the needle, use a chenille needle or a tapestry needle.  You may also use a plastic child's needle.

It's time to embroider!  . Back Stitch is the most common stitch used for outlining in cross stitch, and was very easy for my children to master.  My favorite is the Stem Stitch (also known as other names).  For filling in small spaces (like the bunny's carrot in another project), we used Satin Stitch.

When finished, you have lots of options.  Here are a few:
  • Leave the project in a wooden embroidery frame, such as above, and hang it on the wall
  • Mat and frame the embroidery (there's a huge debate amongst needleworkers as to whether or not you should use glass in the frame - you choose)
  • Turn the artwork into a small pillow
  • Use it as a stool cover
  • Turn one or several of them into a child's apron, like Wee Wonderfuls did in this post.
  • what else?  add your ideas to the comments.

Our ballerina's finished design (which turned freakishly purple when photographed in the shadow of a blue door)....

Britty's Embroidery Close Up copy

was turned into a pillowcase.

If you post a project on your blog, send me a link!
Photos by Lori Seaborg, 2006, 2008