Archive for the ‘Embroidery Finishing’ Category


Deb’s Decoupaged Embroidery: Dr. Who Clock

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Intrepid stitcher, Deb Ovall, discovered the Funk & Weber World blog while searching for info about decoupaging embroidery. She wanted to adhere a cross-stitch design to a clock face, but had never decoupaged before, let alone decoupaged embroidery.

I’ve fiddled around with decoupaged plastic cups and denim pocket bookmarks, as well as earrings and artist trading cards.

Check out Deb’s project:

Cross-stitched clock face, stitched by Deb Ovall

Dr. Who cross-stitched clock face. Fabric dyed by Deb; pattern stitched by Deb.

She started by dyeing her own Aida.

The cloth was white, 14-ct. Aida, and I ice-dyed it using a video I found on YouTube. You wet the cloth, bunch it up in a clump, place it on a rack over a tray, pile as many ice cubes on it as it will hold, sprinkle your powdered dye on the cubes, wait till the ice melts, rinse till clear, dry and iron. I didn’t do anything to set the color except iron it. I didn’t really care what it looked like, I just have so darn much white Aida and didn’t want to buy anything else!

Ah, anyone else have white fabric you’d like to dye? I sure do! And Deb’s fabric looks great, don’t you think?

The design is a pattern pdf from Cloudsfactory. I found a YouTube video for a different clockface that used a 10-inch clock, but when I tried to fit the design into the 10-inch clock I bought, it was 1/4 inch short, even as close as this cut is! Ten inches was the outside diameter, LOL!

I put the clock away and re-stitched the pattern on 16-ct, which fit a different clock I had: This board clock was $6 at a yard sale and had a 1/8-inch-thick plastic face that I peeled off. The clockworks still worked, so I removed them and fixed up the board.

Painting the clock base, Deb Ovall.

Painting the clock base, Deb Ovall.

Deb used an enamel spray paint to cover the wood base.

I knew about Modpodge but had never used it, so I was just groping in the dark all over the place here. That’s why I was glad to find your blog! Sometimes you just need one little push to go for it, eh?

Oh, I love pushing!

Deb purchased Fabric Mod Podge* for the project, unsure whether that was the best choice or not. Well, she was pretty confident it was the best choice for the fabric, but what about the painted wood base that the fabric would be adhered to?

What Plaid, the maker of Mod Podge, seems to recommend in this case is to prepare the fabric by coating it with Fabric Mod Podge, but then attach it to the painted wood base with regular Mod Podge.

Unlike me, however, Deb doesn’t have seven different kinds of decoupage medium in her arsenal, and I encouraged her to accept the risk and go for it. I’ve found all the Mod Podge formulas very forgiving and effective on a variety of surfaces. I figured the worst-case scenario would be that the fabric wouldn’t adhere well to the wood, and if that happened, she could have another go with regular Mod Podge.

Decoupaged-embroidery surface, Deb Ovall

Check out the shiny decoupaged surface of Deb’s clock.

The fabric podge did not come with any instructions except that to do an applique, you adhere it, wait at least two hours for it to dry, then seal with a fabric brush, working the medium into the applique. I had a small, new, 1-inch paintbrush so I used that and it worked well! This piece was a throw-away if I could not make this work, plus it’s a gift for someone who will love it no matter what, so it wasn’t too risky.

Completed Dr. Who clock, by Deb Ovall

The completed Dr. Who clock, by Deb Ovall. Note the silver trim around the fabric. A nice way to finish that edge.

It worked! The Mod Podge enhanced the contrast in the colors; I’m so happy! It also didn’t dull the silver trim around the design too much; that was the only thing I was afraid of. I only used one coat. This is the first thing I’ve ever Mod Podged so I had no idea what it would look like!

Well, I think it looks fantastic! Well done, Deb!

What do you think? Does this inspire you to decoupage embroidery? Leave a comment and let us know.

Want to see another fun decoupaged-embroidery sample? Check out Becca’s coffee-bean jar.

As always, if you give this a go, we want to know!

*Head’s up! The Mod Podge link to Amazon is an affiliate link. That means I might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through that link. Thank you!

Bookband Elastic for Stitched Bookmarks

Sunday, February 7th, 2016


Bookband, Funk & Weber Designs

My first bookbands recycled gold elastic cord.

When I first made bookbands years ago, finding elastic for the project was a hurdle. My search for appropriate and pretty elastic turned up nothing but some lingerie elastic in limited and uninspiring colors. I recycled elastic cord from a gift for my model, but who besides me has that on hand?

Then the only place I found to order that elastic cord was a packaging supplier, and you had to order it by the pound (or something), which wasn’t practical for a one-bookmark stitcher.

While strolling through a Big Box sewing store recently, I discovered decorative elastics that I dreamed of but couldn’t find back then. So, thanks to Dritz, the elastic hurdle has been removed, and it’s time to revisit bookbands.


The Problem with Embroidered Bookmarks

Funk & Weber Designs cross stitch pattern, Play Ball!, baseball bookmark

Oh, I have and have made my share of them. The Funk & Weber Designs cross stitch baseball bookmark pattern: Play Ball!

I love embroidered bookmarks. They are nicely rooted in stitchy history; they are beautiful; and they are useful. We still collect and give embroidered bookmarks away in Stitching for Literacy.

But I have a problem with them, too, something I really dislike. Most are designed to be clapped inside a book where the carefully, lovingly, skillfully crafted embroidery is . . . hidden! Not to mention smashed.


Don’t get me wrong: I have and have made my share of these (like the Funk & Weber Play Ball cross stitch bookmark pattern, which I love), but I much prefer an embroidered bookmark that allows the needlework to be visible, and bookbands do just that. Without dangling. I got on the whole bookband kick because a reader complained about book thongs, hookmarks, and other dangly kinds. Got a problem? I want to solve it!



I know, I know. There are a gazillion wonderful bookmark patterns and convenient bookmark blanks that are designed to be smashed inside a book, and you can even argue that they’re easier to use—though I will engage in that argument and point out that it’s far from hard to stretch the elastic over a group of pages when one is finished reading for a time. And, I’ll add, because the bookband can stay attached to the book at all times, it’s less likely to get lost. So there.

But that doesn’t mean all those flat bookmarks are useless. What happens if you stitch a loop of pretty elastic to one of those Crafter’s Pride or Janlynn bookmark blanks? Voila! It’s a bookband, and the pretty embroidery can live outside the book, enticing readers to come take a closer look.


Embroidered bookband, by Funk & Weber Designs

Bookbands keep the embroidery outside where it’s visible.


Fun Dritz Elastic

Dritz now has ruffled and ruched elastics, as well as glitter and fold-over (to encase a raw edge, like on stretchy knit fabric). The ruffled elastic I picked up has ruffles down the outer edges, but I see online that there’s a version with a single ruffle down the center. Also, in finding these links just now, I discovered that the fold-over elastic comes in patterns: polka dots, chevrons, hearts. Fold it in half and stitch it for a more narrow band, or just leave it flat. I can see wanting a narrower band for bracelets-turned-bookbands (keep reading).

Best of all, the colors are great: basic black and white, pastels, and screaming bright colors for me. I’ll take one of each, please.


Decorative Elastic from Dritz, Funk & Weber Designs

Decorative elastic from Dritz. Are these great colors or what?


Bracelets Turned Bookbands

I am partial to bracelets-turned-bookbands because I love the bracelet pattern. In particular, I like the firm, secure, durable edges and the pretty backside. I also like the grab-and-go nature of the project: It’s small; I stitch the last half of the project in hand; and the pattern is easily memorized. I generally have several of these in various stages of progress, packed in bags, ready to go.

The sample bracelet/bookmark here is narrow, but they can be made any width.


Composite cross stitches, by Funk & Weber Designs

The pattern is composite cross stitches with interesting, sparkly threads.


Tips, Tricks, & Brilliant Ideas

  • Convert bookmarks you’ve already made to bookbands by adding decorative elastic.
  • Recycle UFOs and orphan projects by cutting them into strips, securing the edges, and—oh, yeah—adding an elastic loop.
  • Use Tokens & Trifles Trinkets stitching cards for bookbands with cool shapes. These cards are no longer being produced, so get them while you can.
  • Put cool stitched doodles to work: Stitch several onto a circle of elastic for a bookband.
  • The Bookmarks 101: Simple, Smart, and Swanky Finishes ebook is full of ideas and instructions for finishing the edges and backs of doodles and mini stitcheries, most of which can be used to make bookbands.
  • Got a Kindle or Nook or tablet or something else with a cover? Bookbands are great for keeping the cover closed and for identifying yours if there happens to be more than one.


Elastic bookband in use, by Funk & Weber Designs

I read with the bookband on. When I’m finished, I slide the completed pages under the elastic.


Buy Elastic


Ruffle elastic

Ruched elastic

Glitter elastic

Fold-over elastic


Head’s Up! Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission.


What About You?

So . . . are you game to try bookbands? What other ideas do you have for these groovy elastics?

The All-Embroidery Finishing Option

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Hemstitched Coasters, DIY Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

Hemstitched coasters, plain and fancy.


I know. You’ve got a stack of stitched-but-not-finished embroideries in a drawer—or in a bag, tub, closet, or elsewhere. You want to finish them. You mean to finish them. But professional finishing, be it framing or having a pillow made or something else, is expensive. You could do it yourself, but . . . oh . . . you haven’t used your sewing machine in years. Does it even work? Do you remember how to use it? Did you ever really know?

And cutting mats is hard, even with that special D-I-Y mat-cutting tool, plus you’re never happy with the results of mats you cut yourself.

If only there were a way to finish embroidery that required

  • no special tools (sewing machine, mat cutters)
  • no special supplies (frames, mat, glass)

Good news: There is! It’s called hemstitching.

You already have the supplies supply: thread.

You already have the tools tool: needle.

You already have the skills skill: hand embroidery.


Hemstitched Frog Cross Stitch, DIY Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

Hemstitched cross stitch, ready to hang or simply lay out on a surface.


What is Hemstitching?

Hemstitching is an idea after my own heart: It is a simple idea that mushroomed into a giant blank-canvas of possibility. There are two branches of hemstitching: the practical branch where actual hemming is done and the decorative branch that involves no turning of fabric edges.

The Practical Branch of Hemstitching

At the core of hemstitching is the technique of hemming: turning the edges of fabric under to envelope and secure the raw edges, and then stitching the fold on the back side of the piece to secure it. That’s it. That’s hemming. The bottom of your pant legs are hemmed. The bottoms of t-shirts, skirts, shorts, sleeves . . . most are hemmed.


Hemstitching on Aida Fabric, DIY Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

Hemstitching on Aida fabric. No threads removed, just hemming.


We can hem any kind of fabric, so it works for any kind of embroidery: cross stitch, needlepoint, even surface embroidery. While the hemstitch is a counted-thread technique, the hem on your jeans isn’t counted. The stitch works whether you can count your ground threads or not.

I grew up sewing, and that means I hemmed in the non-counting way. Here, however, I live in counted-thread embroideryland, so I focus more on the counting way.

The Decorative Branch of Hemstitching

The other branch of hemstitching, the decorative branch, is worked not just on the edge of a piece, but anywhere at all within it—without any edges being folded and secured. That’s right: You can hemstitch without hemming.


Decorative Hemstitching, Funk & Weber Designs

Practical and decorative hemstitching.


“Then why is it called ‘hemstitch’?” you ask, because you’re smart and logical and this sounds . . . well, stupid, if we’re honest. But here’s why: Decorative hemstitching—or hemless hemstitching—uses the same stitch as hemming does. So why bother calling it something else?

Decorative hemstitching involves removing threads from the ground fabric to create open channels and holes that can then be filled with different kinds of openwork stitches. The hemstitch is used to secure the ground threads on the sides of an open channel to keep the remaining threads from wandering into the open space.

So hemstitching is used to secure folded hems and to secure ground threads bordering an open channel.


Hemstitched Cross Stitch, DIY Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

Another hemstitched embroidery. Snap, button, or sew to a jacket, pillow, tote, or something else.


Hemstitching for Finishing Embroidery

If you’re thinking that removing threads and openwork is out of your embroidery ken, I won’t argue with you. It is a technique unto itself: one I love and one you could certainly learn if you were so inclined. It’s fun; it’s beautiful!

But it’s not necessary if you just want to complete your stitched-but-not-finished embroidery!

You don’t have to learn a whole new kind of embroidery to finish your cross stitch or needlepoint or surface embroidery with hemstitching. You just need to learn one stitch. You can learn to miter the corners or not—it’s fine to just overlap them.

One embroidery stitch. That’s all you need to get those embroideries out of the drawer and displayed. Once the edges are hemmed, you can lay the piece flat on a table, drape it over a chair, or hang it from a rod with decorative clips or a few quick stitches. You don’t have to back the piece, but, of course, you can.


Dames of the Needle Hemstitched Embroidery

Elizabeth Talledo of Dames of the Needle and From the Cauldron hemstitches and float mounts many of her samplers.


If you’re looking for a quick, easy, beautiful, and inexpensive way to finish your embroidery, hemstitching is it.

Quit hemming and hawing, and just start hemming. I show you how in the DIY Embroidery Finishing class: Hemstitching.

What do you say? Are you game?