I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this beautiful book – Freehand Machine Embroidery by Poppy Treffry – for review by F&W Media.
As I get more confident using my sewing machine, I’ve been tempted to give machine embroidery a go. I first saw it on an early series of Kirstie’s Homemade Homes, where Kirstie Allsopp declared it was like craft crack cocaine! That’s an endorsement! Aside from that, it looked fun and easy, no rules and not much to learn other than to let the machine do the work. Poppy Treffry’s book is a great guide to getting started. With very clear instructions and some lovely beginners projects it’s the perfect way to kick-start a love affair with machine embroidery.
The first thing I realised upon reading the intro to the book was a mistake I’d been making for years, particularly when working with particularly silky or stretchy fabrics. Pesky feed dogs. For those, like me, who have no idea what feed dogs are, they are the little lines of teeth under the needle and foot which grip onto fabric. Dropping the feed dogs or simply covering them over with masking tape is the first step to successful machine embroidery.
The book is very mindful of not rushing you in to creating a master piece to early on. In fact, Poppy encourages you to ‘have a play’ and get a feel for your machine by making squiggles, lines and simple shapes like hearts and triangles. Top tips include using two different threads for your top thread and bottom bobbin when shading. What a great idea. I’d never thought of this. Poppy uses black and grey together to shade in darker areas and also mixes brighter colours like red and orange to create depth and add texture to her designs. Applique is tackled in the book too, again with very clever but simple tips like multiple outlines around your applique shapes for stand-out.
Freehand Machine Embroidery is beautifully photographed and styled. It also has a nice lot of ‘words’. Call me crazy but I do like to actually read my craft books!
I love the artistic freedom this craft allows, in fact encourages. So with my masking tape, embroidery hoop and an old cotton pillowcase in hand I’m off to give machine embroidery a go. Watch this space!
You can find Poppy’s book and other brilliantly beautiful craft books here www.stitchcraftcreate.co.uk.