Tuesday, 3 April 2012

My attempt at machine Embroidery ...

Before Christmas I wanted to do a project, that for me was REALLY SCARY. It’d be my first proper venture into 3d mixed media, that I was going to do all by my little lonesome… I was inspired by Kirsty’s Homemade Britain to do machine embroidery. It looked easy enough. (I’ve used the decorative stitches for decoration before, but not actual machine embroidery.) I needed to sew around some leaves. I was just using the normal sewing foot, and so had no control over following lines. It was a lot of very hard mental work for very poor results.
First attempt  pretty disasterous! 

Eventually I found a plastic embroidery foot. I was quite pleased with the result (though the needle did keep sewing into the foot and not the material… foot now dotted with dents), but it wasn’t working for the leaves by the edge of the material. GRRR.

So I searched the internet for videos on actually HOW to machine embroidery. My mum (and mentor for most things crafty) is a pactical sewer (Halloween costumes, bags, repairs, etc) and so neither of us had an idea how to begin.  Youtube helped me a lot.
Esp this one:

(their website, bemygoth.com is great, too)

All the videos, even if they used different techniques, all removed the grippy foot/path/plate thing (between the machine base and needle) under the foot that you clamp down. So there they are in their videos, smuggly* pressing a button and *puuff* the grippy thing disappeared!
Neither of the house machines have the fancy pantsy button you press to make the grippy thing disappear. We hunted for the button, nare a button to be found.
On my mum’s machine it has to be UNSCREWED before it can be removed and it’s hidden under a plate that also has to be unscrewed :-S If it was just a matter of pushing it and out it slid, it would be annoying, but not a problem, but this was a major operation! Unscrewing and screwing up anything in a confined space is tricky.

4 screws removed later, I gave it a bash, bareing in mind I had no foot (having been chewed through by needle!) I had NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER. and a gutted sewing machine. >_<

So I ended up with another ruined holly leaf, and I’d marmalized my mum’s machine.

I had a massive panic attack! And screwed everything back, put the machine away, and ordered an embroidery foot, a proper one, like the one on Kirsty’s Homemade Britain!, made of metal, that will fight back if the needle comes for it!

So everything was put on hold for a week while I ordered, waited for, and worked out how to attatch the embroider foot.

I got mine from these.
They sent it very quick (the rest of the time was spent overcoming anxiety about the operation that would follow)

I had another go on mum’s machine with the new embroider foot. I got some good results. But I felt so bad about taking over her machine and that I kind of ended up destroying my mum’s machine. She does SO MUCH sewing on it, that it was’t fair that I commandered it for my silly whim! When she said that she stopped using the other one because the thing making the grippy foot move had broken (this is an old machine, an original 70’s Singer inside a table, and the corkscrew part that moved the grippy foot is made of PLASTIC, which perished and broke off) I jumped at the chance of using that,  the very thing I DON’T need to work on a machine!! … 

Guilt over!.
I managed a LITTLE bit of sewing, but when I changed the thread it began to play up, bunch up the thread, and mangle the material. Now, I don’t really see the fuss about Singer machines, the ones my mum has had have always been temperamental. And I always found sewing a very STRESSFUL thing to do. It seemed if you breathed at the wrong time it would mess up. A couple of years ago mum got a Toyota Jeans machine (Out of desperation, when yet another Singer failed her and because it was in our budget)
It’s a BEAST and I have easily doubled the amount of sewing I’ve done since getting the Toyota. I want one of my own!

I had never machine embroidered before. It was enjoyable, but as it turned out it wasn’t going to be right for what I wanted anyway. (I ended up glitter glueing around them!)

*they weren’t actually smug, they were very helpful posting their machine embroidery videos, I’m just bitter and jealous that I don’t have access to such a machine.

PS. This is what I made!