A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Extreme Embroidery Project--Beth Schnellenberger

In the previous post, I gave the supply list for a pin using "extreme embroidery." In this post I will list the instructions along with pictures. Since I was a teacher in a previous life, I work better with a step-by-step list of instructions.


  • Gather your supplies.
  • Using Misty Fuse, fuse the white/cream fabric to a piece of the felt. If you don't use Misty Fuse, hand/spray baste or pin the fabrics together. (Misty Fuse will make it MUCH easier to do.)
  • Using your permanent gel roller, draw a simple design for your pin. Don't go too crazy on detail. As you can see from my examples, you don't even have to be REALLY careful. (For this example, I cut longer rectangular strips first. I then drew several designs and cut them apart before beginning to stitch. Cutting them apart makes it easier to handle the piece when you are stitching. Be sure to leave enough background fabric to have some to "hang on to" while you are stitching. I find 3-4 inches works best for me. Because the designs are small and relatively stable, I don't use a hoop when I embroider. If you would feel more comfortable using a hoop, you will need to cut your fabric larger to start with.)
  • Using your colored markers, color your design (just like you would a coloring book page). Keep in mind that you will be matching your embroidery floss to the colors you use. I color the piece so that if a little bit of the fabric shows through, the color will match and make it less detectable. I also don't have to worry about making any color decisions after this point.
*****After having made my first pin (the sample for this post), I decided that a black ink "border" should be added to the outside of the drawn and colored piece BEFORE stitching begins. I don't have pictures of the ORIGINAL sample with this done (since I didn't do it on my first pin), but I wanted to show you what this looks like.
  • Using your black gel pen, color as close as you can to the outside of the piece. Color around the entire piece adding approximately 1/8" to 1/4" of color BEFORE you start to stitch. This will cover the light colored background with a black edge (to hide any remaining light background after cutting the background away once the stitching is done). In the following picture, you can see what this looks like. THIS BORDER WILL NOT BE STITCHED.
  • You are now ready to begin stitching. I usually start in the center (away from the edge) of my design. Use any type of a filler embroidery stitch. For my pieces, I usually use French knots, stab/seed stitches, tight lazy daisy stitches or chain stitches, split stitches, and stem stitches. I do try to find unusual stitches if I'm doing a big piece. (That is a good excuse to have lots of embroidery books in my library.) If you are unfamiliar with how to do some of these stitches, here is a video tutorial for the stitches I use most often--basic embroidery stitches.

I started with the purple on the bottom. Can you see it?

  • Fill in every single inch of the fabric with stitches. Vary the color and texture of the stitches. As you saw in the bluebird (in the previous post) you can even cut really small pieces of fabric and stitch over those to add a different look to your piece. I have labeled all the stitches I used for my pin so you can see what they look like. When you have finished all the fill-in stitches, use a backstitch (I use black.) to outline each section of the design. (Compare how this next picture looks to the finished pin front--the picture with the black background. I think the black outline stitching makes the piece pop.)
  • Cut a piece of your heavy-duty fusible large enough to cover the back of your stitched piece. Cut it a bit smaller than the Eco-Felt. Use a Teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper and press the heavy-duty fusible to the back of your piece covering just the stitched area (not the entire piece).
  • If you haven't already, cut a piece of Eco-Felt approximately the same size as your finished piece including the background. Using your Teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper, press the Eco-felt to the back of the piece.
  • Now, CAREFULLY cut away the background from around the stitched piece. Cut close to the stitches, but leave a little of the black ink border you colored. Having that black ink border will give you a little "wiggle room" when cutting away the background and may give you the room you need to prevent you from cutting your stitches. (This is the second pin I made. You can see a bit of the black ink border remaining on the cut-out piece.)
  • If, after you have trimmed the background away, you have any light colored fabric still showing around the very edge of the piece, use your black gel pen to color it.
  • You are now ready to add your pin back. I chose to stitch mine to the finished piece, but your could glue it if you wish.

Here are some pins I have finished.
I love making these little pins. I hope you will too.


  1. Thank you for providing this VERY comprehensive tutorial!!

  2. These are great, Beth! I used to do pins with embroidery floss and beads, way back when... might have to give it a try again using your techniques!

  3. This is a great tutorial. I'm gonna share it with my wee keener grandaughter! thanks

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Have never thought of making pins before but I love these!

  5. Such a great tutorial and wonderful little bits of texture in art! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Nicely done!!! Good job, "teach"!


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