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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gather Your Supplies--Beth Schnellenberger

If you are interested in trying your hand at "extreme embroidery," here is a way to do it. I will give you an overview of what we'll be doing and a list of supplies you will need (many of which you will already have on hand).


I recently decided I'd like to make some pins using this technique. The pin idea started when I made a donation piece for a child advocacy center. I made this little bluebird as part of the piece. I really thought he was cute and decided I might like to make him into a pin. (I haven't done it yet.) As you can see here, I used some fabric, a big bead for the eye, and lots of embroidery to make this piece.

Then, I thought making a pin might be a good way to teach someone about "extreme embroidery." This is the front of the pin I'm making to use for your sample.

You will be preparing your fabric for stitching, doing some embroidery, and finishing your pin. As I made my pin, I took pictures and will share those with you along with the instructions in the next post. (Keep in mind I'm showing what works for me. Of course, you should do things the way that is the most comfortable for you.)


  1. Cotton fabric--4" square
  2. Felt--two 4" squares
  3. Misty Fuse fusible web--small amount 4" square
  4. Heavy-duty/no-sew Heat and Bond, Steam-a-Seam or other heavy no-sew fusible
  5. Permanent pen
  6. Colored markers
  7. Embroidery needles
  8. Scissors
  9. Embroidery floss
  10. Pin back

Let me talk a little about each of these supplies.

  • Cotton fabric--I use a white Kona cotton for my pieces. All you really need is a small piece of any cotton fabric that is a solid cream or white. A 4-inch square is large enough.
  • Eco-felt--This is the felt I like to use. (I get mine on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It is made of recycled plastic. I don't think it would matter what kind of felt you use for this project. If you have some on hand, use that. I like to use a black felt (since it might show a little in the end). For this project, use what you have on hand. You need two pieces that are the same size as your fabric.
  • Misty Fuse--I fuse the cotton fabric and the Eco-felt together with Misty Fuse. I wouldn't use any other type of fusible, because I haven't found any that is as easy to sew through as Misty Fuse. (If you don't have Misty Fuse, (since this project is so small) you could hand baste or spray baste the two pieces of fabric together. You might even be able to just pin them. If you do use the Misty Fuse, you will need a piece the same size as your fabric and felt.
  • Heat & Bond or Steam-a-Seam--Be sure to read the package and get the heavy-duty fusible that doesn't require sewing to make it permanent. (There are several different kinds of fusibles from featherlite, lite, heavy, to no-sew.) I use this to attach the finished pin to the the Eco-felt backing.
  • Permanent pen--I use a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric. I use this pen to draw the design onto the fabric. I LOVE this pen and use it often. I used it to cover the entire background fabric with writing for my "Then We Pray" piece shown in a previous post. It is perfect to use for making labels for your quilts and other art pieces. It writes very smoothly on fabric. Lots of stores carry them and you can get them online. (Amazon carries them--here. I like them SO much that I order them by the box--a much better buy if you think you will use them for anything else.)
  • Colored markers--I use Ultra Fine Bic Mark It Permanent Markers. I like to use these markers to color my designs. They are easy to use on the fabric and come in a large selection of colors. My work isn't washed and most of this color will be covered with stitches, so permanency is not an issue for me.
  • Embroidery needles--These needles have sharp tips that pierce the fabric as you stitch, and larger eyes for accommodating floss and embroidery thread. Here is the best site I have found for explaining needles for embroidery-What Needle Do I Use? For this project, be sure to have a needle who's eye will accommodate your thread and that opens up a large enough hole in the fabric to allow the thread to easily pass through. Needles are sized by number and the bigger the number, the smaller or finer the needle. I found the following guide on the DMC website. When using 1-2 strands of embroidery floss use a size 26, with 3-4 strands of embroidery floss use a size 24 and with 5-6 strands of embroidery floss use a size 22. For #5 Pearl Cotton use a size 20, for #8 use size 22 and for #12 use size 10.
  • Scissors--This is pretty self-explanatory. You will be cutting threads, cotton fabrics, and felt.
  • Embroidery floss--I use whatever kind of floss suits my needs for color and coverage. I generally use DMC floss and Perle cotton. Lately, I am REALLY liking the Perle Cotton in Size 8 (picture on the right below). If you use that thread, you don't have to separate the strands of floss. I think, particularly for satin stitches, the Size 8 makes a neater stitch. If you have some embroidery thread on hand, pick out a variety of colors you like. Whatever you have on hand will be fine for this project.

  • Pin back-You can buy these lots of places. Be sure to get a size that is appropriate for the size of your pin.
In the next post, you'll see how I made my pin. You can make one too!



  1. Oh, great. I'm cleaning stuff and will keep an eye out for a pin. Floss I definitely can see where the drawer doesn't shut and stuff peeks out! This is the year for handwork! :)

  2. I have no felt. Maybe I can substitute something else for it?

  3. What a great idea for making a pin :)

  4. Hi Beth,
    I use the Pentel gel roller for fabric - mainly for labelling my quilt direct on the backing fabric. I would be interested to know how much area you were able to cover with one pen when you did the writing for "Then We Pray".
    I have been wanting to write words for yardage for a project, but I don't have any idea how much area would be covered by one pen. (and don't want to start and find I haven't got enough to finish!)
    I do not like the seeping which happens with every other pen I have tried to use. This writes strong or light depending on how much pressure you put on it, and it writes smoothly without catching on the fabric.
    Sandy in the UK

  5. What a sweet bird. Just a small correction about the needles - embroidery needles are also known as Crewel needles. Sharps are your general sewing needle and have a smaller eye than an embroidery/crewel needle. If using perle (pearl) cotton chenille needles often work even better because of their larger eye. They are also thicker than a regular embroidery needle so that they make a larger hole to better accommodate the thread thru the fabric.

  6. Thanks mckittycat. I have made a change to the post. (I sometimes use Sharps for my embroidery as I will use any needle that works with the thread I'm using.)


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