Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Winter is Coming: A Onesie for Scunter

As most of you probably know, I am a big fan of hand-embroidery. For Christmas, I got the Sublime Floss Packs and was excited to finally have a project to use them on. I will show you the finished product, then tell you how I made it, in case you're interested or want to make your own. Here is what it looks like:
As you can see, it is the Stark House Sigil from Game of Thrones. I had thought about doing a more cutesy looking wolf, since it is for a baby, but I couldn't really find a picture I liked and I'm not good at cartoon type drawing. This is a really easy project to make. I'm not going to explain how to hand-embroider; you can find a good beginner's tutorial about that here.

Sadly, I don't think officially licensed Game of Thrones embroidery patterns exist, so I had to make my own. This is pretty simple.

1. Find an image you like. Something that is more line-drawing-esque will be easier to embroider.

2. Edit the image in Photoshop/Gimp/Image-editing software of your choice. This is optional, but it's what I did to combine the text with the picture. The text portion was made using an online "font image generator," of which there are many if you Google.

3. This step is very important. Use a photo editor (it can even be MS Paint, nothing fancy) to rotate the image 180 degrees around the vertical axis. Basically what you want is a mirror image. Since you are making a transfer to iron on, the image needs to be the opposite. This is especially important if you have words; some images you might not mind if they are flipped.

4. Print out the image in the size you want it to be on the finished project.

5. Use an iron-on transfer pen (the one I use is the Sulky Iron on Transfer Pen) to trace over your image. If you want, you can print out the image in a different/lighter color so you can tell which parts you have traced over.

6. Pre-iron the garment to make sure it is smooth, then with a cloth over your paper, iron the transfer on. Make sure you get everything ironed without moving the paper, because if you don't it's going to be pretty much impossible to line it up perfectly again (I suppose you could mark where you put the transfer but I'm not that pro. And depending on how small the transfer is, pinning it down doesn't really work because it keeps parts of the transfer out of contact with the fabric.).

7. If you are embroidering on jersey fabric, like a onesie or t-shirt, you will need something to stabilize the fabric so it doesn't stretch out and warp the design. I used to just skip this part because I didn't want to buy something else, but it really does make things a lot easier. The best stabilizer I have found so far is Sulky TenderTouch. It is a permanent iron-on stabilizer. I have tried tear away and water soluble stabilizers and found them to be pretty frustrating to use. With this, you just iron a piece of it onto the back of the fabric, where you plan to stitch. If you are using an embroidery hoop, make sure that there is enough stabilizer to fill the hoop or there will be weird stretches on the sides.

8. Embroider the image.

9. You will most likely want to put a backing over your finished design for two reasons: first, it will protect the embroidery from coming apart/unraveling and second, it will feel smoother against the skin--particularly important for a baby garment. Just to show off, I'm going to show a picture of what the back looked like before I put the backing on:
As you can see, pretty much just a scruffy-looking mirror-image of the front. I don't use knots when ending a piece of thread but there are some ends sticking out. Here is what it looked like after I put the backing on:
The backing is the same TenderTouch stabilizer I used before embroidering the image. The blur is maybe partly due to me not having a steady camera hand and partly that the backing is semi-transparent, so it obscures the image a bit.

Anyway, I am excited to make a few more onesies for Scunter. I am thinking of one that says "Make it So" with a Starfleet insignia and maybe one that says "I got a bad feeling about this." And of course I can always embellish my own clothing as well. Let me know if you have any questions about this project or the materials I used, or suggestions (or requests?) for designs.

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