One of the things you can use the embroidery sewing machine to do is machine appliqué. This involves stitching out a guide line onto the fabric, cutting a piece of material the right size, setting it on top of the guideline, and then letting machine stitch all the way around the edge to seal of the fabric down.
I decided to have a go with this to decorate a polo shirt. The idea came about as I was having lunch with Toby and Beth after shopping in Morrison's. We have seen lots of union jack branded goods on sale including buns and cakes. I was looking at Toby's T-shirt which had a pattering printed on it, and then had a design stitched over the top in a kind of loose manner. I thought as a first try doing a design that did not have to be precise would be good as it meant if I made any mistakes they would blend in rather than be glaringly obvious.
I decided to use a union Jack as the basis of my design. I made a stitch file in a couple of bits of software that I have downloaded demo versions of. I might do a post about the different bits of software when I have used them for longer and write a bit of a summary of which one I'm likely to buy.
The polo shirt was a cheap Slazenger one I think I paid four quid for and had never taken out of its packet. I decided to apply pieces of light cotton fabric in yellow, red and blue that I would cut on the bias to stop them fraying. That way the stitches would just hold the fabric down, rather than trying to enclose the edge, to produce a sort of looser rougher design.
After stitching I put the polo shirt through the wash to sit to try and make the edges more frayed and softer and also to see how well it would survive to washing.
I think I am quite happy with the result, and I do like the mix of colours I ended up with. I stitched to the design in the largest hoop that came with the machine. So this is the largest area I can cover in one go, with out having to take the material out of the hoop and moving yet. Trying to move the material after you've started stitching designed to make a second part connect on can be tricky and there are lots and lots of ways people have come up with to try and make the job easier. You can buy a lot of interesting devices, some of which are quite expensive, to help with the process of accurately locating designs. If I was doing it on a completely blank polo shirt I would've put the design about an inch lower. I had to place it where it is on the Slazenger shirt so as to cover their logo with the central red cross of the flag.
Shirt after washing
Close up of the stitched section.
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