Lately, I have been experimenting with free motion quilting and free hand embroidery. I really do feel like I have been in a sewing lab this past week reading, practicing, viewing, practicing, trashing… lot’s of trashing, yet no closer to that ideal of what such quilting or embroidery is suppose to look like. However, I do feel like I have learned new skills in the process, and certainly have come to know my own sewing machine better.
There are many schools of thought out there on how to approach free hand sewing and quilting, but given your machine and tools, the only way to know what will work for you, is to make test samples, and more samples, before applying them to a real project.
If you would like to have fun and relax while learning something new in this regard, I highly recommend Poppy Treffry’s method of freehand machine embroidery and applique. Poppy’s approach is simple, stream-lined and tons of fun. My kind of gal!!
I do think a universal truth in freehand machine embroidery is to use a good wooden hoop that is designated for machine embroidery. This type of wooden hoop is designed to go under the presser foot of your machine, and the wood is smooth and glides on the bed of the machine without resistance. I purchased an 8 X 8 inch hard wood hoop by Edmunds on Amazon, and this hoop works for both hand and machine embroidery.
One more universal truth here- you hoop your project for freehand machine embroidery differently from regular embroidery. Place your fabric with stabilizer on top of the larger outer hoop, and then press the inside hoop in place. This is the same hooping method with dedicated embroidery machines.
Now the fun part! There is no such thing as a bad stitch!!! Grab some scraps, your hoop, school glue, and a #90 needle. You are ready! Poppy herself does not even use a free motion or embroidery presser foot. How simple is that?!!!
Now I’m no Poppy Treffry, but this little first effort went a lot easier than I thought, and no stitch problems on the back. I did use the free motion presser foot that came with my machine since my Janome MC 6300 machine would not stitch without a presser foot on it.
This method of embroidery and applique is very forgiving, though Poppy’s own work is quite lovely and fairly sophisticated. She does have a few short videos on her own website and YouTube where you can see her in action with minimal tools. Her book has lot’s of projects, and whether you are a novice or proficient sewer, I think you will want to try them all! The photography in this publication is beautiful and the instructions clear.
After saturating my brain with too many technical sewing details this month, I really enjoyed the opportunity to do something completely out of my comfort zone. Simple tools and preparation with this freehand method offers quite an art-filled result!
All the best,