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Free Machine Embroidery- Learn to Stitch Like A Crazy GENIUS

February 9, 2015


There’s more to sewing than straight lines. And here’s the proof. At some point in a sewers lifetime they begin to wonder about free machine (or motion) embroidery, what it entails, if their machine is equipped to do it, or most commonly, will they sew through their finger?


I have done this once. I won’t lie to you. But I had removed the machine foot completely, It was on an old Jones machine and I was hammering away standing up! The needle went straight through my finger taking the thread with it. Reader, I swooooned and it had to be removed by a man with a beard and a pair of pliers. Up until that point I had been sewing for 26 years without a mishap and now I use machines with an embroidery foot. You can’t get a finger beneath one of those. So, let’s leave the horror stories in the past…..


Free ME is the best fun you can have with a machine. I use it a lot in my work and you can see it’s influence in Artists like Alice Kettle, Karen Nichol and Poppy Treffry. The latter being replicated constantly and you can see her influence throughout the homeware collections for any the major High Street players.


I use the technique though mainly to embellish and enhance the clothing I make. I just can’t resist it and an hours work on the Bernina can do wonders for the edge of a coat or a jacket pocket. I often don’t take too much time considering colour matching or stuff like that, I tend to try and empty my mind and react with instinct, if you think too much about things you’ll over analyze and then become fearful about doing anything! Ill often resort back to favorites like green, pink and orange. I never use black, in fact I detest black. I also like those Gutterman threads you can get in fluorescent colours and a “pop” of orange or yellow looks great and can really lift work, if you’re not afraid. I have to be mindful of time constraints if I’m making a commissioned piece because I could honestly spend hours working into the fabric. But I do time myself these days and it’s surprising how much work you can achieve in an hour if you’re focused and things are going well. Ill nearly always finish my work with some hand embroidery stitches, i like the layering of colours and the additional texture it brings. I like to use French knots (which are my favourite) bullion stitch and seed stitch. Sometimes, though rarely Ill crack out the beads and sequins but I’m happy to leave it there. You’ve got to know when to pull off…..


I’ve done of couple of coats and a jacket for a wonderful shop in Whitstable called The Whiting Post and have used a lot of Free ME on these garments. If anyone would like to spend a day with me learning this fabulous technique and seeing how it can improve your life by 100 % I’ll be doing a class on March 14th at My Little Vintage in Earls Barton and May 9th at My Little Vintage in Olney. There’s more details on the website.

Happy stitching!



Post a comment
  1. February 10, 2015

    Wow. Just wow. When I try embellishments they tend to get Becky Homec-y very quickly! These are very inspiring!


    • abikjackson #
      February 23, 2015

      Thanks so much Karen Nicol’s book on embellishments are very inspiring too.

      Liked by 1 person

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