Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidery Sign – Complete


Amazon Books

Last night, I put the last gruelling stitches in my embroidery sign. It took me longer to stitch up this sign than I expected, but I figure that’s for two reasons: 1. I never spent a whole long span of time on it; and 2. I kept thinking it shouldn’t be taking so long! Which only made it seem longer!

A friend was visiting the other day while I was trying to make some progress embroidering it (it has to be posted tomorrow), and he said, “What it that? Baby embroidery?” My reaction: “I’d like to see you do it!”

The funny thing about embroidery on paper is that it seems to be rather “baby-ish” in concept (you poke holes and run the thread through the holes, after all), but in reality, it can be somewhat difficult. My fingers hurt a whole lot more after working on paper than they do after working on fabric! Paper just doesn’t “give” like fabric does, so it can be a chore to pull the needle through. Granted, you can always make bigger holes… You also have to think more carefully about the placement of those holes than you would first expect. You can’t just randomly punch holes and expect your design to look ‘right.’ Especially if you’re doing a picture of something specific (as opposed to geometric designs embroidered on paper), you want to get all the intersections of lines in the exact place, or your picture will end up askew.

Anyway, for this sign, I used ideas and snippets from some of Erica Fortgens’ books – the bird from one, and idea for the flower border from another. Her books, if you’re interested in embroidery on paper (especially for cardmaking or scrapbooking), are an inspirational delight. Most of them, from what I can tell, seem to assume some knowledge of technique already. Not that the concepts are difficult, because they aren’t. In that sense, yes, you probably could call it “baby embroidery.” The whole concept of piercing holes from a pattern in order to stitch a design on a piece of paper is a simple concept, and the stitches used are basic stitches. But it rises above the level of “baby” when you consider design, color choice, placement, combinations, and so forth. And that’s what Erica’s books are great for – overall, they present a sophisticated approach to creating beautiful things.

Enough about that – here’s my sign!

Embroidery Sign for Embroidery Classes

It’s not quite that small! It’s 11 inches wide and about 3.5 inches high.

Embroidery Sign for Embroidery Classes

I like the little birds. I added some color to the birds and the letters using prismacolors. I’ll probably go back and touch in a little more color now that the stitching is done. The letters, for example, need something inside them to make them more noticeable as the title of an announcement on a bulletin board.

I used DMC Satin Floss for the whole thing, and I stitched it on regular everyday white cardstock. I’m going to back it with a border of red and put the class information below it.

So that’s my plan. And I better go get it done, or I’m going to be stuck working on it late at night, when things start to fuzz up!

If you’re looking for good books for paper embroidery inspiration, check out Erica Fortgens’ books on Amazon – they’re much more reasonably priced there than they are in your local craft stores!


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(6) Comments

  1. Beautiful work!

    I recently came across your site while trying to figure out how to do some simple embroidery stitches. I’m a beginner and trying to teach myself, but my printed instructions for various stitches didn’t make sense to me. Then I found your video library…now I understand! The videos are very helpful.

    I’ll look forward to visiting often. Thanks for providing this resource.

  2. Your sign look fantastic. You are making me want to try paper embroidery. FYI Your BLOG has quickly become my favorite. I have to come visit ever day on my lunch to check for anything new.

  3. This turned out beautifully! I can certainly see the attraction of embroidering on paper, sometimes fabric is too fiddly for a quick project!

  4. Hi, all! Thanks for the compliments!

    Angie, I’m glad you like the video library! I’m expanding it with some techniques this summer, and hopefully with better filming and sound … aaargh.

    Smoose! Lunch break is a great time for checking blogs! I hope I can keep you entertained!

    And Kim – yep, originally someone had suggested I embroider my sign for my classes – on linen! I thought about it (very briefly), then concluded that paper was the better path!

  5. So sweet! And so perfect!…I’m still in awe of the symmetry that you achieve.

    You know what I can’t help but wonder at too? How do you create such perfect lazy daisy stitches? Each of your stitches has substantial width, is wide open and laying flat!

    For me, if I try to leave enough thread for the “petal” to have some width it ends up looking too loose and won’t lie as flat as I’d like. And if I create a tight enough stitch, that will lie flat, then the petal shape ends up more narrow and closed than I would like.

    Such a newbie stitch and I can’t get it perfect! :-/ And now to top it all off I don’t know whether stitches lie or lay! 😛
    – Jeannine

  6. Mary, this is so pretty. ‘Baby embroidery’, indeed! 🙂

    I love the colours. They remind me of some embroidered pillow cases that I had as a child. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that they were hand embroidered and they are long gone. 🙁

    When I think of paper embroidery I often think of the classic Victorian embroidered ‘Bless this House’ type of sign. I found the following web site a few months ago. They sell paper embroidery kits for making your own Victorian style sign:


    I have not ordered from these people, but I do like their designs.

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