Sunday, February 19, 2012

Machine Applique Letter Art

When I was pregnant with Micaiah, I developed Preeclampsia and had to be on bed rest the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. I had some sweet  friends that came over to help do some finishing touches on the nursery, but needless to say, I didn't get to finish it the way I wanted it!
Now, I'm kind of glad, because I know I wouldn't have done something quite this clever 17 months ago! Yes, it took me 17 months to get something up over his crib!!!!

Inspiration Story: It's funny how a project can change from what you are first inspired to make. I have the book Growing up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. My original plan was to do a project out of this book just like it was described. I loved her hand embroidered Irresistable Letters!

Are those numbers not sweet?! Except it is basically all done by hand and you guys know hand embroidery wasn't my favorite craft of all!  I knew, with my embroidery/sewing machine, I could machine applique my numbers/letters instead... assuming I found the right pattern. I settled on Planet Applique's JacknJill Alphabet pattern for $8!

Originally, I decided to make the ENTIRE Alphabet, instead of numbers, for Micaiah to have in the years to come. 26 letters seemed like a feat, but it was for my baby, so it would be worth it! I started with 'A' in some of the fabric that matches his curtains and the chair in his room. As soon as I had machine appliqued the very first letter, I KNEW exactly what I was going to do... make his name for over his crib!
This took me quite a long time to machine applique embroider ALL 7 letters, but it's SO fun and just perfect for nautical-esque his room!

I found the long stick out in our backyard and just used some rope that I had lying around our utility room. I hot glued the clothes pins onto the stick and tied and knotted the rope onto the stick. Hart  called it my bow and arrow! ha!

Do you want to make one for yourself?
Please note: This tutorial is for those that own an embroidery/sewing machine, but it is completely doable without, too. You would just need some Pellon Wonder Under and an iron to do the applique's by hand with a sewing machine! Also, the following tutorial is in no way a duplicate of Meg's tutorial. To be complete honest I didn't read past step 2 in her book, because I wasn't going to even come close to doing anything similar to what she did by hand. I was inspired from the picture to display the letters with clothes pins and a stick.

Let's get started!
First, hoop your fabric and make each letter in your child's name. Then cut out perfect squares using a ruler and rotary cutter or scissors. Need help with machine applique? Click here for a tutorial.
Cut out coordinating squares for the backing of each letter. I used some red fleece that I had on hand, but you could use canvas, wool felt, or just plain quilter's cotton, too. MY fabrics were white canvas, navy blue pressed corduroy, and, I BELIEVE, the striped fabric is Ralph Lauren, but I honestly can't remember exactly. That was before I knew I was supposed to care about the names/designers of fabrics!
Put right sides together for each square.
Sew around the perimeter, but leave a 2 inch opening to turn right side out. Cut off the corners at a slant.
Turn right sides out!'s a mini pillow!
Make sure your opening fabric is tucked under and sew again all the way around.
Now repeat all the above steps for all of your letters.

Like I said... this is a TIME consuming project. Seriously.
But you have really cute letters or flash cards or whatever that won't get torn up or eaten!

Want to make the stick display?'s pretty easy, actually. You just find a stick that has a curve to it and is long enough for your letters. Clip your clothes pins to your fabric letters and lay them out so you can space them evenly.
Hot glue the clothes pins on the stick in your desired spot. Take your rope and loop and knot it at the center.
Twist the ends of the rope around the ends of your stick and tie a couple knots. You are all done and ready to hang it up! Step back and enjoy your fun art!

I am also going to enter this craft into the American Crafter competition over at Naptime Crafters!

I wouldn't have even known about it, but I just made a new blog friend with Jessica at Me Sew Crazy. She's a Christian craft blogger that makes some really cute stuff and I was feeling kind of down and out about blogging recently. I emailed her just reaching out and asking if she ever struggled with some of the things I struggled with and y'all....she was SO sweet in her response. It completely encouraged me to keep doing what I love and seek after God while doing it. So, whether I make it in the top 15 contestants or not, I figured it would be fun to try out! So, pray I get in, if it is what God wants! And if you have nothing better to do, go enter yourself! I think you have until February 29th! I hear there are some pretty good prizes to come, too!