February 11, 2019 4 min read

Handwork is relaxing and invigorating. It slows you down to focus on one task such as getting your fingers to push or pull the needle through the fabric while using thread to complete the stitch of your choice.

I fell in love with handwork when I saw my grandma working on this colossal winter scene. It’s on a massive stand, and she would sit in her rocking chair to stitch in the wooden frame that I would rest on the floor. The wood frame is so much larger than the hoop that is used today. Plus, not to mention this frame I'm talking about couldn't fit in your lap.

But anyways, today I’m going to show you an iron-on transfer pattern embroidery that I made for a loved one to use as a tea towel in the kitchen.

First, before you start any embroidery project let’s talk about the hoop which is what holds the fabric tightly. I grew up using a wooden hoop that was 8inches round, but a few years ago our distributor back ordered them for whatever reason, and I had to Grit my teeth and bought a plastic hoop. Jokes on me because lo and behold I have never gone back to a wooden hoop because the plastic coop does not stretch the fabric in my option.

My favorite plastic hoop is from, Susan Bates hoop Dash. When using the Susan Bates hoop be sure and put the fabric on top of the inner hoop. Press the outer circle down over the fabric in under lip of inner poop. Pull fabric thought, tighten until it’s a drum tight.

So after you've chosen your hoop, next you'll want to consider the following:

Project essentials before you start.

You must have a proper embroidery needle. Embroidery needles are also known as cruel needles. They have a wicked sharp point and at the top of the needle a large eye to accommodate thicker threads such as flaws from DMC because you’ll use multiple strands.

Before you start any project, I recommend you first choose the pattern.
The pattern should inspire you and spark creativity.

Quick side note: If you choose a pattern that isn't an iron-on transfer then there are a few different ways to transfer the pattern onto the fabric. You could use a light box or a sunny window and then using either method use a frixion pen to draw using the pattern as your template onto the fabric of your choice (100% cotton is best).

However getting back to the main reason for this post, today I am going to show you how to iron on the transfer a pattern. The pattern will state if it’s acceptable or not use the iron on method.

  1. Wash and dry the fabric you are choosing to embroider.
  2. Preheat your dry iron (keyword dry iron, zero steam should be coming out of your iron especially if you want to use the pattern more than once). 
  3. Cut out the design you wish to step onto your fabric choice.
  4. Pro tip: be sure only to cut out what you wish to transfer. Everything else on the paper will transfer to your fabric, including any schmeer marks and extra lines on the pattern.
  5. Iron your fabric to heat the material before placing down the pattern.
  6. Place the cutout pattern where you want it (you don't get a second try) face down onto the fabric.
  7. Take the dry iron and slowly iron for five-eight seconds but keep the iron moving and then remove the iron after five-eight seconds.
  8. Carefully raise the edge of the pattern to make sure the design has transferred onto the fabric. 
  9. Pro tip: if you find the pattern is not dark enough don't replace the pattern and re-iron the transfer pattern. Instead, I would use a friction pen to fill in the missing lines or to make the lines darker with a friction marker. (frixion pens and markers are brilliant items!) 
  10. When your fabric is completely cooled, then it's time to grab your threads. For this particular project, I'm going to use DMC floss. 

For our tea tower project, I will next choose my DMC floss colors.

Keeping in mind my heart theme I'm choosing colors that I think anyone would enjoy in a heart.

For the flower heart, I choose DMC floss numbers; 899, 815, 321, 3712, 742

Before you start stitching you’ll want to read the pattern to know what stitch they recommend. Patterns usually show how to sew and what stitches they recommend stitches using different colors. If you find that your pattern doesn't then I highly recommend the pocket guide embroidery book lit because it’s a smart how-to guide of the most popular stitches.

The pattern I'm showing to your suggests using the backstitch for the outlining of the flowers and along the flowers the chain stitch and the point of the heart. The pattern doesn't say anything about the stem stitch nor the split stitch, but I'll do the split stitch along the flower petals because it's my favorite and I love how it seems to frame along the flowers.
They also recommend using the satin stitch for the center of the flowers and some of the petals.

Lastly, before cutting your thread and starting the project because I want the color to pop I am choosing to use three strands from the DMC floss. Most patterns recommend two strains, but as I said, I want the color to pop.

Recap of what you need before you start any project you must have the following items:

Pattern onto the fabric of your choice (in my case the tea towel)
DMC Floss with your colors chosen
Scissors handy to cut the thread
Needles ready to have floss inserted into the eye
Glasses on and away we go!

The finished Tea Towel! 


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