Machine Embroidery Designs You'll Want to Wear

At our show-and-tell circle at the Quilting Arts-Stitch-Cloth Paper Scissors offices this week, Stitch Editor Amber Eden showed us a spread in a major fashion magazine that revealed quilting is a fashion trend.

machine embroidery patterns
Free-motion machine embroidery by
Bianca Mandity, featured in
Cloth Paper Scissors
Nov./Dec/ 2013.

From Chanel bags to fitted vests to shoes and more, quilted leather and fabric are this season's must-haves, apparently.

We all applauded for quilting's runway recognition. Then a few of us who have less than model-like figures laughed that we would probably skip this trend. Who needs the extra bulk?

A shirt with free-motion machine stitching like this one by Bianca Mandity is a different story. I would wear that in a heartbeat.

Inspired by doodle drawing, Bianca revived a thrift-shop shirt by adding free-motion machine embroidery designs. In her how-to article featured in an upcoming issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, she says easy sewing projects like this are perfect for someone just starting out with free-motion stitching.

"While free-motion stitching can seem a little scary in the beginning, it really is like doodling with your sewing machine. I believe if you can doodle, you can free motion! And since you'll be stitching on a button-up shirt, the loops and problems that can sometimes occur in the beginning (or if your machine is being moody) are hidden away when you wear it, so the only person who'll know is you. Fear no mistakes-and wear your art out!"

Here are some of Bianca's tips for machine embroidery success:

Try doodling your design on a scrap piece of paper before you begin to stitch to get an idea of how it will work out. For more confidence, you can draw your design out full size, put it under the shirt against a light source (such as a window) and lightly trace the design onto the shirt.

machine embroidery patterns
Machine embroidery patterns like this one by
Bianca Mandity are easy to add to a garment.

As you stitch, don't worry if your retracing goes slightly off the original line, this makes the stitching look more like doodling, and gives it its own unique flair.

Every machine is different and everyone's stitching rhythm is different, as well, so tension needs can vary. Practice to get the tension just right.

Try adding machine embroidery stitches to a cuff, a collar, the back or the front of a shirt. It's a great way to practice stitching, revive your wardrobe, and wear you art out–without adding bulk.

I always find a creative project or technique in each issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. Anyone who likes to mix other media with fiber art should have a subscription!

P.S. Do you wear your art out? What designs do you like? Leave a comment (and a link to an image on your blog/website/pinboard if you have one) below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Machine Embroidery, Quilting Daily Blog

One thought on “Machine Embroidery Designs You'll Want to Wear

  1. Most of my work is given away for one occasion or another. The ones I make for myself, do go out. Why put ALL that work into something and not wear it? Besides, I love showing it off!