Embroidery was my favorite craft when I was a kid, probably because I was totally American-Girl-obsessed, but I hadn't embroidered for years when I went to TxSC last month and became newly inspired.
The first thing that inspired me was a workshop where I learned that you can use carbon paper to transfer images from magazines and books onto fabric. No more Hobby-Lobby-kit cottages in the woods or kittens playing with yarn! (Not that I don't love a good cottage or a kitten, but the possibilities when you buy patterns are pretty limited.)
Before my surge of inspiration, the last thing I'd embroidered was the cross-stich pattern seen here. But lately, I'd been wanting to do something with more detail, a portrait maybe. And, since I'm not the best portrait drawer, carbon paper was going to be my saving grace.
I developed a technique of my own for making complicated images like photos into basic line-drawings that can be transferred with carbon paper onto fabric and stitched over.
Here's how I created this totally awesome embroidered portrait of Edgar Allan Poe (and how you can create a piece of embroidery out of absolutely any image you want).
You will need:
Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
a digital pad or tablet like this one
01. Open the image you want to embroider in Photoshop. Create a new file and drag the image into that file.
02. Create a new layer and, using the digital drawing pad, trace the important features of the image using a contrasting color. I used red on a black-and-white image. If your image isn't black and white, it helps to convert it to black and white and then trace using a bright color.
03. Delete the image layer. Print.
04. Layer your drawing on top of the carbon paper, which is on top of the fabric (carbon-side down), and trace all the lines of your drawing with a pen, using enough pressure to transfer the carbon.
05. Embroider over your pattern, taking care not to brush your hand against the carbon pattern too much because it smudges easily.