Embroidery Challenge

Today’s post is by Allegra, our 17 year old contributor.  

Both Insects

For this month’s Project Run and Play challenge, Ashley & Emily from Frances Suzanne assigned the challenge of creating something that included handwork.

Heheheh. Best. Challenge. Ever. If you’ve been around Skirt Fixation for any time at all, you’ve seen some of my embroidery!  (Like this fish, this map, these flowers, and these feet.)  So I of course set to work to create a fantastic embroidered piece. My intension at first was to incorporate whatever I embroidered into a garment for Annie. But as I worked, my plan evolved, and I ended up making two embroidered pieces and no garment!! And furthermore, I plan to finish them as a three-part set, but today I just have the first two to show you.  (I think Ashley & Emily can appreciate this as they have an unfinished work in progress themselves, an Easter dress!)

Embroidered insects by Allegra of Skirt Fixation

First of all, I knew that I wanted to embroider a monarch butterfly.  I had wanted to do it for a while.  So I printed out the outline of one, traced it on to linen, and began to embroider.

Embroidered insects by Allegra of Skirt Fixation

It was so nice to work with real linen again; I’d been working with really thin cotton, and the linen is just so much sturdier.

I outlined the butterfly with chain stitch, but when I was done with that, I was in a bit of a fix. I was going to do the orange of the butterfly in satin stitch, but I wanted something just a little more… fantastic. So I eventually decided to fill in the parts with weave stitch. This is one of my favorite stitches, and seems like it’s quite unique – I haven’t seen it in the embroidery world much.

The thing I liked about this one was that I could weave three or four different shades of orange into one small section, and each section of the butterfly is a different combination of oranges! This makes it very realistic-looking, and adds visual interest whether you are viewing it close up or far away.

Embroidered insects by Allegra of Skirt Fixation

After I was done with that, I decided to do a dragonfly. This I outlined in chain stitch as well, before filling the body with stain stitch in blue, green and purple. I also added some French knots to the body.

Embroidered insects by Allegra of Skirt Fixation

The wings were the things that I wanted to really focus on, as the center of the piece. So first I outlined them with chain stitch, then filled in all the little veins with backstitch. That left a bunch of little empty squares in the wings. So I took thread in pastel colors of blue, green and purple, and put a French knot in each little square, spacing them so as to get an ombre effect.

The things that like about these pieces are what ‘makes’ them. On the butterfly, it is the woven stitch, and on the dragonfly, it is all the tiny knots. I’m pretty proud of these, and I’m looking forward to enjoying them as a set when I have the last one done. Speaking of which, do you have any ideas for what insect the third piece should feature? I’ve been debating some options, but none really stand out to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Published by skirtfixation

Audrey, a mom of 9, sews and blogs at Skirt Fixation, your home for everything skirt related! There's lots of other sewing goodness too...after all can't leave the boys out of sewing adventures! She also designs and sells pattern through Project Run & Play.

18 thoughts on “Embroidery Challenge

  1. Wow this looks amazing! The level of detail is perfect. What about a beetle as the third on which the shield really seams to reflect light of the sun with the a gradually color change in the shield.


  2. Wow, this is so beautiful!! Allegra, you are super talented! I could admire these insects all day 🙂 How about a glossy garden spider in a delicate web to complete the set? Although I know spiders aren’t insects 😉


  3. Wow! These are incredible. The detail is just WOW!
    I like the thought of a praying mantis to go with the other bugs since they all have really special qualities about them… if not, then a japanese beetle aka june bug because those irridescent colors would be gorgeous in embroidery.


  4. Oh, wow, that butterfly is just gorgeous! I love the weave stitch you used- it looks like tapestry. I’ve never seen it before! I love how the dragonfly wings look almost iridescent too!


  5. These are brilliant! My favourite is a bumble bee! It goes well with children’s clothing, too.
    I am so glad you showed a close up of the butterfly. I thought it had to be something like weave stitch, but wasn’t sure. You have a real talent of making something your own and not just a copy.
    Sandy in the UK


  6. What beautiful work! You have done an amazing job, and I am blown away by the detail in each insect. I think ladybugs are fun, maybe you could make one of those.
    -Bridget 🙂


  7. WOW-WOW-WOW!!! Great job! Maybe I will take up embroidery when I’m done raising babies! Here at this house, we are partial to ladybugs… but the other suggestions above would be exquisite, and better match your exceptional talent! ❤


  8. Allegra, these are so gorgeous! They are so incredibly detailed and so impressive. I was thinking a lady bug would be fun for the third part in the set, but I like the other ideas you’ve gotten in the comments, too.


  9. Your embroidery is beautiful – I’ve looked at both of these exquisite “bugs” for a long time & love the detail! I would vote for the lady bug, for one b/c of the totally different shape it would bring to complete your set or three-some. Your stitching is truly as artistic as if you held a paint brush instead of a needle. 🙂


  10. You are really good! I love these, especially the weave stitches in the butterfly. I have used darning stitches to create “embroidery” on clothes, the look is similar when using weave stitches. Great work!


  11. Oh WOW!!! I had to REALLY study that butterfly to determine that it WASN’T machine embroidered! I’ve never seen the weave stitch – I really like it, AWESOME, AWESOME JOB!!!!!


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