Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Sewing And Digital Embroidery

For this assignment, we were told to make three things through sewing and embroidery: drawstring bag, a simple patch, and one slightly modified creation from an approved pattern.

I was really nervous about this assignment, due to the fact that  have no experience with sewing or embroidery in the past.  However, once I started using a sewing machine, I felt much more confident.

For the drawstring bag, we simply followed the instructions and created a bag with an interior lining using the sewing machines. I didn’t really have any problems.

The second deliverable was a simple embroidery onto canvas.  I decided to embroider the Pokémon Company logo. We used Inkscape to convert the image into a vector image. We had to make sure that every part of a different color was ungrouped as an individual step of the embroidery.  We then ran the vector image through PE Design in order to determine how the embroidery would be made.  Finally, we used the embroidery function of the sewing machines to make the embroidery.  One of the eyes was slightly distorted, but it, overall, came out well.

For the final deliverable of this assignment, we were to sew a piece from an approved pattern, while incorporating an embroidery using at least four colors of thread.  I decided to make a Shiba Inu Cube Plush.  For a personal touch, I decided that I would embroider wings on its back.  Unfortunately, that would mean that my embroidery would only have two colors.  Due to that, I made the decision to not only embroider wings on its back, but also embroider its entire face.

Face Embroidery Design

I was worried that it wouldn’t be possible to embroider the face due to size limitations, but there was a sewing machine capable of an embroidery of this size.  I used pink thread for the tongue, black thread for the eyes, nose, mouth and outline of the wings, white thread for the wings, and a cream thread for the muzzle, eyebrows and (due to a lack of forethought) part of the eyes.  Naturally, there had to be some malfunctions, such as a needle breaking, running out of bobbin thread, etc.  Luckily, the staff was able to help me fix these problems.  After the embroideries were completed, I traced the pattern to determine where I need to cut and began cutting and sewing.  I would say the worst step was the first part that I needed to sew, which was the inner legs to the bottom.  Sewing those four inner legs alone took an hour for me to complete.  From that point on, I followed the pattern to sew the rest of the pieces.  Unfortunately, I got so absorbed into sewing the pieces together that I forgot to take any pictures until I had practically finished the body, leaving a small hole to turn the plush inside out and stuff it.

Plush After Stuffing

Once the plush was stuffed, I hand-sewed the hole closed using a ladder stitch.  I then proceeded to make the tail and hand-sew the end closed with a gathering stitch, as well as hand-sewing it to the body using another ladder stitch.  For my second time ever sewing, I would say it came out quite nicely.

I, surprisingly, enjoyed this assignment.  When it was decided that we would do a sewing project, I felt that I was going to do a lot of frustrating work for a product that would look absolutely terrible.  While there were times in which I was quite annoyed making the final deliverable, I did enjoy the process overall, and am happy with how it turned out.  There definitely could be improvements made.  For example, on close inspection, it is easy to tell where I hand-sewed on the plush.  The main way to fix that would be to simply get better at hand-sewing.  This assignment has definitely shown me that sewing isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Thanks to this assignment, I now have a new life skill.

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