Intermediate Embroidery: Explore Collage, Portraits & Embellishments | Danielle Clough | Skillshare

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Intermediate Embroidery: Explore Collage, Portraits & Embellishments

teacher avatar Danielle Clough, Embroiderer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Collage: Getting Started


    • 3.

      Collage: Planning and Materials


    • 4.

      Collage: Tracing on Dark Fabrics


    • 5.

      Collage: Paint Your Canvas


    • 6.

      Collage: Start Your Stitches


    • 7.

      Collage: Stitch Your Collage


    • 8.

      Collage: Add Beads


    • 9.

      Portraiture: Prep Your Materials


    • 10.

      Portraiture: Trace Your Reference


    • 11.

      Portraiture: Start Your Stitch


    • 12.

      Portraiture: Add Dimension


    • 13.

      Portraiture: Final Details


    • 14.

      Finishing: A Seamless Patch


    • 15.

      Finishing: Lace Your Work


    • 16.

      Finishing: Frame Your Work


    • 17.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join embroidery superstar Danielle Clough for a two-hour deep dive that will take your sitch work to the next level!

Advancing in your embroidery isn't just about technique; it's also about discovering and honing your creative voice and style. Just ask embroidery artist extraordinaire Danielle Clough. After laying down the basics in her first class, Danielle is back to take your stitching and creativity to the next level. Drawing on her years of experience, Danielle breaks down three intermediate techniques-portraiture, creative exploration through collage, and embellishment-that will elevate your favorite hobby to an art form.

Grab your embroidery thread and get ready to:

  • Add incredible dimension and detail to portrait embroidery
  • Explore your creative freedom through abstract embroidery
  • Learn how to properly trace on dark fabrics
  • Embellish your favorite article of clothing with a seamless patch

Plus, Danielle shares how to finish and preserve your work to make sure it survives the test of time.

By the end of this class, you will have leveled up your stitching, refined your creative voice, and learned methods to finish and preserve your embroidery. Whether you're creating for yourself or working toward your gallery debut, Danielle's class will elevate your creative eye and leave you with new techniques to use as you continue to build your embroidery skills.


This class is for intermediate to advanced embroiderers with a solid understanding of stitching and thread. If any part of this class seems beyond your skill level, check out Danielle’s first class where she lays down all the basics.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Danielle Clough



 As a photographer-designer-vj-embroiderer, Danielle Clough has lived a life forever bound to the hyphen.

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa (and referred to as “Dee” by those who know her), Clough completed her studies in art direction and graphic design at The Red and Yellow School before embarking on a career in visual art, digital design and thing-making.

Her combined interest in visual art, music and the South African street culture scene led to an experimental stint turned niche gig creating visuals for live music events. Using the stage name Fiance Knowles, Dee has performed with local artists Haezer, PH Fat, Hugh Masekela and internationals acts such as the Allah Las, Mick Jenkins, Cid Rim, The Black Lips and Black Sun Empire. She... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Inspiration is like this flash. It's this moment of energy that comes when you see a new material. You see a colored, you just become inundated with this excitement to create. My name is Danielle Clough. I'm an embroider from Cape Town, and I sew for a living because I love the culture and the history of thread and indulging in color. You may have seen my work online. I'm on Instagram as fiance_knowles. I have also been featured on various platforms like this is Colossal, CNN, the New York Times. Today we're going to be doing a lesson on abstract embroidery through collage. This is a lesson that going to teach us to really experiment with different materials, textures, and stitching techniques. Then we're going to learn how to do portraits. Really focus on all the things that I've learned about portrait to create really captivating and emotive images. We're going to be learning how to create a seamless patch out of our smaller embroidery. How to apply this onto clothing and how to finish how works in various frames and lacing. This class is a level up from the previous plots because it's not just about finding the tips and the trick from the basic ways to get to an outcome. But it's really about the creative process, finding your own voice and then create work that you're taking seriously to finish it and can just be kept forever. I'm really excited to start this class not only because I learned through teaching, but also to see what you guys creates in response. We've got all of our materials, let's get started. 2. Collage: Getting Started: We're going to start off with abstract embroidery. You're going to be creating your own collage, making the work completely unique to you, to your own style and your own way of working. Abstract embroidery is non-representational and non object-based artwork. It uses color, texture, and shape to produce its effect, and it's not a visual representation of reality. What's beautiful about this is that we don't have to create something that's perfect. It releases us from the pressure of thinking that it has to look like something. It gives us so much space to just create. It's in that process of just creating and making where we learn the most. Here's an example of a collage that has been put into an embroidery. It's just using different prompts that I gave myself from looking around the house, different feelings I've had, and then finding a way to translate it into embroidery and just interpreting areas. This collage was made from a cooking magazine. You've got a whole set of Ps, which is a great reference to French knots. What now looks like an undersea world was actually once a cooking book. This is a way of showing you that what you create and what you put down isn't going to get you stuck in what it's going to turn out to be. Through this process, I've learned things like how lighting effects works if you're using it in different directions, different ways to bead and other ways to use French knots with a variety of different materials. The first part is we're going to create our collage. We want to do this with our embroidery hoop in mind. I'm going to use one of these beautiful DMC hoops. They're really sturdy and I love their shapes. They're the only hoops I know that come in different shapes. The first thing you want to do is prep your hoop. Because the hoops are wooden, they do tend to have slightly off shapes. This happens with all bamboo hoops. What I like to do is when you get it, it fits perfectly. With the side that you're not going to use, which is your backside, I like to just create a small little pencil line at the top and at the bottom so that I can always make sure that I realign the hoop in the right way so that it fits nicely without any gaps. Now you've got your hoop and you know exactly which way it's going to go. We're going to take it apart and make sure that we're using the right section of the hoop and we're designing for that. We want to design for the inside of our outside hoop. What we're going to do is we're going to take our hoop and put it down and trace a line around this. This way we don't create a collage that sits outside of our display hoop. Now we know that this is our collage area. If you want to make sure that it's centered, what you can do is you can fold your paper in half, holding it up to the light, which we've done in the beginner's embroidery class. You can fold it in half so that you know exactly where your center point is. Now I know this is my center point. I'm going to do it the other way and create a crosshair. This is of course, if you want to make a central embroidery, if you want to do something like this which comes from the edge, you've got your hoop mapped out and you just fold your collage from the side that you want to see. Now we have our piece of paper and we're going to take a magazine or scrap pieces of paper, anything that you have lying around and start cutting out shapes. If you like geometric shapes, cut out squares, triangles, whatever feels natural to you. If you want some prompts, you can look around and you can see. I've got this really beautiful '70s urn. Maybe I'm going to cut a shape out that looks like that. I flipped through this magazine and I found a few colors and textures that I thought were really beautiful. I loved these blues over here, which I thought were really nice. At the back, all these jellyfish, which are also just beautiful. If you think about it and you think about different threads and different ways of sewing, if you find things that have really nice gradients, that's really nice for color blending. If you find different textures. This texture over here, this water with these lilies, just instantly makes me think of French knots. I love this green as well. Cut this out then we can really make something interesting with them. If you're struggling to find things to cut out or something to help you along the way, I find that prompts are really helpful. One of the prompts I used is think of a shape in your home. Using the urn behind me. I also love the Norman shape windows that come in fireplaces. I've cut out these. I think of them as windows or archways or rainbows. Another prompt which is really interesting is thinking about how you feel. Feelings have shape and color and texture to them. This morning I woke up and I felt pretty nervous. I think of nerves as being these fluid but erratic, bumpy shapes. I've cut out my nervous feelings over here in pink. I love these bananas. I thought that the yellow was great. Another prompt that you could use is something on the horizon. That can be a sun, a bird. I looked on the horizon and I saw a street light. I cut off the street lights and I found this really beautiful pink texture. I think this is a reed, but I love this color. That can sit behind the street light and it takes its own life. Now this looks more like a flower than it does a street light. You can think about your favorite song, just even looking at floral textures or floral shapes. Here I found this is a piece of an anemone, but cut out just looks like a petal. I also decided to do something floral, so I just have a flower. Because abstract embroidery is non-representational, it doesn't actually live in reality, which means it doesn't have to be perfect to set up. The snake doesn't have to be in one piece. Everything can sit where it is. These bananas, I don't have to stitch these yellow. These can be shapes as opposed to representing this object. There's so much freedom that comes with that. These things are just guidelines for you to use to explore the materials that you have and to explore different ways of creating shapes and forms. I'm going to start putting this together. I liked the idea of having the urn and seeing the snake I imagine the snake coming out of it. In this process, start looking at your pieces and thinking about stitches that you enjoy. I don't really use cross stitch, but these scales of this snake is really interesting. I'm thinking maybe in this place that's where I'm going to explore cross stitch. It might be something that becomes quite interesting to me. I've been playing around and moving my pieces of paper, and this is the composition that I've come up with. I got a little bit carried away and I accidentally went outside of my framework. But I can just pop my hoop here. Yes, I'm still golden. I'm going to just glue down my last little bits. I'm going to put my snake over here. These three little dots are going to go over my urn. It doesn't really register as an urn, which I like because that's part of the abstract way of doing things. It doesn't have to look like anything. In fact, it shouldn't. I got my little leaves I'm going to put on the side here. Even looking at this, these aren't the colors that I want to use. But that's okay because this is just a base. Now what we're going to do is to turn this into a pattern that then gets transferred onto your fabric. So very simply we are going to put down a piece of tracing paper. We're going to take a piece of tape just so that our pattern doesn't move and placing it over here so it's like a book, and we're going to trace our collage. [MUSIC] 3. Collage: Planning and Materials: We finished tracing our reference and we've chosen what fabric we're going to use. I am using this Monica fabric from DMC. It's a cross-stitch fabric which is also used for embroidery. It's got an even weave and what I like about it is it's firm but it's got a loose enough weave, that you can use tapestry wool as well through it. Because we really want to use as many materials as we can in this project. First things first, we tape out edges always because fraying like this is just a nightmare. Just folding it over the edge, [NOISE] and folding it back. [NOISE] What we want to do is make sure that our hoop and our artwork are all centered to the fabric. You don't want to put down your pattern, it's too far to the left or the right and then your hoop doesn't fit around it. Firstly, place your hoop down, [NOISE] slide your reference or your pattern underneath it. Place it where you want it to be, remove your hoop [NOISE], and tape it down again like a book. Then we're going to take our carbon paper and just slide it underneath. Now using our sharp pen we're going to transfer our pattern, all of this we know from our beginner's embroidery class. [MUSIC] All right, so we have outlined our pattern, or our collage, and we're just going to make sure that we've got all that details down. The beauty of this process is you don't have to be precious if you've gone off or the circle isn't as round as it should be, I can always fix it. We embrace the fact that it's now moved into this other thing. [NOISE] We're going to remove our carbon paper. We're going to keep our pattern as a reference for what stitches we want to use. Firstly, let's hoop our work. [NOISE] If you need a refresher on hooping your work on my first-class and so far so good covers all the bases. Now we have our work hooped. It's nice and tot, and the beautiful thing about a thicker, but an open weaved cotton is that it sits really nicely in a hoop, and always making sure you're working hoop is double lipped or you might as well be using your bamboo display hoop to work. I'm going to look at my collage, I look at my reference, these textured areas I just love for French knots, so I'm just going to write on here, little French knots. This background area I think could be really nice with a variegated thread or just gentle, subtle colors. Here I'm going to try my variegation. Such a nice way to just explore materials that you haven't used before. I'm always a little bit apprehensive with lighting effect because it is such a coarse thread that finding ways of using it by covering just blank surfaces is nice so I'm going to use maybe this archway for my lighting effects. I'm going to use stump work over here and I think I'm going to just make my own full of beads. Because I really want to explore beads, I'm going to use different beading techniques. I'm going to use one in the urn and then in this stop sign, which I think I would rather looks like a pomegranate. I'm going to put beads on the inside. I'm going to want to use some color threads blending techniques, which I'll put in over here in this petal and some tapestry wool of course, because we love the chunky wool. Maybe just coloring in with tapestry wool over here. Of course, getting the texture in the snake, which I'm really excited about, we'll do some cross stitch over here. Now we've interpreted our collage into stitches. We've identified different areas that we want to use and we've got our materials. I'm going to use everything I can get my hands on. We have lighting effects, we've got tapestry wools, we've got the mat tapestry wool, which is amazing. It's like the tapestry wool, but it's been treated so that there isn't any extra fibers nor fluff. Then we've got some variegated stitches, some etoile, which is French for star. It's an amazing cotton that's got just these little flickers of glint and shimmer in them. But it's a little bit more forgiving than the lighting effects. The lighting effects are a 100 percent polyester, so they're a little bit more course so you have to be really mindful of how you use it through your fabric. Then we've got flush. Flush is a really beautiful cotton. It's a twisted cotton and it's quite thin, it's soft, which means you've got to use shorter strands of it. Any soft cotton, whether it's a bamboo yarn, or a flush, or a natural wool, you need to use shorter lengths for it because it loses its integrity as it gets pulled through the fabric. Then we're going to use a bit of rayon. Rayon is really beautiful to use. It's also soft, so we use shorter lengths of it and it's very bouncy. I don't really like using it for layers and for color blending, but it's really great for satin stitches, so satinry for satin stitches. This is 100 percent rayon which is also a synthetic thread. Then we're going to use our tried and tested cotton strands. Obviously it comes in the six strands which we divide into different thicknesses. For this, I think I'm mainly going to be using the six strands and we're just going to be covering as much area as possible. Then of course, a tapestry wool, which is a great way to cover a whole lot of area and it gives so much texture. I love creating French knots with a tapestry wool because it really just bulks up a piece and it makes a whole lot of French knots in different colors look so natural. In greens, it's like looking at a landscape. I know that that's a mouthful so we are going to have all the resources and material links in this class. We're going to see how it comes out in our collage and then really just take it from there. Next step we're going to start with paint. Paint and embroidery is such an interesting new level to add up, there are different ways we can use paint. For this piece, we're just going to be using a basic acrylic. You can use anything, watercolors, oils. If you think about a canvas, canvas is essentially just fabric. It's a thick, like a bull denim that's just been primed and painted on, so there's no reason you embroidery fabric can't be the same. Obviously the tighter the weave, the easier it is to hold the paint and also be mindful of the density of your paint. A watercolor paints will seep into your fabric, which can create really beautiful effects. But it's not going to be the same as a thicker acrylic, which you'll have more control over. We have all our materials and next we're going to start with paint. Now we've taken our collage and we've put it onto our fabric. But I quickly want to show you how we can put a pattern onto dark fabric. [MUSIC] 4. Collage: Tracing on Dark Fabrics: Just a quick little demonstration on if you wanted to create your collage or take your collage and put it onto dark fabric. I've already started a floral abstract embroidery here. What I like using is the DMC magic paper. I'm just going to show you very quickly how we use it. It's like the tracing paper. It's a thin piece of paper and on the front of it is a sticky thin fabric. It's like a violin or a water-soluble paper, or it is actually a water-soluble paper. But what's really beautiful about the DMC magic papers is that it's already sticky. Normal water-soluble papers don't have any tackiness to them. You have to stitch it onto your fabric. It can be a little bit of warping and distortion and it can be a bit difficult to place it perfectly. Luckily with this, [NOISE] it's clear enough for you to be able to see through and you could use a light box, but I can see my shapes pretty easily here. Using a pencil, I'm going to mark out my little flower. I'm going to do it on the corner so that I save as much paper as I can. Draw directly onto the front of the fabric side of the paper. [NOISE] Then we're simply going to cut it out. [NOISE] Then we're going to peel off the front fabric to the backing paper and stick it wherever we want to on our dark fabric. What you may want to do now that it's done is just take a thin thread so I'm just going to use thin piece of cotton and just very loosely tack it into place. [NOISE] This is really nice as well for portraits because I find it quite difficult to get the detail that you need onto dark fabrics. You can use a water-soluble paper to make sure that you've got all the information that you need. Pencils can be a little bit harder to see them pins, but what you need to be mindful of is that whatever you have in your water-soluble paper, you are going to need to wash the paper away. That ink that's on your paper can get seeped into your thread. If you're using a white cotton and you've got blue pen marks, when you washing your paper away, you may get that paint into the fabric. You want to make sure that whatever you use to draw onto your magic paper is not going to seep into your cottons. [NOISE] Now that we've just tacked this down so that it's security in place. [NOISE] Making sure that these tacks are really easy to remove if you need to so they're just loose and very basic. [NOISE] Now you've got your line work done on your dark fabric without having to draw it freestyle. It's coming directly from your reference perfectly onto your dark fabric. Once you're done stitching with your magic paper all you have to do to get rid of it is simply just wash it away with a lukewarm water and really just make sure that you take your time to wash it because this is created out of a starch. The starch just needs to wash out of the fabric and then it doesn't have any stiffness or it doesn't leave any residue. [NOISE] 5. Collage: Paint Your Canvas: But I'm going to show you an example of how two different types of paint can affect fabric. Firstly, I'm going to show you with the watercolor and then with an acrylic. Using the watercolor that I have over here I'm going to paint the fabric. Really it can just depending on the density of your watercolor, it just stains the fabric and it creates a really beautiful organic look. It can die your fabric and it's just super pretty, but you don't have the same control over it as you would with something like an acrylic. I'm going to take same color but with an acrylic paint and show you how different it can be. You can almost use this as if this was a piece of paper and so straight onto it. The thicker the paint is though, remember that it does add an extra layer to your fabric. If you wanted to do heavy stitching with a light paint in the background, then using a watercolor paint is great. But with a thicker paint, you're going to be creating a little bit more layering to your fabric so it's going to be harder to get more stitches. You'll be able to get a few in, but if it's too thick it's just going to make it a little bit difficult. Think about it almost like a sheet of plastic over your fabric. The painting technique that I want to use for my collage, I want it to be a little bit more exact. I'm going to create a stencil. Taking another piece of tracing paper and layering it over your pattern, choose the areas that you're going to be cutting out to make your stencil. I'm thinking these three dots over here would be nice to cut out into having paints. Maybe the inside of the flower and one of these bananas. Looking at this now, I'm thinking the banana is look a little bit more like fire and I've been feeling like I want to use blues and pinks in this. I think that I'm going to turn this into more of like a flower or fire, so this might be a magenta. Now we have our marked out areas just taking a cross knife we just going to cut it out to create a stencil. [MUSIC] Now we've cut out a little stencil and we're going to overlay it on to our fabric. It's really easy to see where it goes and taking a washi tape secure it down. This part of the process doesn't have to be done on the hoop, but I quite like it because the fabric is quite stable. Now we're going to paint these areas. If you're going to be using a stencil, I highly recommend having a thick paint just so that it doesn't bleed underneath your top layer. Using your paintbrush, just dabbing it straight down. You don't want to be using stroke marks because again, that's going to bleed underneath your stencil. Using a stencil, we've created beautiful flat areas of painted fabric. We're just going to gently lift up at an off and we're going to wait for our paint to dry. While I do that, I'm going to go through all my beautiful materials and choose my color palette and really in this process, decide what stitches I'm going to use and what materials I'm going to use to create this collage piece. [MUSIC] 6. Collage: Start Your Stitches: We have our collage, these little textured lily pads I'm going to turn into French knots. I want to use variegated threads here. I went and collected my threads and I wasn't really feeling this color palette, so I scratched through my boxes and I've decided to use purples, blues, little bit of pinks and these really beautiful bright greens for pup. I have got them sorted out here, I'm using a whole array of different types of materials. We have A12, we have tapestry threads, we've got floss, stranded. What I love about the DMC range is that they work beautifully together. The lot of the colors match. An example of how they work together is this. If you can see here, I've got tapestry thread, I've got rounds, I've got A12 and they create such a beautiful texture when you just start playing with them and layering them. We're going to use it altogether and just see how it evolves. To do that, I'm going to start with a tapestry threats because it's nice and thick and chunky. For that we're going to need a chenille needle. Chenille needle is a heavier needle. It's got a much bigger eye, but it's got a sharp tip. Tapestry needle just is pretty much the same shape but it's got a rounded tip. We're going to start, I think we've decided we're just going to use a tapestry thread and we're just going to fill in this flower. I just want it to be chunky and bold and I'm just going to fill it in with just basic short and long stitch. [NOISE] You can just go around the edges of the paint. But if you want to stitch through the paint, you totally can. But one of the things that does happen, especially if you're using a thick needle, is that you will break the paint open. Especially, if you're using a thick acrylic. Whereas, if you're using something like a watercolor paint it seeped into the fabric, whereas, an acrylic sits on top of the fabric. Just being mindful of what needle you're using if you are working through your paint. Now I've done a little bit on the flower. I think I'll finish it just now. I just want to indulge in all the different materials so that I know what I'm using and how to use them together. I think I'm going to go with my little lamppost and just fill it in with something bright. Looking at these materials, I think I'm going to use the A12. This is a really beautiful thread to get a little bit of sparkle, but it's not like the lighting effects, which is a little bit more course because it's more forgiving and it's soft. You can use it just to cover a lot of area with short and long stitch and you can use it over itself. Whereas, with the lighting effects needs to just sit by itself. It can't really go into other threads and should always be used in the same direction. This you can go over the show with it. It does have a little bit of a crimp to it, which is really cool because it creates also its own effects with that. [NOISE] It's not as shiny as say now the satin stitches where the whole thing can create a beautiful glass, but working together it has this beautiful little glance. It's really nice for shiny texture. You just can't control it in the same way, which is really nice because it looks a little bit more organic. [MUSIC] Now we've done our lampposts flower stem, however you see it. We want to do the background. When I saw this in the magazine, I really loved this gentle, subtle color change. I really want to try and get that down onto the fabric. Then again, to just cover a lot of ground, I'm going to use some more tapestry wool to do some French knots. Where these lily pads are I'm going to do them and I think I'm going to use a variety of blues. [NOISE] If you can see, what's so beautiful about the tapestry French knots is that they're really chunky. I just wrap them around the needle twice and already you can see they've got such a high pile. I enjoy using the tapestry wool to create really dense texture. The collage is a really nice way to play with textures and to release yourself from the idea that it has to look like something. It doesn't have to look like trees. It doesn't have to look like a face. It doesn't have to look like feathers. It just has to be what feels right to you in the time when you're making it. That's why it makes it such a nice way to explore and use new materials. Feel free to also layer and put threads together that you wouldn't normally. Try do a French knot with a lighting effect and see if you like the way that it works. Try it with an A12, try it with stranded. Maybe you like doing tiny little French knots or big chunky ones, is really no right or wrong answer in this collage is just a place for you to explore all of that. The mad cotton is very similar to the tapestry threat. It is a tapestry thread. It's really great for cool embroidery and working at all different scales. It's been treated with, I think it's called a singing flame. I'm not a 100 percent [LAUGHTER] sure, but it takes away the fluff. You've got the softness of the tapestry wool and you've got the thickness, but you don't have the fluff that comes with the wool. The wool is a 100 percent wool and it's a lot more textured. You will find that once you've been working a lot it has that little fuzzy glaze which is quite cool as well. But this just doesn't have any fluff. If that's what you want, if you want something a little bit smoother, it's great to use. [NOISE] I'm going to throw in a few French knots in-between these to see how they live and look next to each other. These bananas, there are super cute, but I wasn't really feeling the yellow color palette. I've decided I'm going to use my pinks and purples to fill it in and I think it's going to look like flames. This is a really nice opportunity to use different fabrics to try different folds. This bright coral pink, I'm just going to do short, long stitch to just fill in some of these little areas. [MUSIC] I think I'm going to keep going on this area with something different. I'm going to use an A12. I really loved this lavender. As you all know, stitching can take some time. I'm just going to keep stitching on this and you just go and explore and play with colors, play with textures. I'll see you in a little bit. [MUSIC] 7. Collage: Stitch Your Collage: I've taken a bit of time, and I've got some extra stitches done. I filled one of my areas with French knots. I'll probably add a couple more textures in there. I have fold my jellyfish, I made my jellyfish pink, and now it looks like a rose. I've got the inside is a twirl and the outside is just six stranded. This is just general short and long stitch. I've got a couple of threads here because I'm going to do some thread blending here just to give one of the elements some dimension. This is just with the sixes. I notice now I'm going to go into it and refine it. I'll do the edges and using fours and twos, make that a really nice defined area in contrast with these chunky bold areas of texture with a tapestry thread. Next I'm going to just keep on going. I've got some lighting effects here. I just want to show you how to use lighting effects. Lighting effects has got a little bit of a bad reputation because it is quite coarse, and it does splits. I think a lot of people find it difficult to work with, to just have to know how to treat it. Firstly, you don't want to use a really long piece of thread, you want to keep it short, a lot like the flourish that alternative threats and your softer threads, they become quite brittle when they get worked through the fabric, and they lose their integrity. You want to make sure a, that they're not going through too many layers of thread or too many layers of fabric, so they've got their own space in the fabric and that you're not layering it over itself. We're going to use a satin stitch with our lighting effects. You can use them in two different directions, and I'll show you an example here. This is the satin stitch used in a short and long stitch, and this is it used in a satin stitch. It's got such a different effect. Here it's a lot flatter, and it's a lot more textured, whereas here you've got a lot more dimension. It's a lot easier to sew like this as well. This is the best way to get the best out of your lighting effects thread. You also want to be mindful of where your knot is, because you don't want to be going through and getting stuck in your knot with the lighting effects. You can almost hear, it's a lot more coarse when it goes through the fabric. You always want to be working in one direction. I find when you start going back and twisting the thread, that's where it starts to splinter. It's a polyester thread, so it's not as forgiving as a natural cotton. But that's also why it has such a beautiful luster and it's so nice. You can divide it as well and mix it with your cotton threads so that you can get a little bit of shine, a little bit like the E12, but with a bit more control over what colors you want. [MUSIC] Now we've done some satin stitch with your lighting effects. I'm going to do satin stitch with the rayon. Rayon is quite bouncy. It's softer than your patterns, you also want to be using shorter lengths. I usually use about 800 millimeters of thread when I'm using a cotton with your satin threads and your rayons, I use about 500. What I'm going to do, you probably like, what is that? I like using stamp work, so you can get really beautiful 3D effects by creating a layer of thicker wall. I've just used the Grey wool, and I've stitched it down here along my line of nerves or whatever my nervous shape, and I'm just going to show you how easy it is to do. You literally just laying it down with short and long stitch, and you can even keep adding to it to raise it. Because I want us to have a nice raise, I'm going to add extra stitches to the center line. Just continuously going through the threads and just layering it. [MUSIC] Now we have this chunky raised area made with the tapestry wool. I'm going to take my satin thread, and I'm going to satin stitch and wrap around that wall to create this beautifully risen area. You may want to use a needle that's got a bigger eye for the rayon because it does tend to separate. Just outside on either side of a wool area, we're going to bring your thread through and stitch over and essentially wrap it. Again, with your rayon, I also recommend always going within the same direction. That way you keep the sheen and the thread really works well together. It does sometimes feel like a waste of thread, but it works best for your lighting effects and for your satin's threats. [MUSIC] Here's an example of using the satin stitch with and without the tapestry wool underneath. Here it's satin flush against the fabric, and here's with the wool underneath. It has a completely different effect, and it has a shadow, and it creates so much depth and dimension. It's really beautiful if you want to create something graphic that has a lot of texture and just has a different look from posts and far depending on how the light falls on it. I really loved this texture when I was looking through the magazine, and it's the light of a lamp post, or maybe you can see it as a flower. I like the subtleties and change of the color. Whether I can capture that is through the variegated variation trip. I found this one, you get different levels of variation. Some of them have got strong color changes and some are a little bit more subtle. It's a really nice way to just keep filling in with one thread, but get changes in color that just have a really nice effect. This is just the same as your regular cotton, so you can keep it at 800 and cut it as you like. You can also double it up if you want or split it. I'm going to use a full six and just from the center, going in a direction, in a circle to really let us colors work well together. I'm going to fill in this top area. [MUSIC] With your variation threads, if you want your changes in color to be subtle, always make sure that you come up very close to where you've come out. I've left the fabric, I'm on the back of it here. I don't want today to be big jumps in the variation of color, so I'm just going to make sure that I come up right next to it. That way, if you can see how subtle the changes are in the thread, you'll have the same subtlety in the changes in your full stitch. I want to start playing with a little bit of the flush. Flush is a very soft cotton, 100 percent cotton. It comes in these beautiful big long hanks. If you don't manage your hank, which is a real thing, it looks like this, and it's a mess, and you're going to waste a beautiful cotton. What I'm going to show you super quickly is how to manage your hank. Firstly you've got to get it before you've pulled anything out. Don't pull at it and make sure that it's still nice and clean like this. Then you're going to take this off. Don't throw this away. You're going to use it. You want to open it up. You'll see, very gently, it becomes like a loop, and then it becomes another loop. Very dramatic, and like this. You're going to want it to be like one long strand like this. Then what you do is you take your cutting scissors, and you cut it. I like to make sure that I divide it into three, a lot of people like dividing it into four so that they're all about this long, so you have four different things, but I like making sure I can double it up. Remember that one string of flush is the same as above, a 1.5 of embroidery thread. If you're dividing your six stranded cotton, it's about 1.5 of those. I really liked making sure that I have some that I can double up, which is the equivalent of a three stranded cotton. Dividing this into three. We've got 1, 2, 3 halfway like that. I'm going to cut the top again. You've got one that's a loop, and you've got to that are long. Sometimes that happens, it's okay. Then you're going to take a scrap piece of paper, like this. You can use anything, even a receipt, any piece of paper. You're going to wrap it tightly around. Try and do it as tight as possible. Like this. You're going to twist the top so you've got like a little point, then using the piece of the holder that you had before, slipping it over and pulling it into your thread. Now it's a lot neater and easier to manage. Then just splitting the top and tying it gently. Now when I want to pull the thread out, I'm either going to choose my single thread or if I want to double it up my longer thread and just grabbing one, holding onto the top and gently pulling it out. Now, you're never ever going to waste any flush. I'm going to try stitches that are leaves, and I'm just going to be using a single-strand flush is so beautiful for fine embroidery. It's really soft, but it's also match, which is really nice for details. Pulling out my single-strand, and just gently wrapping it around again. I'm going to be just using a satin stitch here. Come to think of it because I'm a little lazy. I'm actually going to just use a single-strand to create a stem. I'm going to fill in with a double. As you know from my first lesson, I'm a huge advocate for laziness and finding ways to do things quicker and little hacks around it. I know it's not necessarily the embroiderous way and that you should take your time, but I think you've got to enjoy the process. [MUSIC] 8. Collage: Add Beads: We've got some of our stitches down. I know I'm going to be doing cross stitches with flows in here I'm absolutely loving how it looks in the silk stitches and I'm going to try getting some beads in. For beading, you're going to want to use a melanin needle. A melanin needle is a needle with the eye and the head of the needle is the same thickness as the shaft so that way it's going to go straight through the bead. You also want it to be thin because the inside of the bead can vary in size and it can be really frustrating if your needle doesn't pull through all of them. There are two ways that I like to bead and I'm going to show you both. The first way is essentially using strings of bead and coaching and I'm going to do that for the urn. In the middle, I'm going to start in the corner. I'm first going to get my long threads. I like to double up my threads so making sure that there's two lengths of it so that it's a little bit stronger because you don't want your threads to snap [NOISE] because then your beads are just going to fling all over the place. This way of beading is beading in straight lines. We're going to start in the corner, we're going to grab out some of our beads. I'm going to use these beautiful they look like an oil slick bead. Putting a whole lot of beads on a string, just going to put them down, put it to the bottom of the string and see how far across it goes. I'm going to want my beads to go from here to outside of my stop sign or pomegranates depending on how it looks once I'm done. I'm probably going to need to put on another seven or so beads, you can always just put on a bunch and take them off. I just keep them in my fingers you can get different beading techniques but I find this is one of the best ways to do it. What I'm going to do now is I'm going to take my needle and I'm going to put it right along the end of where I want it to be. Then my beads are going straight across. But obviously this is not what I want because they're loose and that's not the effect. We're going to hold them down, keeping them in place, I'm going to go roughly about two beads in, I'm going to create a little couching stitch going from one side where the line is going to be pulling it nice and tight, hopping it over, and making sure that your thread sits between your beads. Then going further down the line, we're slowly making our way back to the beginning. [MUSIC] Now we've couched all the way back. If you see here we've just got a whole bunch of little stitches that's holding down our thread and as you can see they don't go anyway. We've worked our way back to the beginning so we're going to pop up just above our line and start again. It doesn't have to be straight you can use these end-user strings of beads and couch it down in different directions. Now I'm going to show you the second technique. I absolutely love this for using a whole multitude of beads and it's a really nice way to fill and create a lot of texture. This is going to be using a whole bunch of different types of beads, it's a lot more organic that way. I've got a little red here, I'm got metallic red, I'm going to throw in a purple. Again, this is like playing with your colors and color grading. You'll see it's got a really beautiful look at the end. I like using a thread that is the same color as the beads especially if the beads have a bit of transparency, so that way the transparency in the thread doesn't really conflict and it looks a little bit more seamless. Instead of doing a string of beads that we couched down, these beads takes a bit longer but it's worth it we go one-by-one. Starting in a corner or really wherever you want to but I like starting in the corner and working my way out. You pull your thread through and you bead one. Then just coming up next to it, we do the same thing. You can go all over the show but I prefer to do it next to each other so that they're nice and compact. I'm going to use these pink beads, they're a little bit bigger than the other beads and what tends to happen when you're using beads of different sizes some of them can feel and look a little bit loose. What we do then, we just bead the true ones and then go over it again. Doing a double stitch to make sure that it's nice and tightly in place. Then we're going to just keep going and filling up this whole area. [MUSIC] When you're done with an area and you still have a better thread left, what I like to do even though it is a bit time-consuming is going back and passing through some of the beads again. This just makes sure that if the thread does snap that there's a little bit more integrity and it does catch the beads and also that they're nice and firmly in the same place. Even though embroidery is one of the most time-consuming things you can do, beading takes even more time and it's a long process but it's so rewarding because the textures and the glens and all of the life that it can bring to an embroidery is irreplaceable. I'm going to keep beading and I'll be back when I'm a little bit further along. Now we're a little bit further along. I've been playing with a lot of different stitches, I finished off this 3Ds stamp work in the satin stitch, we finished off our lighting effects. We can really see how that raised area makes a difference and the difference between the shine in the rayon and the shine in the lighting effects. The float stitches over here, I've used different techniques, they're both the satin stitch and a leaf stitch which is essentially a satin stitch that meets in the middle. We've got a really beautiful a 12 that's next to the satin and you can see how all these different threads look so different together even with the same technique. I've got some little cross stitches at different sizes in the flourish and we've just done some very basic color blending over here. We've got completely different dimensions all within the same framework. Looking at the collage and seeing how it's interpreted, we've just got such a different version of something that I would never have created if I was sitting with a pen and paper and trying to think of an idea and all of these different ways that we can use the threads. The variegation in a direction has made this beautiful swirl which I wouldn't have probably done if I was just using regular six-stranded threads and we've just got really amazing textures. You can see the effects of the straight-couched bead as opposed to the individually beaded areas. They just look so different especially using beads of different sizes. The textures are completely different. I know going forward that these are really nice ways to create flat folds or to just bring texture and life into a piece. I'm going to finish this off, the last little bit that I have to do is just finishing off the satin stitch around this tapestry wool, this foundation of tapestry wool, and I think we'll be ready to take this off and get into how to display it a bit later. [MUSIC] While you're finishing up your piece, have a look at it and really look at it and see what your work now tells you. This jellyfish is rose and my bananas now are almost like a fire or a plant like the petals of a paeony. You can really see that it's completely different now that you've taken out of context and just used your materials to help you tell a new story. It's in this process that you let go of being outcome-oriented and just let the making make decisions and do the deciding for you. I have one last thing that I'm going to do, I always like leaving myself with the last detail as almost like a treat to finish a project. People always ask how do you know when something is done? I always think you can always add and you can always keep going, so what I like to do is give myself a task that would be my final detail. My way of signing off a project and being able to know that it's done. For this project I've decided I'm going to put beads for the snake's eyes and that's going to be my way of wrapping the whole thing up. For the other side. [NOISE] Now we're done with our abstract collage embroidery and I'm going to take it off the hoop and we're going to talk about how to display this archivally a little bit later. Next step we're going to get into our portraiture lesson. [MUSIC] 9. Portraiture: Prep Your Materials: One of the reasons that portraiture is quite challenging is because proportions, and likeness are incredibly important. There are a few things to do in terms of preparing your fabric, the threads that you use, which make that a little bit easier when I create stuff that is a little bit more flexible, like flowers or animals I don't need to be as specific. We've got a lot more wiggle room to use different threads, and different fabrics, but with portraiture, and especially with getting your pattern, and your imagery done, it's really important to have a couple of things that are just done right. One of those things is making sure that your fabric is firm, and is beautifully stretched around your canvas. Because of that, we're going to be using irregular canvas, and I'm going to be showing you how to stretch your own fabric onto a canvas frame. Another thing is our reference image. It's so important to have a strong reference image. There are a few things you need for that. You need to have a high-definition image, you need to make sure that you have really good lighting with a lot of contrast, and highlights in the eyes. All of this will speak through, but firstly, let's get going with prepping our fabric. One of the most important parts is choosing the right fabric for your job. If you're wanting to do large portraits, and you're using thick threads like your tapestry walls, if you're using your tapestry thread, your math threads, if you wanting to use six strands, or multiples of six strands, then you want an open weave fabric. Your linens are great for this. Your light weave Monica are also amazing for this. Then if you wanted to do more small works that a little bit more detailed, and you're going to be using fenestrate, then cottons, and tight weave fabric or grade for that. Something like this linen would be wonderful for a big piece because you're going to be able to use layers, and layers of different tapestry walls, and different threads. Whereas if you're using a tight weave, it's going to be really difficult to create layers because you're going to be pulling wool through these really small spaces. One of the easiest ways, if you think about is think about how much space you have between the weave of your fabric, and how big you want your piece to be, and kind of co-relate them. The portrait we're going to do today is an A4, and I'd like to get as much detail as possible in it. I'm going to use this cotton. It's a fast coat cotton it's a 100%, and it's been pre-washed so that there isn't any shrinkage any natural fabric will usually get a little bit smaller by 15 to 20%, and that's going to create puckering around your work if you take it off your stretched frame, this is now been pre-washed, and I'm going to put this aside while we talk about our reference images. I've taken this photograph of my beautiful friend Lani, and we've just taken it next to a window. A window is an amazing place to do portraits because you get beautiful soft, natural light, and it's a nice way to make sure that you don't get any harsh shadows. To get an interesting work where you've got a strong variation from dark tones to midtones, to lights, you want to make sure that you've got a lot of contrast, and that comes with having a good sidelight. Window light is great. Direct light is not great because it caused really hard shadows, and what we want is we want beautiful soft transitions. Because remember, you're going to be sewing this, and you're going to be color blending these transitions together. If you're not a 100% sure what I mean by color blending, you can go back to my first-class, my beginner's embroidery class, where we cover color blending in the first basic stitches lesson. There are few things you want to make sure that your reference photo has, and the main one is highlights in the eyes. Your eyes are where your life is going to come from. Ask your subject, ask your friend to always look in the direction of the light, and making sure that you've got highlights in both eyes, and that's really where you're going to get that life in the portrait. When I take an image, I normally edit them so that there's two versions. I have a black, and white version, and I have a color version, and then just to be safe, I create another version which has a bit of sharpening to it where I get extra details. Here you can see two color versions where one has just got a little bit more detail. It's a harsh photograph, and not something I think one would like to see of themselves. But using it as a reference, we've got a lot more information. If you think about it, you have to take this image, place it onto fabric, and then recreate it. If you can't see where the eyebrows are, if it's too dark, you're not going to be able to know where those stitches go. Really looking at your image when you take it make sure that it's got a high resolution, and it's got a lot of information in it. One thing that tends to happen if you just go to a everyday printer down the road, which is what I always go to is that the regular printers lose a lot of information in the prints. I always make sure that I have a digital version as well so that I can edit it on my phone, and just up the contrast a little bit so that I can again, make sure that I can see all the information is there. If ever, I'm sewing in this reference image, and I'm not too sure what's happening within the shadows, I can go into my digital version, and I can zoom in, and make sure that I know. Okay, cool, there's a little bit of shade here or maybe there's a imperfection or mole or whatever it is that we want to get down into embroidery. Information that you need to have, and that you want to be looking for is can I see the lips? Can I see the under line of the lips? Can I see the lines around the mouth? Can I see where the eyebrows are, or are they hidden in shadows? You really want to be able to define all these areas, even if you're going to blend them into one kind of dark side of the face. You just also want to make sure that you are making those choices, and the only way you can make those choices if you have that information in your reference image. We have our reference image, and we have the fabric that we've chosen, and we need to get this fabric stretched onto something as tight as possible so that we don't get any distortion or warping of the fabric while we're working, hoops are fantastic, but obviously hoops are a little bit less permanent, they're more temporary. we're able to take our fabric out of the hoop, put it back in, move the hoop around, and work on big pieces. But this is really particular. Again, we want to be as spot on as we can when it comes to our proportions. What I like doing is I like restretching fabric over canvas frames. These canvas frames you can get at any art store, and usually they come pre-primed, and already stretched. What you need is a staple remover. I have a professional staple remover, which you can get at any hardware store, or you can use a screwdriver if you like, and we're just going to use this to remove our primed canvas. [MUSIC] Now, after a little bit of labor, we're going to remove our last staple, and take our canvas off the frame. Saintly, what we're going to be doing is just replicating this, but with our own cotton or linen. Here, I'm going to take my cotton, and I'm going to lay it down, and just make sure that I size it nicely. What you want to do is kind of make sure that you've got enough grip around so that you can pull the fabric, and stretch it. You obviously don't want it flat too much, you don't want to have it like this because this is going to get in the way, and you'll waste fabric if you're going to cut it off do it. About half a fingers length, three-quarters of a finger. I'm going to cut around the fabric. We also want to make sure that our weave is in the direction of our frame not like this because remember when your fabric pulls, we want to make sure that we have control over whether it pulls it down, and to the side, it's always better to make sure that your frame is along the weave of your fabric. Now we have our canvas frame, and we have our cotton, which is essentially going to be our new canvas using a staple gun, we're going to start at the top. Again, making sure that we're straight along the weave, we're going to pull our fabric nice, and tight. It's okay if you get these lines, and these striations in the beginning, we're going to go opposite. Then we're going to go along our width, and pulling again making sure it's nice, and tight. Right here in the middle where you've got most of your pull, you'll feel that it's nice, and tight. We want to make sure that it's like this all over the frame. Now we've got our first opposite down. We're going to go along the edge. What you can do here is you can fold your fabric, just fold it back a little bit so that you almost have a hem, and then just pop in one or two staples to keep that fold down. You can even do it on the inside of the frame over here, stapling it to swatch of your fingers so that you have a really nice, clean working area. [MUSIC] 10. Portraiture: Trace Your Reference: The first thing you want to do is to find the reference image that you're going to use. Like I said, I print a couple of different versions to make sure that I have enough detail. Sometimes it's nice to use a black and white image to do your pattern. Then that really just helps you see your mid-tones, your shadows and your highlights, and you don't get too fixated on getting the perfect areas. But I think for this portrait because of the detail that I want to get in our eye, I'm going to be using our sharpened colored image, which is this one over here. We know what our reference image is going to be, and just before we place it down and tape it down, we're going to need a support. Now we have our frame and it's all stapled and we want to use a supporting book. I've got The Culture of Knitting, which I haven't read, so I can't vouch for it, but I can say it fits perfectly in here. We're putting this down and we put on our canvas. Then we want to place our reference image where we want it. This one is really nicely placed centrally. I'm just going to put this down and tape it so that it doesn't move. I'm putting it down so that it's like a book because we're going to slide our carbon paper underneath here, but we want to make sure that everything is transferring properly so we can open it up but without shifting our reference at all. Sliding our carbon paper underneath very gently. Remember, carbon paper is really destructive, so we want to be so cautious of where we touch and how and why. I love using these technical pens. They've got really nice sharp tips. Even if they don't have ink on them, they work, because really what we're using is we're actually drawing with the carbon paper. I can use a ballpoint pen or a pencil, but obviously to get as much fine detail, I want to be using a finer pen. If you've got a thicker fabric, so like a linen or an open weave fabric, then using a ballpoint pen makes sense for the carbon paper because again, those fabrics don't take detail on as easily as your tighter weaves, like your cottons. I'm going to start putting this down gently, being very careful of where I place my hand because again, we don't want to get the carbon paper onto our fabric. I'm going to start drawing the details. Her iris, I always start with the eyes because if your reference image shifts and your eyes are off, then it's done. I want to make sure I get the underneath of her eyelid, going around her pupil, going around her iris, getting as much detail as possible. Then once we've got all our details down, we're going to look at the planes of the face because remember, light is information, so a highlight, a mid-tone, a shadow, all of that is information that we need to get done. Here we have her cheek, which I'm going to go around her cheek as a shadow, and then we're going to go around this mid-tone area, and the ball of her cheek. Just quickly, if you want to check to see if your carbon paper is working, hold down your fabric and your carbon paper somewhere and then lift it up like a flap, and then we can see already we've got a lot of information and the carbon paper is transferring perfectly. There are a few different areas of the face that are really important. One of them is your cupid's bow and the highlight above your lips. We want to map that out because it's important information. Here on the top of her lip, I can see there is this highlight. I'm just going to put that around because that might be necessary later. While you're doing this, try and remember that we really want to get the forms in the image done. It's so difficult to override our innate kind of wanting to think that eyes look like a certain way, they're round, or a pupil is a circle, but it's not. We really want to observe the information that's actually in the reference and not what we think there is. We often think, okay, well this is a round area because it's an eye, but this isn't round, this is oval, and it stops at the top and it actually cuts flat at the bottom. Again, making sure that the information that you put down is what you actually see and not what you think you see. Again, you also want to think about how light falls. So how does it fall? How is it falling? It's coming through the window and it's landing on her face, landing on a top lip and causing a shadow underneath. All of this is really important to just be mindful of and think about when you're putting the information down because you're going to need to think about that later while you're working. These lines are created through shading, they're not created by actual lines unless that's what you want, which is creating a more graphic portrait. But here, the line that creates her under chin, the definition between her chin and her neck, is actually a highlight. I'm going to define that highlight here. We can see just over here that highlight comes down her neck a little bit. What creates her neck is actually just this shading. It's this highlight, this mid-tone, and this dark area. When you get your references printed at your corner print shop or just a home printer, you'll find that in your dark areas, a lot of the information gets lost. So this is why it's really nice to have a digital version. I'm going to go into this reference image of my beautiful friend and just zooming in, and I can see, okay, there's a lot. This area that I thought was maybe a weird ear shadow is actually hair falling through. I can map that out, and I can see now through this image that this is all going through and this is a strand of hair that falls beautifully in front of her face, so we're going to map that out. Having a digital version on a phone or an iPad or even your computer close by, is really helpful in the transferring process. When you are putting your reference down, always make sure that you're aware of where that border is. Because if you're drawing onto your border, you're not going to be able to stitch there. I know my border is about this long. I could also pick it up and make sure I see. I'm just going to mark it off there on my reference. I don't go further than that, so that I don't have any drawn on lines that I can't stitch into. Now we've got most of our face down and our hair. Just the real details that we know we need to get. We're going to start going into the planes of the face. I want to start marking up my mid-tones and my shadows. Here on the side of her mouth. Again, it's so tempting to stitch this as a line, but remember it's not a line, it's just a shadow, so it's a graduation in color, not an actual line. We're going to draw that and we're going to draw the shape of that area. Kind of like to think of it as like island. Here next to her nose, I have an island of light, and then I have another island of mid-tone. When we start stitching, we're going to look at the directions of the stitch, and that really plays into how we see faces. That also comes down to the information that we're going to put across. If you're a little bit like, what do you mean by the direction of the face? Think about wrinkles. Wrinkles will lie across your forehead. They'll go around your eyes, up at the sides, down around your mouth. So we're going to stitch within that direction, and we're also going to make sure we can look at our reference image and make sure that we can see that direction, see those lines, and get that down. Here, I'm going to map out this island of light. But again, you can see it goes across her forehead because that's really how the shape goes and also how the skin moves. I want to make sure I get the highlights on her nose. It's very tempting to leave out things like moles and blemishes and freckles, but I think that's where people's personalities and expression and individuality comes in, so I'm going to make sure that I keep all of those details in. We're just putting down our last final details, looking at the lips, making sure that we've got the shadows we need under the lips. Again, you can always just gently lift this to make sure that there aren't any areas that you're going to be stitching and go like, what is that, and what is supposed to be there? Here I can see there's a whole lot of shadow area that doesn't have any information, which would be fine if I just wanted to do this in one flat color, but I really want to get more detail into this portrait. I want this one to be super special, making sure I get some detail underneath the ear and the shadows over there, mapping out the underneath of her cheek. One of the little tricks that I would love to share is that most light sources always come from the top or the side, meaning that your top lip is always going to be darker than your bottom lip. It's really tempting to make them the same color, but they never are, because again, they're at different angles and they catch light differently. Just going to get a little bit more information around the eyes, wanting to catch those highlights that sits on your eyelid. Remember, it's also so tempting to make the whites of the eyes just white, but they're not, they're balls, so the way that you would embroider a sphere, is the way that you embroider the eyes. So there's lighter area, a lighter gray area, and then a lighter kind of bluish area, and the eyes aren't white in the same way that teeth aren't white. I'm just going to make sure before I remove my reference that I've got everything down that I want down because it's going to be difficult to line it up again, and then you're going to have duplicates and it's not going to work. Just make sure you've got all your information. I can see here I've just missed a little bit around her chin, so I'm going to grab that line. Then I'm going to remove my reference. You want to keep your reference image. I use pink pens because that way it's easier to see the line work that I've done. You keep your reference because once you've started stitching, you're going to start losing the information that you've put down on your fabric. You'll see a line somewhere and you're not 100 percent sure if it's the line underneath the eye or the one underneath the shadow, so just keeping this to make sure that you can always see where that line work is. I always like to do it in pink so that I can see the difference between the line work and the reference. Removing our carbon paper. Now we have our reference, we have our beautifully-stretched fabric and our perfectly-mapped portraits, and we want to start stitching. The first thing we're going to do is gather our threads. It can be pretty daunting because there's an infinite amount of colors. I do have a live color class about how we choose our palettes, and how we can pull palettes out of the things that we love. The palette that I've chosen for this piece, is this piece of fabric that I got at an antique store about five years ago. It's so small, I don't know what I would do with it, but it's the colors in this that I just absolutely love. Using this as my palette, I'm going to start looking at what colors I want. Firstly, I'm just going to build my mid-tones, my shadows, and my highlights. I know that the first details I'm going to get down are the eyes and that's going to be in a dark blue, which is the darkest color that I have here. For the eyes, I'm going to use floss because it's really nice to use for small details. I've got this beautiful dark blue floss and I'm going to use a few rayons for the eyes because rayons have got that sheen and they really capture just brightness and a light and for her jewelry. We've got a few little rayons here, and we're going to pull out a couple of blues. We've got some really beautiful pinks and I'm going to pull out some mustards and yellows. Now I have some basic materials that are the same as my palettes. I'm going to put this away because I don't want to get too caught on replicating my palette. But I know I've got deep blues for my shadows, I've got pinks and browns for my mid-tones, and I've got mustards and yellows for my highlights. We've got all our materials and remember if you want to know more about color values and applying different tones to different areas, we've got that all in a live class on Skillshare. You've framed up your piece, go ahead, gather up all your materials, and we're going to get stitching. 11. Portraiture: Start Your Stitch: We're going to start with the eyes and I know that this is the most daunting part and most people just want to get into the hair and the face and not actually have to get their teeth into insert because it's difficult. It's really difficult and there's a lot of pressure. The reason we have to do the eyes first is because once you start stitching around it, you are going to lose that detail and you want to be able to get as much done as possible. We don't have to do everything, we don't have to make it perfect, but we do need to map out and do our basic stitches. Because also when we work around it and when you start working on the eyes, you do tend to slightly pull the fabric in and it does make the eyes smaller. So if you're working everywhere else, there's going to be a distortion in the fabric because of your stitches, your eyes are going to move into strange places and you're not going to have the line work there that you need to actually make an accurate portrait. Firstly, we are going to take our darkest color that we're going to use and I'm going to use the flush. Flush has a thickness of 1.5 of stranded floss. When we're doing our details, we're going to want to use thinner flosses first and again, it's just putting down that information. [NOISE] Don't do this where you just cut into a hunch, but I'm going do it because I'm living. Because we're using a small thread and quite a tight weave, we don't need to use our thick needles. Here we have the DMC3, to knit I'm going to use around a five. Again, you don't need to be too particular about what needle you use, just making sure that it works with your thread, with your fabric and with you. Looking at my reference, I'm going to identify my darkest lines. We have the eyelashes, we've got the iris, and Lonnie's beautiful blue eyes have got this dark ring around it. I'm going to put all of that in there. Then I'm just going to add this little trough here by the tear duct and again on the other side, making sure always you're observing your reference. We're going to start stitching the detail. You also want to make sure that you're mindful of the tension of your stitches. Even though this is really tightly stretched, you can still create distortion if you pulling and puckering your fabric by making your stitches too tight. [NOISE] If you find you've created a long stitch that doesn't have enough curvature to it, like here I don't want to put down too many stitches to create that curvature. I want to just put down one. You can do a long stitch and then using a small stitch couch it down. This is just a basic embroidery stitch that we covered in my first-class beginner's embroidery. [NOISE] I want to get the top eyelid, making sure that I get that line. We're also doing this with a nice thin thread so that if you want to go over that line, it's going to be easy. I'm going to move on to the second eye. When you're putting details in an area like an eye, what you also want to be careful of is where you place your knots. Again, I'm going to make a knot and I don't want to place it in the iris because if I'm going to be layering over it to make sure that I've got good detail. If I have a knot there, it's going to get in my way. I'm going to look for another area that's not as important if that makes sense, a little bit further away. I've identified just this dark area above in her eyelid and that's where I'm going to place my first stitch making sure that my knot isn't anywhere near the eye and places that are going to require a lot of detail and layering. [MUSIC] Now we've got a bit of an outline. I also want to make sure that I have the information for the highlights because it's not just the dark lines that creates depth and create detail, but it's also the highlights. Just using a light like blue, I always find that white can be a little bit stuck. If you do feel that you want a white highlight, you can use it a bit later. You can use it at the end. I'm just going to use two strands. Again, the highlight is really in the most important part of the eye. I'm not going to put my first stitch in the eye. I'm going put it a little bit here. You can see where the nose has got a strong highlight. I'm going to use that to also put down the line for the nose and then I'm going to jump in there. [NOISE] There's quite a strong highlight here, just in the trough or tear ducts. I'm going to throw that in here just with this really light blue, it might be a little bit too bright, but we can also go over it with a stitch later, but it's just so that we have that in the right place. [NOISE] Now for the color of the eye, it's very tempting to do one color for the eye because if somebody has blue eyes you just imagine the whole thing is blue. But again, we're thinking about lights and how light falls and the top of your iris always is a little bit darker because of the shadows of your eyelids. We're going to use a light blue rayon, I love this rayon. It's so amazing in the sun. We're going to use that just for the bottom where the light is catching her eyes and then after that we're going to use just a slightly darker blue. The rayon is really beautiful as well because it just reflects light, so amazingly, and I think that's just really adds to the life that gets put into the portraiture. [MUSIC] Here we have the foundations of the eyes. It looks a little strange at this point, but when we start building around it, you'll really see how it just shapes up and starts to come alive. We'll get into the details and really make those eyes pop at the very end. But at least now we know exactly where everything is and that's not going to get lost. Now we've placed down just the beginning of our details stitches. We've got a little bit around the eyes, we've got the whites of the eyes down. We have the lips, we've just got a base color, the line and the nostril and the shadow behind the nose. Now that we've got this, we want to really get down our base layer and this is really fun. I'm going to be using a full six strand. If your portrait is smaller then you'd be using a four or a three. But because this is quite a nice sized portrait, then we're going to use a six strands and like we do with our color blending in the first-class that I've given, we just want to really just get as much down as possible. We're going to try and identify the planes of the face and what hues and values we are going to assign to it. With my reference that I have here, I'm going to look at my cheeks and that's obviously my darkest tones are going to be inside the shadows here. Then we have our highest tones, which are these highlights which pick up on the forehead, the highlights on the nose and above the mouth. I think what I'm going to do is I'm going to start with these brown and master tones, which are like my mid tones. I'm going to start placing them here in the cheeks and on the forehead. From this point we're just going to keep adding in these values on the sixes before we start refining and then tightening it up with our details again. At this point we're just going to start filling in the plains and quite a flat way. We've identified our values, we've identified our tones, and we're going to put the colors down and quite as just open, strong flats way. Then after this, we're going to blend it together with our color blending technique. What's important at this point is to start working within the direction of the skin and the direction of the face, like we did in the beginning when we were mapping the work, we are identifying which way the skin moves. Again over the forehead, think about wrinkles. We get forehead lines like this. So the stitches will move within that direction. Around the eyes, the eyes are really the center points down the nose, the nose is down. Using that direction that we innately understand we're going to use our stitches in that way. What I did is I felt that value that I used wasn't right. I also want to be using more pinks in my shadows. I think I'm going to go for a more pinky pink, which is a little bit closer to my palette reference. Another little trick to know when you're doing a portrait is the neck is always darker than the face. Usually because it sits underneath the shadow. It has a different quality than the face. You also don't want the neck to take center stage, if that makes sense. So always just making sure that your neck doesn't have as much detail as your portraits, and that it is a little bit darker than your face. [MUSIC] 12. Portraiture: Add Dimension : We're a little further along in the process of layering down our six stranded cotton. This is quite a strange phase because we're starting to see the form, we're starting to see the color palette, but it doesn't really feel like it has the depth that we needed to have and this is because the color blending process needs to come in next. Fortunately for us, we still got our detail for our top lip, and around the eyes, that's why it's so important to get it done in the beginning and the details on the line work that we had before is now lost. But that's okay because we know we've used our eyes lens. This section over here, we can see we've put down over here. Underneath the eye is this light pink. This nose, we've got the bridge of the nose. We're also using those as guides to with our next shading and details are going to go. We're going to start using fours, threes, our flushes and different threads to start blending and give up that depth. I'm going to look in-between this blue and this dark pink, I probably want to say, I'm going to blend it with some dark pinks in a three and maybe another blue just to give it a little bit more interesting color depth. I'm going look for a really nice dark pink. Here we have a 3350. If you are using these bobbins and you do like to keep track of your number, one of the things that I do is I keep the DMC taped and just put it inside when I wanted the bobbin. That's really nice just to keep track of your color threads. For the most part, I just choose colors by eye that it is really nice when you're working on long projects and you need to make sure that you have consistency within your colors. I've got this dark pink and I'm going to be moving this brown into the pink back and forth to create better shading. When we're doing our portraits and especially at this level, this again is where the direction is so important. Being mindful of the direction of our threads, being mindful of the direction of our skin, everything natural has a direction. If you think about wood grain, it all moves in a certain direction. The veins of a leaf, everything natural has direction. Whenever you're stitching and sewing anything, I always recommend looking at it and really observing and seeing what that direction is. The beautiful thing about working with portraiture and working with different thicknesses and with the stranded threads is that different areas of the face are going to need different density of threads. Like I said before, with the neck, the neck is important, it hold her head, but [LAUGHTER] in this context it doesn't need that much attention and it's not a focus. We can use our big bold sixes, maybe a couple of fours to do our gradients to get our colors together. We don't need to really refine it the way that we do with an eye. An eye is where we have our focus, and the mouth is where we need our focus and our detail. It's in these areas that we'll be using our ones and are twos and really working in the life of the embroidery and the life of the person. Just here around the fore head, the cheeks, I'll be using fours. When we get to the eyes, I'm going to be using more 1s, 2s, and 3s. I'm always so nervous when I work around the eyes because you always just like [NOISE] am I going to put it in the wrong place and lose detail and lose line work that I needed to really get it right. But the only way you can get it right is by doing it and to keep going. Looking at my first works and then looking at what I'm able to produce now it's only through making that you get better. Don't be too scared and just know that everybody gets a little bit nervous when it comes to high pressure stitching. In areas like this where we don't have a straight line, it's so attempting to draw a line, but we need to create this definition. But without the line we use shading. Here I've got my big sixes that have created my highlights area and then by creating that line, I've just used my mid tones. We can start using lighter colors to refine that and torn it up or torn it down depending on what feels right to you and what is closer to your reference. I'm going to take this peachy pink. I'm going to split it into three. I'm using this to create a little bit more of a refinement in this area, but still keeping that change in color which creates that line. Now we're blending this area down to that. There is definition, but there is still definition between the different planes but there is a clear gradient from one color to the other. I'm going to continue working on this for a little bit and we'll be back when we're closer to the end so we can get those final details in and really show how to bring it alive with those last stitches [MUSIC] I'm nearly done with this. As you can see, I've used thicker threads in the neck, so we've got a lot of sixes and fours here. Getting closer to the eyes, inside of the nose and around the mouth. We've got a lot of ones, twos, and a couple of threes, by getting a lot of detail in those areas that need focus. I've left it quite thick and chunky because again, I don't really feel like it needs that much attention and also I don't want it to detract away from the eyes. But what I think would be really nice is to get these highlights and earrings so that that has a little life to it and then also putting in a little bit more dimension to her necklace and finishing off her eyes and lips. For the hair, most of the hair is in a dark area. I've used different shades of this blue to just fill in all of this because hair is shiny, it's always going to have a place where it has a highlight and where the light reflects off it. That will usually correlate with the highlights on the skin so here we can see it's in line with her forehead and it's right here at her middle parting. I've just added in some mustards and some blues to show that it's a different light to this dark area where most of our hair is. But what we're going to do is to refine that a little bit. We're going to do some thread blending to just really give it some detail and some more texture and depth. To do that, I'm going to use a needle with quite a big eye because it's a little bit more forgiving, and I'm going to look at what kind of colors I'd like to put in here. I'm going to go for a cyan blue, another light cyan. I'm going to get a mustard to match this and something a little bit lighter. I'm thinking of even using one or two strands, perhaps just a single-strand of flush. I'm also going to look at the off cuts. Here I've got beautiful orange. I'm going to take this and I think I'll use just one strand of this. Let me separate this property. There we go. Maybe just for a little bit of extra luster, I'll use a single-strand of the rayon. Remember that the rayon is actually known as satin thread, but I call it rayon just so that it doesn't get confused with satin stitches. Now I have a single-mustard and the coding strand. I've got a single-strand of rayon and I've got a strand of flourish. This would equate to about 3/2 strands because remember your float thickness is about 1/2 of the same thickness as your regular stranded cotton. I'm going to snip it so that they're all the same length and let this through the same needle. Then cutting it so that all three of them are the same length and knotting them. Now essentially we've made our own colored thread. This is amazing way to get lots of texture, especially if you're doing things like beads. I'm going to put this into the front of her hair, over here. Looking at this, I'm feeling like maybe the flourish is a little too thick to get that really fine, hair feeling so I'm just going to go and using a mid tone mustard color to create using single strands, I'm going to try and blend it in a little bit better. Really the detail around here is so much nicer because just with two different thread motions, I've got a rayon, I've got a flourish, and I've got a single-stranded mustard cognitive rate that it's coming in and it starts to feel like hair quite quickly. I'm going to try the same technique just to remember where her hair came over here and into this highlighted area. Single-strand of dark blue and I'm going to get, I think, probably a brown which we'll pick up from up here and then I'm going to move a through here. We really just get the highlights in more texture in the hair. I think just leaving this bold and blank is really nice graphically, but making sure it still looks like hair in the highlights. We're turning this area which was a little bit stuck initially down and making it more textured by using this thread blender technique. [MUSIC] 13. Portraiture: Final Details: To get the last details in, we're just going to focus on the eyes. I've made so many mistakes where I have left the eyes till the last minute, and it becomes this little island of warped fabric and I have no idea what I'm going to do. You just put in all of this work, doing all those background and texture and thinking about what colors go where, and then you get to the eyes, and you're like, "Oh, what am I going to do?" But now because we've got all that information, then we're really just going to refine it and put it in the last details. What I've left out is these areas at the top here and a little bit of the shading around in the whites of the eyes. Instead of doing a dark blue, I'm going to be using this red brown, just to see if it gives a little bit more of an interesting colorway. I'm just using a two because again, the tighter the detail here, the more interesting this area of the eye can be. Great exercise to do just in your own time when you're scrolling through a magazine. Just to get your mind into recognizing the details in eyes, and the details and the lights of eyes is try and see what the light source is. If you look in a magazine, you'll see a model, and you'll see if there's a ring light in there, which will be a circle, and just really seeing how that plays in both the color of the eye, how the highlight sits on top. In this example, the highlight is sitting on the top here, but you'll see there's also a lighter, little, gentle, semicircle that sits in the bottom of the eye that catches the light as well. All of those very subtle variations in color is what's going to make it look alive. Now, for a little bit more information done with the eyes, and I've realized if I put anything lighter than this blue, it's going to look like another highlight, which is not what I want. This blue is the color that I want to be the lightest color of the iris. I'm going to find a color that's slightly darker than that, and I'm going to put it around. Because this is quite a detailed, difficult area and I want to be as accurate as possible, instead of using two strands, I'm going to use one strand and rather layer it, then have two strands and wish I had one. [MUSIC] Because I didn't want to detract from the portrait, what I did was I just did the outline of a close with a very simple backstitch in a folded over flush, so essentially a three-strand. The nice thing about flourish, it's got luster, but it's not too reflective. It just makes a very beautiful subtle line. I'm going to add a little highlight here to the earring, I don't want the earring to have too much detail because I don't want it to take away from the portrait, but I do want it to have something so that it's got a little bit of definition, and it makes the portrait a bit more interesting. Then after that, we're pretty much done. It's quite a nice process, is at the end to take just a single strand of a light cotton, like your whites, which is always the most daunting thing, but it does bring life and do like a single pass over of your work. I've just picked up a highlight and the lips that I feel was missing over here, just underneath the nose, it could do with a little bit more definition, [NOISE] and just here along the bridge of her nose. [NOISE] As a last stitch, I'm going to create slightly stronger highlights in the eye. [NOISE] A highlight in the round, of the white in the iris. Very small highlights at the bottom of this iris. [NOISE] A little bit more in the top highlight, and just here in the white. Remember we never put down any details, and we didn't use any white on the eye because we've avoided that until this moment. As soon as we pass just a little bit of white through almost the same, if you can imagine your eye as a ball, and the part of the ball that is closest to you will be picking up the light. I'm going to just do one line across the white ball and one next to the iris. [NOISE] That just gave her eye a little bit more definition, and a little bit more roundness. I think we can tie this off and call it done. We finished our portrait, we've taken our photograph, we've chosen our color palette, we've stitched it and little bit later on I'm going to show you how you can make sure that you display it so that it's safe and strong forever. The next class is how to make a seamless patch. [MUSIC] 14. Finishing: A Seamless Patch: I'm going to show you a few ways on how to finish your work. The first way I'm going to show you is how to create a seamless patch. This is a nice way to take your embroidery and to put it onto clothing or bags or shoes or anything like that. You've been working on a few different embroideries, and some of them are going to be better for creating patches than others. The reason we would create a patch separately than sewing directly onto the clothing is because some clothing is quite thick. For example, on a hat like this. This hat is made out of bull denim, so I'm not going to be able to get the same depth and texture, and details as if I'm working on a calico. Here you can see the different details that are captured by sewing directly onto the fabric or creating a patch. I couldn't get the same amount of detail that I needed in these guys' little eyes and in their ears and they paws if I was sewing straight into this fabric, It's a stretchy fabric which is a little bit problematic to get detail because it can packer when you're really doing type find work. Here, you can see this is stitched directly into the denim. Whereas this is a seamless patch. One of the reasons the patches are also nice is there isn't as much weight behind the fabric. If I invert this, you'll see how little stitches are actually used to put the patch onto the fabric. If I was creating this work directly onto the fabric, it would be really bulky at the back. When you're thinking about clothing, you don't want a lot of threads and knots sitting on you. Also, that very easily can open up, and then your work and just unravel. Some embroideries are going to work better than others to make a patch. Because when we cut it out, we need to wrap the fabric behind. If you've got a lot of jagged edges, it's going to be difficult to get the fabric wrapped behind your embroidery. Something like this around his ears would be possible, but if we're looking at these jagged edges, it's going to be so difficult to get that detail. What we want to do is make sure we choose an embroidery that's a little bit more fluid. Something like this, that is rounded around the edges. Or like I'll never again sweetheart, which we're going to use it as our patch for our hat. The materials that I'm going to use, are the things I've been using are ready to embroider. I always make sure that I keep my threads when I'm splitting. I wrapped it around the top here so that I didn't lose them because it's the colors that you've used in your embroidery that we're going to use to create the seamless patch. Now we're going to take our embroidery of the hoop. [NOISE] I've just got a little bit of sharp fabric scissors and I'm going to cut around the edge of my embroidery. This is always a little bit daunting. Just for safety, you can use something like an erasable pen. Just about a quarter-inch or 1.5 centimeters, draw an outline. Now we've cut it out. What we're going to be doing is we are going to be folding the edges back, as you can see when you're folding it back, and if you are folding it in different areas, It overlaps. One of the ways to help that is just in a few places usually around like where there's going to be indentations, we're just going to cut up to the embroidery. [NOISE] A little bit further along, we'll cut there and we will cut there. We're just going to stop for this area [NOISE] and we're going to fold it back. Just test it out. That's how we want it to look, seamless like that. Identifying the colors in that area, we're going to take a thread. I think I'm going to start out with a two, and to see how much detail that takes up [NOISE]. Holding this thread back, we're going to stitch from the back. Of course, as always, we want to tack down that fabric. Going along the edges, but in a way that is erratic like your stitches so that you can't see which stitches it is that are holding down your fabric flap. Then you may want to use one or two little stitches that wrap around the edge. Like that. Just to hold it down a little bit more. We're going to be doing this in a variety of colors so that you can't see the edges. Just making sure that it's all tacked back. Because I don't want to spend time rethreading, I'm going to move over here with the same thread. Just essentially putting in more detail into the embroidery. [NOISE] Going to score a little bit over there, fold [NOISE] this over and start stitching it down. Now I'm going to get into this side trying to find a thread that matches. This one's already split because I was using it earlier. As you can see here because we've just been handling the work a little bit and the fabric is cut in different directions, the fray is just happening really quickly. That's why you want to just do this in one sitting. I'm going to try get this done before we lose any more of that thread. When that does happen, what you can do is tack around the edges almost like in that blanket stitch manner, just to make sure that none of those extra threads stick out [MUSIC]. Adding the last few stitches on the side here. I'm just tacking this down and every now and then, like I said, just rolling around the edge just making sure that fabric is tacked backwards. Here we can see at the back what it looks like. All your fabric is tacked in. What I can also see I've done is, my knot is right at the edge with this little extra tail. I can either cut that off. But I think what's going to be a little bit smarter, because if you cut too close [NOISE] and the knots unravels, then it's going to unravel [NOISE] all of that work that you've done. I'm actually just going to like we've done in the portrait, create the last little stitch. I'm going to put this in making sure the knot is not near the edge. One tiny, tiny little stitch that can hardly be noticed. Then I'm going to tack that tail down. Then again, finishing up, just tacking underneath one of your stitches at the back so that your knots are not near the edge so that those tails don't hang out [NOISE]. There we are, a seamless patch ready to adorn your clothing. The next section is taking your seamless patch and putting it onto your item of clothing or your bag or whatever else it is that you're looking to embellish. Finding the pace that you want it to be. I want it to be front and center of this little hat of mine. What I'm going to use is just one little dressmaker's pin and put it in place. It's super tempting to just go around the edges and for it to be over. But it's really important to do this properly. It's a little bit more time-consuming, but what we're going to do is we're going to almost stitch it down but from the center working our way out that way we don't have any bubbles and the patch doesn't warp or distort onto the fabric. Identifying what colors we have in the center here. I'm going to choose this light green. [NOISE] I'm going to use a thicker needle because this is quite a thick fabric, so it's just easier to move through. Starting from the center of my work, I'm going to be doing small little stitches working my way out. Because of the nature of how the embroidery is, which is really textured and lots of different colors, these stitches are invisible because they just look like they're a part of the artwork. The difference between doing bigger and smaller patches, really just making sure your threads are invisible. The best way to do that is to make sure that you're using the same color, the same thickness, and working within the same direction that the artwork was already embroidered into. Now I've secured most of the middle. I'm working my way towards the edges. When we're stitching our edges down, this is also a really good time to recover any white fabric that we can see. As I get to this edge, I can see a little bit of the white poking out. I'm going to stitch it down right close. Then using this tacking down as almost like the final stitch process, getting rid of all of that backing fabric. [NOISE] Here you can see from the inside, I've just worked in a spiral in this one color. Now I'm going to grab a different green. I'm going get the blues and the dark blue just to secure it around this side, and a few little extra details, then our patch will be exactly where we want it to be, nice and flush against the fabric. When you've got contrasting fabrics like the white with the dark, you can see that those phrases can pop out the light. In this lighter area, if it fades a bit, you probably would notice and you can even just pull it out in snippets, like over here, C1 little fray of that fabric. [NOISE] I'm just going to pull it [NOISE] out and use my snips to just trim it. There's no harm in that. [NOISE] But it can be a little bit more difficult in the dark areas with the strong contrasts. Here, with this area, I'm just taking these last stitches and I'm wrapping it over the patch into the hat right on the age there so that I know that it's secured and it's not going to flap up at all. It looks much more like it's a part of the fabric. [NOISE] There you are. You've taken your embroidery, you've turned it into a seamless patch and you've put it onto apparel. Put on. I can't wait to see what you guys make patches out of. Please share it with me and put it in the project gallery below. So up next we're going to lace our work and talk about how to frame your work archivally [MUSIC]. 15. Finishing: Lace Your Work: This lesson is about lacing and it's a really important thing to know if you want to level up your work. If you want your work to be valued and to be valuable, it has to be archival. There's certain things you need to know for your work to have worth. It already has worth, but for it to retain its worth. One of those things is making sure that it always keeps its integrity. One of the things that you need to know for that is to make sure that it stays away from moisture and it stays away from glue. Please, I've said this before, but if I can say it again, please keep glue far away from fabric. Over time it changes the color and it disintegrates. That's why we use lacing as a way to keep our work in a hoop and keep it displayed nice and tightly. Firstly, we are going to put our fabric into the hoop. When we're using a display hoop, the wood can have its own life. Like we did in the first lesson, we marked our hoop a little pencil marks, making sure that we always know how it fits best. When you get a hoop from the shops or wherever you bought it, make sure you put just gentle little pencil marks, make it so that it stays in the best place possible. We're going to take it off and place our artwork over our display hoop. We're going to take it off and we're going to flip it over so that they're easier to see. Facing our work making sure our marks are facing backwards. Going to pop it into their hoop. Pulling your work nice and tight and making sure it's way you want it to be. We're going to close our hoop nicely. Turn it over. I like lasing my work with a pearl cotton. I find that it's a lot stronger. Pearl cotton is essentially like your stranded cottons, but it's been twisted together. I also like to double it up because, why not? For this, you can use like a really nice long piece. I'm going to use a needle with a big eye just to save on time. Doubling it up and knotting the end. Then I'm going to cut around the fabric, leaving as much fabric as possible. This is going to hold and fold in. You don't want to cut too close to the edge because your fabric is going to frame and then the lacing can pull out. I'm going to remove my tape. We cut around the edges. Mainly on the corners. You don't need the corners and just making sure you don't cut too much into the fabric. This is also something you want to do in one sitting because of the frame. Frame just makes your fabric smallest so and you just have pieces of thread every where. It just complicates life. The first thing that we do we lay is we'll stitch big stitches and tack all around the edges. I like making sure that I start by keeping my knots on the outside. You'll see why in a bit. You don't have to be too precious about this just going around the edges. [MUSIC] One of the beautiful things about lacing is that over time your fabric can get a little bit looser in the hoop. It's just the nature of anything organic. The thing about lacing is that you can just keep lasing it and pull the strings a little bit tighter and it'll become tight again. Whereas once you glue something, there's no way you can do it. The other thing that's amazing about lacing is that if you want to, for example, turn this into a patch or saw this onto something else, it's as simple as cutting all the strings at the back and you've got a piece that you can now re-display in a different hoop, in a different style alternate to a patch. The reason we put the knots on the outside is that now that we've put our stitches around, we're using this string to pull all the threads together. I'm going to pull up this knots and pull here and tie it together so that it's nice and tight. Now we've got all of our fabric in a nice, easy way. It's much more manageable now that we've done this stick and we're going to start with the crisscross lasing. Again, just to save yourself from having to cut a thread a whole lot of times, just make yourself a nice long piece for this. Very much like we stretched our canvas, we're going to go to opposite sides, so starting wherever at the bottom and going to the top and just moving slightly next to it. Then go over there and we're going to go in the opposite area. Now I'm just going to create a little stitch like that to create a loop and going through it. That's how we make our knot. I'm going to keep doing this so that it's all the way around and there's a nice consistent lacing at the back. Now you've done your full star of lacing, if you see that there are any empty patches looking on the front, if there are any areas that need to be tightened a little bit more. I can see just here there's a little bit of a bump in the fabric, so I'm going to pull it through, go down to that area which is just over here, tuck it under, pull and pull into the opposite direction. That way I know that there's consistency within the front of my fabric all throughout the lacing process. Tie a nice secure knot through your stitch. There you have it. You have your beautiful collage piece that's been laced archivally. Again, if you just want to change how you display this, you can just cut these open and you've got your fabric just as you had made it. Now you've finished your collage piece. We're going to have a quick chat just now about how to finish up your work and frame it by looking at our portrait piece. [MUSIC] 16. Finishing: Frame Your Work: Framing your work is really important if you want to level up. It shows you that you have value in your work and it gives your work worth. It's a way to also keep your work safe and make sure that it lasts a long time. That means that it can be priced at a better point because you know that it's not going to be something that's going to hang on a wall for five years and fade. It's going to be able to live in a museum or live wherever for infinity. A few ways that you can make sure that your work stays safe is putting it behind glass. That way nobody touches it with their cheap fingers and that also it stays away from the sun. You get a whole lot of different types of glass but the best thing you can do is put your work behind museum glass. One of the things about putting embroidery behind glass is that it feels like it's going to lose that tactileness that's so beautiful about the medium. But the museum glass makes sure that you don't lose any of that detail by the glare or the reflection. I have an example of a work that I have that was originally on a canvas frame, put into a wooden frame and behind museum glass. I'll show you the difference with this glass compared to just regular glass. This was originally embroidered onto a linen and I don't know, but you can see that the glass has a very little reflection, so you can really pick up every detail. There's also a different variety of UV protection that you can get. Everything from 50 to 90 percent. If you think about the sun and what it's like when you leave your clothes on a washing line. If you're a little bit lazy and you forget to bring it inside, the sun absolutely destroys it. You'll see that it fades it overtime. If you think about old curtains and how curtains get changed out, they look so different from when you bought them three, four, five years ago. The sun is a beautiful, beautiful thing, but the UV rays just absolutely destroy the chemical bonds that make color. That's why it's really important to make sure that you store your embroidery out of the sunlight and put it behind glass that has a UV protection. When you go to the framers, make sure that they're aware of what it means to use fabric or the frame fabric works. Some framers think that glue is going to be okay if they're just going to pop glue on the back of your hoop and just push it onto the frame, which is, as we know, not okay. This is going to stain your work, it's going to destroy it over time, and it's really going to distort. You might not even see the glue for the first year but three years down the line that blue is going to change color. So also, you can imagine if you get glue on your clothes, it becomes hard and brittle. Framers need to know how to work with fabric. Make sure that they have experienced with fabric, experience with lacing and that if they're going to do anything like putting your fabric onto the backing board, that they're always using archival foam and that they're using archival tape. This is a loose piece that was just, It's stuck onto a piece of archival foam and the framer has used an archival tape to make sure that it is flush. It's a really nice way to keep the phrase as well to give so that you know that you've got the fact that it is fabric, but it's protected. [NOISE] It's nothing's going to move, it's not going to change and it's just got a really nice effect sitting float mounted off so you can see the shadows and the depth of the work. Now we're going to see how you can take your piece, your portrait that was made on your canvas frame and be able to have it frame ready so when you go over to the framers, they can literally just pop it in wood and put glass in front of it. We have our portrait and it's done and it's on our canvas frame. The first thing that we're going to do is we're going to cut a piece of archival foam core that sits within the frame. They only really need to do this if your fabric has a little bit of translucency. As you can see, I've got, you can see the aging of the woods and the fabric which is dark, which is not really the ideal effect that we want. We want to make sure that we have a bit of board behind it but you've got to be sure that that board is archival. I just have a piece of archival foam which I've cut to sit inside the canvas frame. We're going to remove the staples from the back. We're only going to remove two sides because we like how it's composed and yeah, we don't want to reset the whole thing. So removing the last staples. [NOISE] Now just before we go and we put our archival foam in the back, we want to look at our threads and make sure that everything is snipped nicely. Obviously, it's not too much of a problem because nothing's going to come loose because nobody's going to be touching it and nothing's going to be affecting the back. But what does tend to happen is if you have any tails or knots on the edge, it can sit, especially if you have a somewhat translucent fabric, it can sit on the outside, push against the board and you can see it through the fabric. I'm going to make sure that all of these little tails, especially along the edge [NOISE] are nice and trimmed. Now two sides of our fabric is loose off our canvas, we're going to slip archival foam in the back. [NOISE] One of the reasons we use archival board or archival foam core is because paper or just regular board has an acid in it. In the same way that you have art prints and you print on acid free paper, acid is in most paper bases and it does tend to distort and change the color the same with acid free ink. If you're using a board that isn't acid free or archival, it's going to distort your fabric and it's going to discolor it. It's not going to affect it for the first two, three, four, five years, but six, ten years down the line, it's going to make a difference. Really you're creating work that you want to love and live forever. [NOISE] Now that we have our board and we can see that it's nicely placed. We're going to restaple it down. I like having a little bit of an edge and when I take this to the framers I make sure that they cover that edge and just gives you a little bit of freedom in terms [NOISE] of how that board sits. We're going to start again how we did in the middle, making sure that our middle weave is straight. We are going to pull it over. [NOISE] Going to the side here. One. One of the reasons when we initially framed our canvases, we folded the extra flaps under is that whenever you need to take it off, you've got a little bit more extra grip when you pull it. [NOISE] Also always make sure that you're checking in the front that everything is looking flash and that you don't have any bubbles. [NOISE] Now we want to check on the front, is everything flush? We don't have any puckering that's happening with our stitches. Good. Everything is perfect. Now you have your canvas artwork. It's archively mounted with archival foam core and it's ready for the framers. You can just take this to them, make sure they have experience with fabric and ask them to frame it however you want it. [MUSIC] 17. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] You've made it to the end of the class. Thank you so much for joining me on this complicated and super creative endeavor; exploring different materials, exploring different techniques, we've learned to feed, we've learned to paint onto fabric in a way that is just completely open and experimental. Then using that, I really hope that you can take that freedom that you've experienced through your collage embroidery and abstract embroidery, and put that towards utilizing new ways of working with technical embroidery. I really hope that through this whole experience of working in such a different way, you've created something that feels new and built a confidence in you that is a lot more sustainable. Please, if you want to, just ask me any questions I'd love to hear from you, I'd love to see what you make. Put anything big or small into the project gallery and we can keep connected and keep creating. Remember if there are any of these materials that you want, these will be available to you in the class resources and linked through to DMC. Thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate your time and I would love to see your work. Bye. [MUSIC]