Tattoo Style Embroidery on Clothes: Design Your Pattern, Stitch and Wear | Catherine Never | Skillshare

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Tattoo Style Embroidery on Clothes: Design Your Pattern, Stitch and Wear

teacher avatar Catherine Never, Embroiderer, Artist & Designer

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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.

      About the Tattoo Embroidery Style


    • 3.

      Tools and Materials


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Creating Tattoo Style Patterns


    • 6.

      Your Project: from Start to Finish


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join the class by Catherine Never (@en_sewing) where Embroidery, Tattoo and Design meet.

Tattoo embroidery is a style close to pencil on paper or ink on the skin. It is clean, minimalistic and visually sophisticated. This technique is very simple yet allows you to create marvelous art pieces. Above the stitching technique, you will learn how to create your own embroidery design.

This lesson is suitable for all levels. If you are a beginner you will find out how to start your way in the embroidery world with a minimal set of materials and experience. If you already know how to embroider - maybe you’ll find here a new embroidery style that will inspire you or a way to improve your technique even more.

Working with Catherine, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use basic and more advanced Materials and Stitches
  • Design your own Embroidery Pattern
  • Create a complete Tattoo embroidery

Please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Meet Your Teacher

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Catherine Never

Embroiderer, Artist & Designer


Hello Everyone!

My name is Catherine, I'm a self taught Embroidery Designer based in London. I'm happy to share with you my tips and tricks that I wish I knew when I first started my crafting journey.

Above embroidery my interests are gardening, sewing underwear and home clothes, writing and art.

Please subscribe - I’d love to receive your feedback and build a creative community.

My Instagram: @en_sewing.

Etsy shop: link.

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Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: I'm happy to see you in my class dedicated to Tattoo embroidery. Have you ever thought about making ordinary clothes unique in a contemporary way? Or maybe you would like to try on a new tattoo every day. Or learn how to create modern embroidery patterns from scratch. For all of the above, you have chosen the right class. Hi, I'm Catherine. I'm self-taught embroider based in London. My class is going to grab your hand and deliver you into embroidery's world when even the work of beginners can be a showstopper. In a totally cool in bold way because it also combines tattoos and design. And let's you express yourself as an artist. My embroidery journey started three years ago. As a minimalist, I believe that simple things are the best. So I created this class for people who maybe are a little bit intimidated by other artist's works which seem to be on an unreachable level. Why have I decided to create this class? At the beginning, I was looking for a way for myself to make designer clothes out of ordinary things, by adding embroideries to them, and I still often use this method. I think that this style is perfect for this task. As it is contemporary, minimalistic, simple, and memorable. I will be happy to share my tips and tricks with you, which I discovered working on my own embroideries. With these guide I'll show you how to do your first steps with a minimal set of materials and experience. And I believe that you will amaze yourself and anyone around you with things you can make with your own hands. If you already know how to embroider, maybe you'll find here a new embroidery style that will inspire you or a way to improve your technique even more. In this class, I'm going to tell you about materials that we need for us to start that make the whole process easier. I'll show you the basic stitches. And I also will show you how to use the ready drawings as a motif in your projects and how to do your own embroidery design in Tattoo style. At the end you will do your own embroidery that you can show to the world. And I will give you some extra ideas for what else you can use your new knowledge. I'm really excited to work on this project with you. Let's get started. 2. About the Tattoo Embroidery Style: Hi, Welcome to my class. Before we will move to technical side of embroidery, I would like to say a couple of words about the Tattoo style itself. It is a minimalistic type of embroidery. When you stitch in one line technique or outline only the contour of the object. Why have I chosen this style to tell you about? Minimalism is defined as a design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect. How cool is this sometimes less is more. So it is perfect if you just start your embroidery journey. But also quite remarkable when we speak about the result. When you get used to the basics, there are always methods like adding shadows, dimensions, or color to increase the level of your work, add to it more of your creative touch and express yourself. Why is it called a Tattoo style? In this project, we're going to create embroidery inspired by tattoos. In the attachment, you'll find five ready to use drawings that you can transfer and practice on. There are Venus by Botticelli, Vitruvian Man, Mona Lisa, Peony Flower and Heart shaped hands. Some of them are real tattoos made by my aunt. Or you can even create your own design. I'll show you the process of it in my next videos. I think it's outstanding that you can embroider and wear a different tattoo every day and experiment with your style. If you like this style, Let's move forward. Our next step is to learn more about materials we're going to use. 3. Tools and Materials: In this video, I would like to show you guys tools and materials that we need for needlework. Let's begin with a minimal set of things, which are needles, threads, fabric or some of your clothes. Pins, printer access, pen, scissors or cutters. I think some of those goods from minimal kit my already exist in your home. So at the start, you don't need to invest a lot of money if you just want to try this out as a new hobby. In addition, you may also purchase hoop and stabilizer. And if you would like to create your own embroidery design, you will need interlining or tablet for drawing. Interlining is a thin, semi-transparent fabric with glue dots on one side. I will explain the usage of it in one of the upcoming videos. Let's explore the minimal kit in more detail. You will need a needle. Better an embroidery needle with a big eye, which makes the threading process so much easier when you use multiple strands of thread. To ease the process even more I use a needle threader. It's not a necessarily thing, just a little helper. Some threats. You can use a variety of them, from common threads to mouline and special thread. For the embroidery in tattoo style I prefer threats with non divisible strands like special threat from DMC. The point is that the stitches look more neat and the line looks very solid. Although mouline threats are also applicable, they usually contain six easily divisible strands that allow you to vary the thickness of your stitches. And make bold or fine lines. I like to experiment with shiny or multi-color threads as well. You can also try to use common threads. All you need to do is just use several strands at the same time. We also need a pan. It's better to give the preference to a pen that will fade with water, time or ironing. Let me show you a magic trick. And the same with my iron. And the piece of fabric or clothes. If you don't have a hoop or stabilizer at the moment, but still want to try this out, just take a semi-transparent non-stretchy fabric. Use your pen to transfer the image and your needle and thread to finish your project. But I suggest you to purchase in addition hoop or stabilizer to have more freedom in fabric choice. Embroidery stabilizer is a piece of material (it can be paper, fiber, or water soluble material) that is used on the back or on the top of fabric to prevent the surface from wrinkling under the tension of your stitches. There are several different types. Cutaway, tearaway, fusible and water-soluble. Stabilizer will also help you to transfer an image or save your time if you would like to print a ready drawing. With this tools there are no limits. You're an artist now, so feel that creative flow. You can use cotton, linen, jeans, silk, whatever you like, any shapes or colors. Probably you already have in mind the piece of clothes that needs improvement. Just in case you wanna get a ready-to-start kit with tools and materials, I will leave a link below where you can find one of those. So this is it. We prepared everything we need for the start. Let's explore the science of stitching. 4. Stitches: In this part, we will look at different types of stitches and nods. I also will tell you about the most offensive mistakes that I made when I just started to do embroidery so that you can avoid them during this project. And then we will make a small practice together. Let's begin with the stitches. I usually use two types of them when I do tattoo embroideries, it's a backstitch and a split stitch. They look alike at the first glance, but they are made differently. Any of them have their pros and cons. I will tell you about them shortly. Let's take our needle and thread first. Here we go. If you use a mouline thread take four strands, this thickness is optimal for our project. If you use non stretchy fabric, you can practice even without hoop and interlining. But I have a stretchy t-shirt here, which makes the process a bit trickier because it doesn't allow you to do even and neat stitches. But at the same time, I can show you how interlining solves this problem. Let's attach interlining to the fabric. I usually don't use a hoop when I do embroidery in tattoo style even on a stretchy fabric. Interlining alone works just perfectly. But to show the process on the camera clearly, I will use my hoop today. Here we have two schemes we will practice on. To make a backstitch poke the needle up from beneath the fabric at one end of the line. Then, push the needle back down through the fabric further along the line. The length of stitches may be three to five millimeters, 0.1 to 0.2 inches. Poke the needle up through the fabric a stitch-width down the line. Feed the needle and thread down and through insertion point B. Poke up through the fabric at insertion point D and keep repeating the process. Let's finish this line to compare it to another one made with a Split stitch. Back stitch makes the line look more solid. It's a super-strong stitch. But this requires a lot of mouline thread. As you can see from the other side, a lot of threat is wasted. The splits stitch demands, I think, three times less thread than the backstitch. That means you can make three embroideries instead of one with the same thread length. Let's try it as well. Bring out the thread through A and put it through B. Take the needle backwards to bring it through C. Note that C lies one millimeter far from B. While bringing out the thread through C, take it in between the threads, splitting them into two even parts. Continue this procedure to finish the line. The split stitch is more complicated. It takes more time and focus. And you need to give more effort to make the line look more even, Whatever you choose, it's up to you. Let's make our first task together to pick your favorite stitch. I will do a couple of minimalist shapes that we will practice on. You can use the same ones or create your own drawings. Let's finish them using both stitches. But this time let's do the knots differently. Our goal is to make a few knots as possible, as we create embroidery on the clothes we will be wearing and washing. And the first fail, which I want to tell you about, the knots are untied if there are a lot of them and they are loosely tied. This may ruin the embroidery. There are two more reliable ways to fasten the threat. The first is suitable when you use multiple strands. The second - for all types of threads. Take two strands of thread, one meter long. Fold them in half to make a loop on one side. On the other side we thread the needle. Let's make a small stitch 1-2 millimeter long at the beginning of the line. Leave a loop on the back of the hoop. And then we pass the needle through it. This way is possible to fasten the thread without a knot. For the second method, we need to leave the tail of the thread five to six centimeters long. We tie a thick knot that doesn't pass through the fabric when pulled. And we make the first 5-6 stitches on the front side. Then we turn the hoop over. And thread the tail into the first 2 stitches. Let’s tie a knot on each stitch. This secures embroidery from untying. And leaves you in case the knot does pop up - it can be repaired. It takes more time, but it's worth it. Let's finish our figures now. We made a loop at the beginning, fastened the threat. Now make few stitches with the selected style. And at the end we fix the tail in other stitches. And the same thing with a different stitch. Now when we are done, it is time to remove the interlining. This is where error number two lies and waits for us. If you pull too hard, the interlining can damage the embroidery. So take your time, very carefully pull it out from under the stitches. Trying to help ourselves with scissors, we can make mistake number three, cut the fabric on which you are embroidering. Sometimes after removing the interlining traces of glue may remain on the fabric This is mistake number four. Most likely the interlining is too thick. Try to find the thinnest possible. But the worst mistake is to be afraid to make mistakes. My favorite phrase of the last time is "Done is better than perfect". I make mistakes all the time, but it helps to become better and do beautiful things. In this lesson, we picked our favorite stitch for this project. Learned how to do secure knots. Analysed the most tragic mistakes we need to avoid. Now please take your time to practice more if you need. The next video is about creating your own embroidery pattern in tattoo style. 5. Creating Tattoo Style Patterns: Welcome to the most creative part of the class. Here was for up to: firstly, we'll prepare the drawings for embroidery. Then our task will be to create your own pattern on intertlining. And after that, we will use a tablet to make the image in tattoo style. You don't need to know how to draw for this class so don't be afraid in advance. It's pretty simple. Let's begin. As I mentioned earlier in the resources section, there is a file with five ready-made images. Let's download and print it. If you have semitransparent fabric, you can transfer it straightaway. For other fabric types let's transfer our images for embroidery. We need a stabiliser or thin interlining, a pen, pins. Optional - a hoop. Let's attach the stabiliser or interlining to the paper with pins to make it stay in place during the copying. If there is glue on one side of the stabiliser then we will draw on the other side. As you can see, the image is visible. Let's outline it with a pen. This will take some time. So relax, turn on music or listen to a new audio book enjoy the process. When the image is copied attach it to the fabric with pins. The advantage is that we can easily imagine what the finished embroidery will look like. Now you can embroider the image with back- or split stitch. The last step is tearing off the interlining. Tada! It wasn't difficult, was it? Please share your embroideries down below. It will inspire me and other students to new projects. I will be also happy to answer any questions in the comments if you decide to stop your project at this point. Now, let's move to the more advanced part of this tutorial. Let's try to create our own embroidery design. First, we need a reference. It can be anything, an image in a magazine, a picture of a tattoo, a photograph you made in the museum. Images with a clear outline work best. To begin with, it's better to choose something simpler in order to better feel the process. If you want to use the finished work of some artists, you can always write and ask permission. I've never had a problem with this, usually everyone agrees. I chose a photo of a finished tattoo I found on the Internet. We will not just copy the image, we need that adapt it for embroidery. By that I mean, we need to simplify it, not necessarily transfer all the lines that you see because more lines mean more thread cuts and knots. First, let's try to do as few lines as we can. Don't be afraid to experiment and change the shape and details of the reference. Then you can unpin the interlining and see if you want to add something. Let's draw a little more detail. Here's what we got, it was fun. The next thing that we will do is one more image this time on a tablet. Let's choose a motif used for tattoos. I took three different pictures. Here I have a triangle, a peony and buds. The same you can do on paper as a collage. Here on Skillshare, you can find many courses on how to work with a tablet. Learning how to use a tablet does not take much time. A couple of videos were enough for me to figure it out. Now, I will copy a big flower. First, I will transfer the main lines, then we will add details. I will speed up the video so you can see the whole process. Then I put a triangle on top. Of course, the size and shape of the image is easier to change using the tablet. And now I add buds and leaves. I also wanted to mark the background under the flower with parallel lines. You can draw veins on the leaves. What else can we add? Let's embroider all the lines that go beyond the triangle with the threat of different color. Now, let's print it directly on water soluble stabilizer. The advantage of this method is that the finished image can be reused. For example, print several times. Now it's your turn to create your own embroidery pattern. I'm so excited to see what you've got, please share your results. In the next video, we will complete this project from start to finish together. 6. Your Project: from Start to Finish: We are now so close to completing the project, let's make it happen. What do we have? our clothes, transferred or printed embroidery design, prepared materials and knowledge about stitches and knots. This time I'm using a ready-made sticker on water soluble material. If you can find and buy it it's marvelous. As it is possible to print patterns on it, it attaches to fabric without the pins like a sticker And it doesn't damage the fabric and stitches at the end as we will just wash it away with warm water. I have already chosen a place where I want to see the embroidery. It's on the back of my shirt. Let’s attach it to the fabric. The inner layer of the future embroidery can be additionally duplicated with interlining for more stability. This will be very useful, especially if the fabric is stretching. The sequence of embroidery is not important. A little tip - start with long lines, try to make fewer knots. Now, I will increase the video playback speed to show more of the process. Embroidery is like meditation for me as I often listen to music while doing it. And it seems that embroidery is doing itself. I like quick results. Embroidery greatly changes the look of things. An ordinary short or t-shirt becomes an unique piece of clothing, a designer item. In addition, you can choose an embroidery theme dedicated to any event and make the item truly special. I remember how impressed I was by Angelina Jolie's dress on which the drawings of her children were embroidered, very symbolically. In addition to clothing there are many more ways to use embroidery. You can create real art objects, paintings, interior items and so much more. And we have made a small step in this direction today, our embroidery is ready. Let's dissolve the stabilizer in water. You can rub the fabric a little bit to speed up the process. It is better not to squeeze the fabric too hard so as not to damage the embroidery. And now it remains only to dry the shirt. You can speed it up with an iron. I usually wash my embroidered things in the washing machine. The threads do not stain the fabric and the stitching is holding up well. Well, congratulations, we did it. For me there are no more boring and ordinary things as you can turn anything into something unique, just like that. Embroidery can be stylish and modern. For me, it is more art than needlework. It will never go out of style. But like any art, it needs to be constantly rethought and rediscovered. I hope you enjoyed our little embroidery journey and our time together as I did, and learned something interesting. 7. Final Thoughts: Well done. You have watched all the videos and learned more about embroidery. Let me know if you have finished your project or like me watch all the videos first. As a result, we learned about minimalistic style in embroidery, about basic stitches and knots, useful materials, creating your own patterns. And I hope it was at least a little bit inspiring. I know this class has been a lot of work, but we did it. I'm really happy to be teaching this class and sharing my knowledge with you. There are more lessons to come. If you want to ask any questions about your project, you can do it in discussion section. I also would like to see the embroideries that you have made. So please share them below. Remember, we are all trying to be better at this. So don't be shy. You can follow my work at this account on Instagram as well. And I'll see you in my next classes. Take care, stay creative and inspired!