I absolutely LOVE Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching books. Until a couple of years ago I hadn’t really sewn anything, let alone tried my hand at embroidery! But these books are so accessible and the designs are beautiful, and I’d highly recommend them to anyone whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
What is really helpful about these books is that Aimee talks you through the equipment you’ll need, different types of stitches and pretty much anything else that you’ll need to know to get started. I haven’t perfected all of the stitches yet, but the instructions are very clear and I’ve picked them up quite quickly.
The first design that I tried out was one of the tree designs from The Motif Collection (which is the second book of the two). I decided to use the ’tissue paper method’ for transferring the pattern because I wanted to make the embroidery as accurate as I could. The notes suggest that this method is most suitable for embroidering on fabrics such as felt (and I was just using cotton), but I think the experiment paid off. I mainly used split stitch for this design as it seems to be the one I can do the neatest, and the tree is quite intricate. Once I had stitched over the paper the next job was to remove the paper with tweezers. This was a little bit fiddly, but not too difficult to do if you’re using an embroidery hoop. And I’m so pleased with the result!
The next design I made was one of the embellishments (also from The Motif Collection). The design is quite complicated and needed to be embroidered quite neatly, so I decided to use the tissue paper method again. Although I did manage to be neat (amazingly!), this design was much more difficult to sew using tissue paper because it tore so easily and I spent a lot of my time flattening the paper so that I could see where the design needed to be! I think that I might have to investigate other ways of tranferring the design onto the material if I’m sewing another complicated pattern like this one. But it is such a beautiful design – it will make a lovely piece of hoop art I think. I didn’t use the colours that Aimee suggests in the book (for either of the designs, actually) but that is the beauty of all of her Doodle Stitching designs – they would work in any colour palette.
The next embroidery project that I’ll be working on is to make waistcoats for our wedding, and I’m going to use some of Aimee’s designs as well as some of my own to make them a little more fancy. I’ve never made waistcoasts before but have bought quite a simple pattern, so fingers crossed they will look good! I’ll be posting photos of my work in progress so you can see how it is going…so stay tuned!