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Starting Young


My youngest daughter who is now 10 had been asking to have a go at Free Machine Embroidery (FME) for ages and the Primary schools holiday project provided the perfect reason to let her experiment and explore her ideas and Creativity.  The project asked the children to do a piece on a county in the UK in whatever medium they preferred.

We visit Cornwall every year with our Caravan so she decided that Cornwall was an ideal county to choose.  After some research on the computer she decided that there had been 3 main industries in the county – Fishing, Tin Mining and Tourism.

From this research she started sketching ideas that would best represent these industries.  Quite how we did homework 30+ years ago without Google and Bing is a mystery!

For Tourism she wanted to represent a caravan ( a much prettier version than our white box)!

Starting with a practice piece she worked through the processes involved including following a drawn line with the sewing machine (definitely the trickiest bit!).


Once she felt confident with moving the needle around within the embroidery hoop we started on the first and simplest piece, the caravan.



The first step was to trace the original sketch onto Bondaweb (in reverse) and then cut each piece roughly out, I find it easier to cut accurately to the shape after it is ironed to the fabric.

Secondly you iron the Bondaweb onto the reverse of the chosen fabric, cut to shape and then score the middle of the piece with a needle or scissors and peel the backing away.  If you try and peel from the edges there is a chance of the fabric fraying.



Slowly build the pieces up following the process above until all the fabric pieces are in place.

We started practicing the FME on a practice piece, following lines drawn with a pen that disappears when heated with an iron.  It takes practice to get the control and speed correct.  Having the piece in a hoop definitely helps control the movement and for children keeps their fingers away from the needle.



I think the pieces have more charm when the lines are a little wobbly, she went over all the lines twice to give more impact and we only used black thread.

The second picture of the Tin Mine is my favourite, I love the colours she chose.


Choosing the fabrics


Once ironed into place she drew the outline that she would follow with the machine.


Slow and steady progress.


To save stopping and starting with lots of loose threads I encouraged her to take the thread beyond the piece and turn back into the next area.  I added a couple of seagulls and number two was complete.


The final piece was based on a beautiful image of fishing boats she had seen on the internet.


Already by the third piece she was feeling far more confident controlling the machine and hoop.


Choosing the brightly coloured buoys….


The final piece, mounted on a cheap canvas.


Really looking forward to the piece coming home and displaying them in the workshop.

The best fun we have had with a school holiday project to date…..and she enjoyed ironing (if only that would last!).

0 thoughts on “Starting Young”

  1. What a lovely blog! Well done mum and daughter, beautiful results – love the theme and fabrics you’ve used xx

  2. Hi! Your daughter is very creative – Congratulations for her fabulous work! Thanks for sharing.


    Sent from my iPad

  3. Your daughter has obviously learned a lot by watching you work. What a fantastic project she has created. You both must be very proud. Congratulations to your daughter, I think her small quilts stand up to any work I have seen in quilting arts magazine.

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