Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Topiary Tree Needlecase: How to create a slip for raised embroidery

After my bout of poorliness - I'm taking some time off, which is a novelty for me!
But - feeling a bit more perky  for the last few days - I have been pootling about having fun.

I  decided to play about with some pretty variegated thread  and practise some stitches. This little button was the result. It was made as a slip and then stitched on to a wool felt backing with  a buttonhole bar 'shank'.



Making the button slip gave me the idea to make myself a topiary tree needle case.One of the things I  wanted to do this year was make myself a new needle case that held and marked all my needles - plus  I've always wanted a bay tree in a huge earthenware pot! 
I  used some 1970s Laura Ashley fabrics from  my very small stash, which seemed to fit in with  my design idea. 


To  make a slip - this is all you do -
First of all mark a circle (mine was around 1 1/4" or 3.5 cm diameter )  or your shape on to your slip fabric. This is just a piece of old sheeting, patchwork weight cotton is fine.

Place  the fabric in a hoop and  split back stitch all the way around  your shape, to define it clearly.

Then  comes the fun part!  For my  topiary I chose a variety  of green threads and  filled in my shape with a mixture of Bullion , Chinese  and Ghiordes knots and  laid picot leaves, just making an arrangement of texture which  pleased my eye.

When you've  filled the shape, make a running stitch  about 1/8 inch all the way  around it, leaving  the long end of thread.

Carefully cut around the  running stitch  leaving about 1/8 inch ( and not cutting off the long tail!)

Pull up the thread, so your slip fabric is hidden and fasten off securely, hiding the tail of thread.

Position your slip onto your main fabric and secure with  pins. Then  carefully slip stitch  it to the main fabric.

Leave an opening and gently push in some stuffing ( polyester toy stuffing seems to work best).

Pad out the stuffing and slip stitch it closed. To make my  tree, I left it open  so I could apply the stem.  
To  finish my needle case embroidery I made a wire bound stem using some pretty  brown textured yarns, and  a felt, stuffed 'pot'*. I applied them to the main fabric to  make up my  tree. 

The needle case is just a really simple 'book' design, main fabric and lining placed right sides together and stitched round, leaving a gap for turning. Turn  right way out and press in half. Position  the felt centrally and stitch the centre line to  make your 'pages'.


Using a favourite font, I printed out a list of each type of needle/size on to a silk sheet using my laser printer,  and then fused the labels to my felt 'pages' with Mistyfuse.

*Finally,  my 'pot' doubles as a mini pincushion!


If you haven't tried making a slip before, you might want to have a go. It's a fun way to practise texture stitches and you could make a little button or a brooch; add beads or buttons, ribbon embroidery or couching.... the list goes on. Endless possibilities, and also a nice little carry  along project if you like to have something in your bag to embroider.
It's also handy for using up spare bits of thread that  are not long enough for a project,  and too long for your Orts jar!

Whew! That's it , I'm off now to try and get inspired with Cretan Stitch!
Enjoy  your stitching.x

11 comments:

  1. Great idea, using the pot as a pincushion. And it sounds like a perfect convalescent activity...

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  2. I love the way you say. "this is all you do" a case of easy when you know how! Such clever stitching too.

    i hope you are feeling better. x

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  3. What a coincidence! I was just thinking about doing something like this too - trying out slips etc.=) I did one once - a football in shiny rayon threads, and it looked great! I was well pleased with it.

    Will write soon - I'm down with tonsillitis at the mo, but it doesn't usually last long and I can think straight so I'm making plans....

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  4. I admire your post - the beautifully stitched slip and the technique - and nice to see that Elizabeth was also here.

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  5. Very creative and pretty :)Well done!

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  6. How pretty! You are so clever with the needle

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  7. Thank you for the tutorial. I will use this in a design when I start my summer quilting.

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  8. great idea ...... thanks for sharing!!!

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  9. Hi Jules, just wanted to say thanks for this very helpful tutorial. I'm about to try making a slip for the first time and was doing some research and found this excellent help on your blog. I'm sure this will make my first try a bit easier :) Thanks again.

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  10. Hi Jules, just wanted to say thanks for this very helpful tutorial. I'm about to try making a slip for the first time and was doing some research and found this excellent help on your blog. I'm sure this will make my first try a bit easier :) Thanks again.

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