Welcome to part 2 of this short series on how I create stitch sketches.  Last week we looked at creating or finding an image, this week we look at what you do with that image to turn it into a stitch sketch.  I’m going to be taking you through a piece that I’m currently working on, but I’ll also refer to some of the other pieces I’ve done previously.

I chose this pattern from Urban Threads.  She has a lot of great patterns, and the hand embroidery versions are perfect for this sort of project.

The first thing to work out is what size you want your piece to be.  As it happened, the pattern came at the perfect size for me, but you could change the size in image editing software or if you don’t have that in your printer software or in a photocopier.

Next you need to work out how you’re going to render it as that will dictate how you start cutting things out.  This is the pattern I’m working from (the hand embroidery version comes in line drawing form, however this image is easier to explain):

Looking at the picture above I can see that in order to put this into stitch sketch form I’m going to need several fabric layers.  There’s the base layer in black, a background layer, and then layers for the lettering, needle and thread.  In the line drawing version there isn’t a distinction between the black and the blue layers, so I ended up having that as one layer in mine.  Now because the base layer actually shows round the edge, I could do this in two ways, either I could keep a solid base, or I could cut out the centre parts to reduce bulk.  Since at the most I’ll only have 3 layers, I wasn’t too worried about that, but it’s something to think about if it looks like there’s going to be a lot of layers.

To get my base layer, I need to cut the entire pattern out, and I use a craft knife when I have more challenging outlines like this.  It’s easier to cut out the open inner areas first before cutting the outline out as the paper is more stable and less easy to tear at that point:

Having chosen all my fabrics, I then add a layer of Bondaweb to the back of each one and trace the pattern onto it.  Don’t forget when you come to trace it you need to flip the pattern piece over other it will end up the wrong way round (don’t worry, I usually get at least one piece backwards on a project!)

Next I break out a pair of sharp, pointed scissors and cut it out.

Back to the pattern, now that I’ve got the base worked out, I need to cut out the next layer, so I cut off all of the base area from the paper pattern and repeat the process:

Then I fuse that layer in place:

Finally I cut out all the detailed bits, including the wee circles from around the edge.  In this case I’d decided I wanted those to be coloured rather than the grey crosshatch.  I also went for a bit of an ombre effect, hence the multiple shades of pink and turquoise:

In the next part we’ll look at adding the stitching to bring it to life.