“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.” - Voltaire
What would we be without creativity?
Thanks to social media like Instagram and Pinterest, arts and crafts like embroidery are becoming more popular.
So how can you express your creativity through arts and crafts?
What about embroidery?
This isn’t just for children in school or grandparents. Whether you buy embroidery kits or get all your equipment separately, once you’ve reached a certain level, you’re going to have to learn how to embroider eyes onto your creations.
Whether it’s onto jeans, a purse, or a cushion, let your imagination run wild.
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The Different Ways to Embroider Eyes
Embroidery is an art and like most arts, it’s subjective and each artist has their ways of doing things. The same is true for knitting, crochet, patchwork, sewing; there isn’t a way to do something, there are several ways.
There are several ways to embroider the eyes. Embroiderers who are used to working a linen canvas or an Aida cloth won’t embroider in the same way as people who alter cushions, dresses, clothing, etc.
You can also embroider onto crocheted or knitted things. In this case, your embroidery will be to finish the item. For example, you might need to add a face to a knitted doll. Embroidery can be used to make the doll’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Eyes can be tricky to embroider and each embroiderer has their way of doing it.
The eyes can differ according to the thread used and its thickness. You can embroider with wool or sewing thread but the most important thing is to enjoy yourself.
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Embroidering Eyes onto Muslin
Embroidery can be used to create a visual representation of almost anything. Like drawing, you can create things in your style with different techniques.
The Stem Stitch
There are several different stitches you can use to create embroidery. The chain stitch, the feather stitch, the fringe stitch, the spine stitch, etc. each stitch needs to be used in the right way to get the most out of your embroidery. Some stitches are better than others in certain cases.
For example, the feather stitch works great for tree branches. Similarly, the stem stitch is essential when you’re just starting with embroidery and need fine lines like the stem of a flower, the edge of a window, etc. The stem stitch is also great for tracing around the edge of an eye like you would a contour with a pencil and it isn’t very complicated either.
To do it, you need to pass the needle through the front of the fabric around 5mm from where you’d like it to go. Thus, the thread will follow the needle. Once the needle is underneath your fabric, pull it back through the second hole. Repeat these steps.
You can use this technique for both straight lines and curves.
The cross-stitch is one of the easiest stitches to do and is often taught to beginners. You can do entire embroidery projects with just cross-stitches. This technique is good for filling in embroidery rather than just having embroidery with contour lines.
To make eyes, you can just use a black, blue, or whatever colour you want cross-stitch. This is the simplest eye you can do. To make a more substantial eye, you can do several white stitches and use some coloured stitches in the middle.
If you’re a complete beginner, you might want to start by following a pattern. Embroidery kits for beginners often include manuals, guides, and patterns for you to practise learning how to embroider.
Some patterns are printed directly onto the fabric. In this case, you just have to follow the colour guide.
Consider framing your embroidery.
Embroidering Eyes onto Dolls
Embroidering eyes on a linen canvas is one thing but embroidering them onto a knitted doll is another. Things get a little trickier than they would for embroidering onto canvas. There are a few stitches that can help you add a face to your creation.
The French Knot
The French knot is often used for creating eyes on both fabrics and objects. It allows you to quickly make a little ball of thread to represent the eyes. You need to concentrate to make sure you don’t tangle your thread.
Firstly, you need to pass the needle outwards from the doll. Roll the thread around your needle twice and insert the needle back into the doll to tighten the knot. Pull the needle out from the other side and your first knot is done.
This technique may seem quite complicated so we recommend that you check out some YouTube tutorials on how to do it.
The Satin stitch
The satin stitch allows you to cover entire surfaces. Thus, you can make full round eyes. Rather than the stitches crossing over, the stitches will make lines very close to one another.
To do this, you can bring the needle down through the fabric, bring the needle up where you want to start, and then bring the needle back down across the other side of the shape you want to fill. You can always do this on a separate piece of fabric and then stitch that onto the doll if you don’t feel comfortable sewing directly onto the doll.
You can also do a layer of satin stitches and then go back over it in the other direction. This will also emboss the eye. This is known as the plumetis stitch.
It’s much easier to stitch eyes onto a flat surface or stitch onto dolls made of linen or other woven fabrics.
Made a mistake?
Learn how to remove embroidery.
Practising Embroidering Eyes
Embroidery isn’t an innate skill. You can always mess around and see what stitches you end up with or if you struggle, look up some basic stitches to get you started.
Embroidery classes are a great way to learn how to embroider and make shapes and patterns. A teacher or tutor can also help you when it comes to the more complicated stitches.
Whether you’re in private tutorials or group classes, an embroidery teacher or tutor can show you how to embroider eyes. Even though tutorials on YouTube or a website might help, they won’t be the same as what you’re working on and in some cases, it’ll be difficult to apply what they’re saying to your project. Furthermore, it’s much easier to learn to be shown something and then allowed to try it yourself. If you make mistakes, your teacher will be there to correct you.
You could attend workshops in a haberdashery, for example. There are often classes and workshops for those wanting to learn how to do a particular stitch or have questions about a project.
Once you’ve practised with the help of a teacher, you can practise embroidering eyes on your projects. Since eyes are generally quite small, you can practise them over and over on a single piece of fabric. Practise makes perfect, after all.
Finally, you just have to add them to your project.
If you need more help with embroidery or cross-stitch, get help from one of the many talented private tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of tutorial available and, like with tutors, each comes with its pros and cons.
Face-to-face tutorials are great for getting bespoke and tailored tuition as you're the only student in the class. Furthermore, your tutor will be spending a lot of time outside of the lessons preparing sewing classes for you. Of course, this service comes at a cost and face-to-face private tutorials tend to be the most costly per hour. However, they're also the most cost-effective as every minute of a session is spent helping you learn.
Online tutorials are similar but your tutor won't be there in the room with you. While these are usually better for academic subjects, if you've got a good webcam, microphone, and internet connection, there's no reason a talented embroider couldn't help you learn remotely. Additionally, with no travel costs and the ability to schedule more classes each week, online private tutors tend to cheaper than face-to-face tutorials.
Finally, group tutorials are good for those on a budget as the cost of the tutor's time and experience will be shared amongst all the students in attendance. While you won't get as much one-on-one time with your tutor, you will pay less per student per hour.
With many of the tutors offering free tuition for the first hour, try a few different ones out and find the one that's right for you.