Thank you for purchasing one or more of my kits and/or patterns! To guarantee great results and a pleasant experience, I wanted to share a few additional tips on how to cut felt, separate your thread, hand stitches and take care of your bamboo felt.
How to set up the embroidery hoop?
Setting the embroidery hoop is a very easy step. The most important thing is to achieve good tension in your fabric.
Simply loosen the screw of the hoop until it separates. Place the fabric in the design, carefully centering the design. Make sure the screw is aligned at the highest point (top center) of the design. Gently pull the fabric to add some tension. Tighten the screw to secure. Trim some excess fabric (I use pinking shears but it’s optional) but leave enough to pull the fabric again if it loosens while working on it.
How to separate the thread?
The kits provide DMC embroidery floss, which are composed of six strands twisted together. The Craft with Nola projects only use two to three strands of thread at a time, so you need to separate the thread.
Only separate one thread at a time. Separating two or more at once is what usually creates knots. Find the end of the thread, and while holding the rest of the skein with your other hand, gently pull the end from the skein until it is completely separated from the remaining strands. Pull one or two more. Hold two strands together at one end and gently smooth them with your fingers to recombine them.
Remember to knot your thread at one end before starting your stitches and always end your stitches with a knot as well to secure them.
Other helpful embroidery tips:
- With each stitch, turn your needle about a quarter to half turn to prevent the thread twisting.
- If you thread got twisted, simply drop the needle and it hang freely until it straightens up.
- If you are using the same thread at different locations, start and stop each embroideries instead of running the thread through the back of the fabric. It prevents it from being visible through the fabric.
- Trace dots with a ruler if you want uniform stitches.
- For uniform stitches, use the same amount of tension with each stitch.
Hand Embroidery Stitches Guide
How to cut felt?
- When using scraps from CraftwithNola kits, make sure you do not cut one shape right in the middle of the felt. You might run out of felt quickly and not be able to cut all your shapes! We provide enough felt and some extra just in case but we do not like waste so we do not go all out. Make sure you place all your shapes and think of duplicates before cutting the shapes!
- Small scissors with sharp ends are my favorite for detailed cutting.
- To cut interior angles (such as flowers), do not cut down the angle and then straight back up! You will most likely mess it up! Always go down one side and stop when you reach the angle. Then start back from the top of the other side, cutting down until it connects to the part you already cut. You will get a much cleaner result!
There are different ways to cut felt, depending on your preference:
- Cut the felt directly around the pattern. Cut your paper pattern pieces, pin them down on your felt and cut directly through the felt following the edges. It’s risky as the shape might not be placed correctly and might shift while cutting. Also, it can get difficult with small shapes. But it can work depending on your abilities and the shapes.
- Trace the shape with a pen on the felt. Transferring the pattern on a ticker material such as cardboard is an option if you think it makes it easier to trace around it. I like to use an air erasable pen (available at your local craft store) so I do not have to worry about visible ink. If you wish to use a regular pen, choose a fine point and something like gel that will mark easily so it doesn’t get messy. Most importantly, trace the shapes backwards so the ink will be on the inside and not visible once stitched. This solution is very effective and I assume everyone has a pen at home.
- Use freezer paper. On regular kitchen freezer paper, trace your shapes on the dull side of the paper. Iron it on the felt with the shiny side down. Once it adhered to the felt, all you have left to do is cut around the shape and finish by peeling off the freezing paper! Very effective and affordable solution as well, just don’t burn your fingers!
Felt Care instructions
If you are using the felt for an item that will need to get washed at some point, you must wash the felt before cutting it as it will shrink. Otherwise, washing the felt is not recommended.
Dry cleaning would be the best way. Some shrinkage will still occur during dry cleaning.
If you are washing the felt, separate colors, use a delicate cycle and cold water rinse. Dry flat or a delicate cycle. More shrinkage will occur with this technique.
You may iron the felt at low temperature after washing it.