The Swatch of the Month for June combines a number of embroidery techniques into a single design. This stencil, appropriately titled June’s Spring, combines both basic techniques, like backstitch embroidery and appliqué, with more elaborate treatments, like beading and Feather stitch embroidery. The combination of these elements on one swatch results in a lush, rich looking textile.
Detailed instructions for completing the June’s Spring fabric treatment and a fabric map illustration can be found on pages 118-119 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. This particular swatch allows you quite a bit of creative freedom, since you decide what elements to embellish and to what degree they will be decorated. We recommend that you make a plan (like the fabric map shown in the book) ahead of time for how you will decorate each element. But, you might think it is more fun to improvise and make decisions as you create. Either approach will undoubtedly result in a beautiful completed swatch.
After transferring your design onto the fabric using the June’s Spring stencil, the basic first step is to review the stenciled design and identify all of the stenciled circles. You should then “outline” all of the circles using a backstitch, stitching directly on the stenciled edge. Select some of the circles on your swatch to reverse appliqué. Decide which circles to appliqué, and then cut matching appliqué pieces using the provided swatch or fabric scraps. Appliqué the circles to your swatch base using a whipstitch. You will also appliqué the flower petal shapes into place. Use the photo for reference whenever necessary.
Backstitch one of the tree shapes and add random half-beading (see page 73) with sequins (see page 76). Use a single strand of Button Craft thread when applying beads and sequins, since a double thread is more likely to tangle. Secure each thread with at least two double knots.
Choose another tree shape, backstitch around the middle, and add a Feather stitch (see page 26) to each branch with embroidery floss. Continue adding random half-beading around the tree shapes, inside your reverse appliquéd circles, around your appliqué circles, and anywhere else you desire.
The hi-resolution photograph of our June’s Spring swatch, for use as your computer desktop background, is available for download from our Resources page. It is also an excellent reference to refer to for ideas as you complete your swatch.
10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for top layer
10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for backing layer
Fabric scraps for appliqué
June’s Spring stencil
Spray bottle or airbrush gun, depending on stencil-transfer method
Selection of sequins, bugle beads, and chop beads
Button craft thread
Basic sewing supplies: pins, needles, embroidery scissors
Or purchase a Swatch of the Month Club membership and receive all supplies necessary to complete this swatch.
OUR DESIGN CHOICES
Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Top layer fabric color – Black
Backing layer fabric color – Navy
Appliqué fabric color – Navy
Stencil – June’s Spring
Treatments – Appliqué, reverse appliqué, embroidery, beading, sequins
Button Craft thread – Navy #13
Embroidery floss – Black
Bead type – Black chop beads and bugle beads
Sequins – Black
You can still purchase a membership to our Swatch of the Month Club. Each month of 2014, you will receive a new swatch that you can use to sample some of our favorite embroidery techniques. No matter what month you join, you will receive swatches from all previous months in the year.
Those of you who have been participating each month have completed swatches using reverse appliqué, outside reverse appliqué, beaded embroidery, appliqué, and beaded ruffle stripe. Follow our Journal posts each month for illustrations of these and other techniques and ideas for projects using your completed swatches, like DIY book covers, DIY swatch pillows, or the DIY Clutch.