We’re hearing a lot of talk in Australia about marriage equality. It’s been a long time coming, and I fear it may yet be a long time off. I’ve written about it before (at different times and for different reasons), and I don’t want to add to that right now. Instead, I want to express my feelings through craft.
I made this little piece to represent the bond that SJ and I have. We may not be legally married, but my heart is tied to hers, as hers is to mine: willingly, securely, and permanently.
I thought I’d make a tutorial for this piece, so that you can make one for someone you love, or to show your support for a couple you care about.
What you’ll need:
- A photo of each member of the couple*
- Printable craft film and an inkjet printer (I used Quilt Attitude printable craft film, but there are a variety on the market, and any brand will do)
- Calico fabric (a fat quarter will be plenty)
- Two 4″ embroidery hoops
- Light interfacing or pellon
- An embroidery needle (I use size 8)
- Spray adhesive
- Stranded embroidery floss in two colours (I used magenta and rose)
- Pencil (soft, 6B or similar)
* A couple of notes on photo selection:
- Choose photos that have plain backgrounds, so that you will have light areas that the embroidery will show up well on.
- Depending on the type of craft film you use, it’s likely that the images will transfer onto your fabric in the reverse. If you have images with words on them, or that will look odd when reversed, make sure you flip them before printing them to counter this effect.
What to do:
- Using your photo editing software of choice, resize your chosen photos so that they will fit comfortably in the hoops. I used 4″ hoops, so resized my images to 4.5″, to ensure that I had room to manoeuvre.
- Following the instructions on the packet of your chosen craft film, print your images onto the film, and transfer onto your calico. Set aside.
- Take the inner ring of one of your embroidery hoops and use it as a template to cut two pieces of your interfacing or pellon. Set these aside.
- Position your calico portraits in the embroidery rings and secure firmly. Trim them a little so that they’re easier to handle while you sew.
- Flip them over, then take your interfacing/pellon circles, and spray each one lightly with adhesive before nestling one inside the back of each hoop.
- With your pencil, carefully make ‘X’ marks on the front of each portrait where you want to place each cross stitch heart.
- Using the full six strands of embroidery floss, stitch over these ‘X’ marks. You’ll be pulling through pellon, adhesive, calico, and craft film, so it’s slowish going. Be patient, and try not to tug so hard that you warp the fabric or the transfer.
- Once each heart is complete, pull the threat through to the front and leave it hanging loose.
- Flip each hoop, and trim the edges of overhanging fabric so that there’s roughly 0.75″ left. Using embroidery floss or sewing cotton, make a running stitch all around the edge, then pull it tight to draw the edges in neatly to the back. Secure firmly.
- Take the free hanging ends of embroidery floss, and tie them securely in a bow.
- Hang, gift, or better yet, write a biography of each member of the pair and send the artwork to your MP as a call for marriage equality. That may yet be what I do with ours…