I’m a big fan of artist Yuko Miki’s work so when I saw she was coming out with a line of fabrics using her happy illustrations, I couldn’t wait to see them! I immediately fell in love with her watercolor succulent prints in an assortment of colors and knew I needed to create some embroidery projects with these beauties.
One of the things I love best about this succulent fabric is how there are so many different little plants in the print. It spoke to me about how our differences are what make us beautiful and how we can plant kindness and it will grow into beautiful things. So I knew I wanted to come up with embroidery patterns that captured these ideas, but also let Yuko’s fabric full of succulent loveliness speak for itself. So I decided to layer felt pieces on top of the succulent fabric with some appliqué.
Appliqué work is when fabrics are layered with embroidery stitches in a decorative way. So the projects here are meant to introduce you to a basic appliqué technique and demonstrate how you can create some simple embroidery hoop art for fun or inspiration using Yuko’s new watercolor succulent fabric, which you can purchase on Spoonflower.
These patterns can be mixed and matched so you can choose different phrases on whichever succulent fabric and felt color that you’d like. Simply follow the basic instructions below to create your own inspirational hoop art!
- 6” or 8” embroidery hoop, depending on the phrase you choose
- Honeyberry Studios Watercolor Succulent Fabric in basic cotton ultra in the color of your choice
- My free inspirational quotes pattern (download here)
- Iron and ironing board
- Cutting mat
- Ruler for fabric
- Rotary cutter with scalloped blade OR decorative edged scissors
- Fabric scissors
- Small embroidery scissors
- Felt to complement your chosen fabric
- HeatnBond® Lite Sewable Iron-on Adhesive (purple package)
- Water erasable marking pen
- Pellon® Stick-N-Washaway™ for pattern transfer
- Size 5 embroidery needle
- DMC embroidery floss
Step 1 - Choose and cut out your fabric and phrase
Once you’ve decided on the phrase you’d like to stitch on your chosen succulent fabric and felt, I suggest printing it or tracing it with pencil on Pellon® Stick-N-Washaway™ or a similar transfer paper that can later be dissolved away in water. Once you have your embroidery pattern phrase printed and cut out, you’ll have a sense of how much fabric you need to cut for the 6” or 8” hoop.
For the background succulent fabric, cut enough fabric so that it will hang over the hoop by a good 1” to 1.5” on all sides. You can trim the excess once you are finished with your project.
Next get ready to cut your felt to the size needed for your phrase. Using either a fabric scissors or a rotary cutter with a straight blade, cut a piece of felt to the size you desire. I made mine about 2” deep and as wide as the background fabric. You can use the printed phrase for reference to make sure your felt is the size you need it to be.
Step 2 - Iron HeatnBond® to the felt
HeatnBond® Lite is a sewable, permanent iron-on adhesive that helps affix your two pieces of fabric in place prior to sewing. Use your scissors to cut a piece of HeatnBond® Lite approximately the same size as your felt. It’s ok if the HeatnBond® Lite is smaller than the felt, but it should not hang over any edges. Follow the instructions to bond one side of the HeatnBond® Lite to the felt. Let it cool completely and test to make sure it’s properly bonded before moving on to the next step.
Step 3 - Add a decorative edge to your felt
Using your cutting mat, fabric ruler and scalloped rotary blade, put the felt with the HeatnBond® Lite facing up (paper backing should still be attached) and trim off the excess felt so that the HeatnBond® Lite comes right to the decorative edge. I trimmed my felt to be about 1.5” deep at this point.
Step 4 - Affix your felt to your background succulent fabric
Once your felt is cut to size and the decorative edge is added, you can peel off the paper backing from the HeatnBond® Lite. A thin layer of adhesive should remain on the felt. Flip the felt over so the adhesive is facing down on the background fabric and follow the instructions to iron it in place. Once the fabrics have cooled, check them to make sure the adhesive has bonded.
Step 5 - Put your pattern in place and hand embroider it
The HeatnBond® Lite should provide enough of a bond to stabilize your two fabrics before you hand stitch them together. You’ll be using a running stitch to secure the felt edges to the background succulent fabric. Using the ruler and a water erasable pen, draw a straight line about ⅛” away from each decorative edge of the felt on both the top and bottom. After you’ve put your fabric in an embroidery hoop, use embroidery floss in the color of your choice to stitch a running stitch along the top and bottom edges of the felt. (I used two strands of 3849 for the mint-colored felt and 2 strands of DMC 3842 for the lagoon-colored fabric.) This running stitch will add a decorative element as well as ensure the felt adhesive doesn’t become detached.
Next put your printed embroidery pattern phrase on the fabric where you want it and start stitching according to the instructions in the downloadable pattern.
Step 6 - Rinse out your pattern
Once your stitching is completed, you can remove the fabric from the embroidery hoop and rinse out your pattern. Allow the fabric to dry completely, ironing if needed, and put it back in its embroidery hoop for display. You can check out this blog post for a few ways to finish off the back of your embroidery hoop art. Enjoy!