More than a hobby, this craft can become a real help for those who want to improve their self-esteem, work on their patience and relax. While harnessing creativity and design. Here we explain how to start and how not to embroider without thread.
It may be that every time you see a small painting, a cushion cover, or a jacket interspersed with beautiful embroidery, a curious insect sprouts inside you and the results you obtain from the embroidery are sometimes very impressive, especially when it comes to Freestyle embroidery, a technique with which you can express your creativity, as well as part of your personality. When the stitches are given by conviction and intuition and the prolixity often fades along the way in favor of these more explosive results.
The best thing about this technique is that it can be practiced by both beginner and experienced seamstresses. This is exactly what attracted Javiera Schuffeneger, a graphic designer who worked for several years in the digital areas of advertising agencies. Although his interests were also in analog.
“It always caught my attention and I had skills in anything to do with crafts and doing things with my hands,” he says. She wanted to take a ceramics class, but her budget was just enough to get into an embroidery class. “That’s where I jumped,” he said.
Punch needle: what it is and how to get started in this relaxing embroidery technique
There she not only learned, but also changed her life: today she works in embroidery and workshops, she has a shop in Pucón —where she has been living for two years— and her project BordaeTuMadre He has over 90,000 followers on Instagram. The space is in a mall surrounded by nature. “If you are an embroiderer, in this place you will find yourself in paradise.” In addition to her work, she sells fabrics, wool, needles, frames, fabrics, scissors and all the necessary for embroidery at a fair price. “These are things you don’t find easily here, where access to materials is more limited and much more expensive,” he says.
What she loved most about free embroidery, and what led her to devote herself entirely to it, is “that it does not limit creativity”. When doing traditional embroidery, like cross stitch or crewel, you have to follow certain patterns or directions, always with the same material. On the other hand, with free embroidery, as its adjective says, the opposite happens. “If you are bored with yarn, you can use beads; if you are tired, you can apply paint, etc. he says. “It gives you space to do whatever you want.”
Can we leave without ever taking a needle?
Of course! In fact, they are the students that Javiera likes the most in her workshops, because they only come to learn. “You don’t need anything to get started, neither prior knowledge nor drawing or design skills,” he says.
She likes to teach the technique by intuition, letting herself be carried away by the colors. “I like to greet new people by saying ‘relax, create, pick whatever colors you want, don’t limit yourself, don’t put up barriers thinking you’re not that good at these things. It just takes desire and will.” Although if you think about it, the only thing needed from start to finish is patience, although it is a skill that can be learned.
Starting from the back stitch
To start, Javiera suggests learning the safety net. “It’s a base point with which you can create anything. In fact, it may be the only thing in life that tires you, but even so, you can do cool effects and super beautiful work,” he says.
Doing it is simple, or at least that’s what it looks like in a YouTube tutorial. To start, you make a purl stitch and take one step forward. Then you bury the needle in front and take another step forward, this time from behind. You remove the needle and go back to the previous stitch, bury the needle and come back behind it. Thus, you move forward in the drawing as if you were stepping back in the canvas. Although it sounds complex, it’s easier than it looks, and it’s explained very well in the following tutorial.
The idea is to be able to play with longer spikes and shorter spikes. Also with different colors, generating lights and shadows. “With this stitch, you can loosen your hand and then learn more complicated stitches, like French knot, rococo, picot or other stitches with volume and weave,” he suggests.
Basic materials to start
The materials needed to start free embroidery are few and very simple: a piece of fabric, a needle and thread. “With this, you can now compose tracks from scratch,” says Javiera. The ideal, but not essential, is to have a framework, “which will help you to make this process much more user-friendly”.
The role of the stretcher is to stretch the fabric, which is why “it makes the work neater, prettier, without creases, it tidies up the work table more and it will be easier to go and compose the spaces that become empty or they are very stuffed.”
India plastic frame 12 cm
There are also other accessories that can help the process, says Schuffeneger, “like special pencils, to transfer the design onto the fabric, or different scissors that embroiderers love, because there are collectible ones, different colors and sizes.” .
As for the needle, with the classic sewing kit you just have to start. As you learn and improve in embroidery, yes, it is worth investing in better and more comfortable needles. “Finally, it is the needle that defines the sharpness of your embroidery”, specifies the designer of Bordaetumadre.
“If you’re using a bad needle that’s dull and doesn’t make holes big enough for your thread to fit and glide well, it will show in the result.” For the same reason, he recommends that if you want to have a good bill at work, working with good needles is essential. “It’s even more important than a good yarn,” he says.
Here are Japanese needles, with a long eye to facilitate threading and a very pointed tip, ideal for embroidering with fine threads. “These needles,” they tell the Revesderecho store, “will easily pull long threads through tight fabrics.”
Premium Hemline Chenille Needle #18-22 (pack of 6)
Benefits of embroidery
Embroidery, in addition to training, can be therapeutic. This is not a hippie belief, but a scientifically based certainty. “These types of activities help you focus your attention and concentration on a single task, so they’re great for relaxing but also for boosting your creativity and psychomotor development,” Schuffeneger shares.
It also promotes self-esteem, which is no less in a time of insecurity, anxiety and low self-confidence. “In a short time, you will be able to see that you are able to embroider something and it improves your perception of yourself. However small, a small flower, or until you can already intervene your clothes; These are benefits that improve self-esteem,” he says.
A study from the University of Brighton found that embroidery can promote a significant shift in some people’s mental health, “bringing meaning to everyday life through an endeavor that involves body, mind, and materials.” Although solitary, it is a relationship between person, needle and tissue, which develops over time and is offered as an avenue of therapeutic potential,” they conclude.
Impatience or insecurity, says Schuffeneger, is something most people who attend his workshop come with. But after a while, he gets over it. “There are people who speak of embroidery as a new form of meditation: concentrating on a task and passing the needle through the fabric again and again; pay attention to the sounds of the thread going through the fabric or the sound of the scissors cutting a material; the smell of recently purchased yarn: these are all stimuli that will promote your emotional development and your creativity,” she explains.
“With embroidery you can let go of your limitations, the belief that we are not creative or good at work. You have to remove the barriers that you impose on yourself, this syndrome of the imposter that is watching you, and dare to explore this technique which, surely, will bring you a lot of advantages in the future”, he explains.
Where to learn?
Do you want to try freestyle embroidery? Javiera Schuffeneger has a Online course on the Crehana platform. “You can learn at your own pace. Pause, rewind, forward. You can do the workshop in a week or in two years, it doesn’t matter”. Before the pandemic, he only did face-to-face classes, but this platform allowed him to spread his wave of knowledge to any part of the world. “It was a springboard that helped me to publicize the technique and my work,” he says.
*Prices for products in this item are updated as of March 3, 2023. Values and availability may change
I am David Jack and I have been working in the news industry for over 10 years. As an experienced journalist, I specialize in covering sports news with a focus on golf. My articles have been published by some of the most respected publications in the world including The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge with others through my writing and speaking engagements at various events around the country.