I know Valentine’s Day is not on everyone’s “favorite holidays” list, but I think regardless of your stance on the day, you’ll love this little tutorial I’ve got for you! I dreamed up this idea months and months ago, and it’s been languishing in my sketchbook, waiting to come to life. I finally gathered up all the supplies and picked out a sweater from my wardrobe that would be worthy of embellishment. I love how this turned out, and dare say I’ll be wearing it at times other than Valentine’s Day…
*Other Ideas for Garments to Embellish (Or, Sweaters Aren’t the Only Option!)
- blouse (try making the design smaller and simplifying the arrow lines and using this on the collar!)
- skirt (apply near the hem of a flirty little, knee length skirt)
- felt beret (stitch on for a bit of color and whimsy!)
- cloth handbag/tote/bookbag
- tshirt (would look so fun stitched to the back, upper sleeve or even near the hem on a tshirt!)
- tweed blazer (for a bit of romantic-preppy)
**Tear-Away Stabilizer: I used a pre-packaged stabilizer I picked up at the fabric store. But you could also use tissue or tracing paper. I find, however, that the pre-packaged stabilizer is a bit easier to work with when embellishing a knit fabric.
Begin by printing out this pattern. Make sure your printer’s settings are set at 100% scaling. Of course, if you’d like the motif smaller or larger, you can adjust accordingly. (It’s a good idea to print the motif off, and see how it relates to the scale of the garment you’re embellishing.)
Trace the motif onto the stabilizer. Set aside for now. Using the printed motif, cut around the heart. Pin to the felt and cut a heart from the felt.
Pin the heart to the sweater where you’d like the motif. (I chose the left upper chest, but you could do this on the back, hem or even an upper sleeve!) Using a doubled thread to match the felt, begin stitching the heart to the sweater using a running stitch. As you stitch, pick up a bead with the needle and attach to the front of the heart. This way you’ll outline the heart with beads as you stitch it down!
With the stabilizer-traced motif, pin to the sweater overtop the felt heart, aligning the traced heart to the felt one. Baste with a single thread the stabilizer to the material.
Using a doubled thread to match the metallic beads, begin outlining the arrow. To do this, bring the thread up through the front of the material, pick up a few beads (3 or so) and bring the needle down through the fabric with enough space to allow the beads to lie flat. Bring the needle back up where you originally started this stitch, and run the thread through the beads another time. Pick up a few more beads and repeat. Essentially you’re backstitching the beads to the sweater so they’re extra secure! Be sure to tie off the thread at the back of the sweater well whenever you run out of thread.
I found with beading the arrow on my sweater, it was helpful to work in sections: the long, straight lines first, then the arrow tip, then the tail.
Once you’ve beaded the arrow, it’s time to remove the stabilizer! Carefully begin tearing away the stabilizer from the beading. Go slowly, so you don’t accidently rip any of the beads out. You may need tweezers to help pull out some of the small bits of stabilizer.
That’s it! Super easy, isn’t it? This is a great project for an evening–it only takes a few hours. Just remember when cleaning the garment you stitched this on that many felts don’t have stable dyes, and will shrink easily if machine washed. So probably gently handwashing or dry cleaning your garment when needed would be the best option (always test a small scrap of felt if in doubt!). I hope you enjoyed this, and of course I’d be more than delighted if you made it up and sent me a photo of how it turned out!