Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Embroidering with Vintage Emphemera

Vintage ephemera is so charming -- postcards, trade cards, adverts, magazines.  And I have a LOT of it.  It is interesting and fun to see what was popular 100 years ago.  But I sometimes think I should use my collection more in crafting, rather than just enjoying the colorful art and illustration.

I have a few sets of these sweet Arm & Hammer "Useful Birds of America" cards from a century ago.  This is Bullock's Oriole, a bird I have never seen (their range is West of the Mississippi).  But I thought it might make a colorful, embroidered brooch.

I scanned and printed several cards onto a Printed Treasures Printer Fabric Sheet by Prym Dritz.  (Note: these fabric sheets are a bit expensive, but you can also make fabric that will run through your printer using 8 1/2 x 11" freezer paper adhered to a fabric appropriate for crafting -- I have used this method with good results.  Click here for link.)  I used colored pencils to enhance some of the areas that wouldn't be over embroidered, such as the blue sky and the branch and leaves.
Because I wanted to save space and print several pictures onto the fabric, there isn't much space around each picture to hoop the fabric for embroidering.  So, I left the paper on the back of the printed fabric.  I lightly penciled an oval around the selected bird, the size of the pin I wanted to make.  Here is the embroidery started.  I used one strand of six-strand embroidery floss.  Most of the stitches I used were long & short, with a few French knots.

The penciled oval frame was embroidered with a small chain stitch.  The finished embroidery, front and back:
Cut the paper away outside the stitched oval.
Trim the fabric about 1/2" beyond the frame.  Run a doubled gathering thread 1/8 " from edge of trimmed fabric.  Cut two pieces of thin cardboard the shape of your oval pin. 
On one piece of cardboard lightly glue a small oval of thin batting.  On top of that lightly glue a second piece of thin batting, cut the size of the cardboard.
Insert batting-covered cardboard inside embroidery and pull up gathers tightly.
With Beacon FabricTac glue pinback to the second piece of cardboard.  Mark a small scrap of Ultrasuede where the hinge and hook will come through the Ultrasuede.  Cut two small slits where the marks were made.
Using Beacon FabricTac, cover cardboard and flat part of pinback.  Press Ultrasuede firmly onto the cardboard.
When glue is thoroughly dry, trim Ultrasuede.  I also like to color the edge of the cardboard oval.  This may be a little ocd tidy.
Place the embroidery face down on a towel.  Spread glue on back of the Ultrasuede oval.  Press it down really hard on the back of the embroidered piece.  Really hard.  You want the edges of both pieces to firmly adhere to each other.  That is why I use a towel, so the embroidery will not flatten under pressure. 
Here is the finished embroidery.  I think it came out fairly well, for a first attempt.   The pin measures 1 3/4" wide.
Some more birds from the set: 


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