Last month, I assisted a friend of mine in teaching embroidery at a local craft camp. Embroidery is one of those crafts I picked up somewhere, but never formally "learned" how to do. I have a couple of lovely books with useful stitches and a few cool patterns I've collected over the years, but for me, embroidery had never seemed like a craft I really knew how to make my own. In fact, it wasn't until my embroidery teacher pal shared a tip with me, that I realized how quick and meaningful embroidery can be.Flash forward a few weeks to the day of my niece's birthday. It was hours from her party, and I was without a gift. I was feeling the pressure of delivering big on my meager budget and ridiculous (self-imposed) deadline. My niece, only nine years old, is one heck of a blossoming chef. I had picked up a couple of children's cookbooks for her on sale months before, but it wasn't enough. She has a lot of siblings, and I wanted something that she could identify as HER OWN. Something that would allow her to stand out. Something personalized.
I hopped in the car and hit up the nearest Smart & Final to pick up a $7.00 cotton apron. If I could quickly stitch her name on an apron using some of the embroidery floss I'd squirreled away over the years, I could give her a cohesive present that was thoughtful and unique. My handwriting is pretty lousy, so I was extremely reluctant to write out her name directly on the apron before stitching...
ENTER: THE EMBROIDERY TIP
If you are short on time and have sloppy, illegible handwriting (like I do) a great way to transfer letting onto your material before embroidering it, is by typing up your desired words, phrases etc. on your personal computer, in your favorite application (Word, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.,) holding the fabric right up to the computer screen and using it as a make-shift light box! The light from your monitor will shine through the fabric. Using a pencil and a light touch, you can then trace the letters- fancy fonts and all- right onto your fabric! It's quick, it's cheap and it really allows you to personalize your embroidery without too much time or money!
One note about this: I would not recommend pressing your pencil down hard against your screen while transferring letters if your computer does not have a hard-glass surface.
When my niece opened up her present (about 20 minutes after I'd finished working on it!) she was thrilled! She wore the apron for the rest of the night and offered to cook dinner for me and my husband while wearing her special threads.
Her siblings have since been dropping not-so-subtle hints that they too would like their own custom aprons. Even though neither of them cares a fig about cooking.
If it hadn't been for the quick transfer tip that my teacher pal had shared with me, who KNOWS what my niece's apron would have looked like. Big thanks to her for helping me be a great aunt with this great embroidery tip as my secret weapon!