There are moments you start working on something and you know just from the get-go that this is not going to be the smoothest project you ever worked on. As a matter of fact, this was so far from starting off smoothly, I figured the whole thing would be a wash. It's true that it didn't turn out exactly as I wished, but I'm hesitant to call it a craft fail. After all, I got what I was going for: a bookmark made out of felt with an embroidered design on it.
Not too bad, right? Does it look like a peacock feather to you, because that's what it is. The pattern is actually from an Aimee Ray book, Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection. I photocopied it and that's when it all started going downhill.
Here's what happened: after I photocopied it, I figured I could just put it on a light box with a piece of felt over it and trace it. I don't know if you will really be able to tell from any of the pictures, but the felt I chose has a nice heathered quality about it. A soft interplay of light purples and blues. I figured that would be perfect to complement a peacock feather. The good news: it is. The bad news: between the already naturally uneven texture of felt and the heathering, the pattern was in no way discernable for tracing. I wasn't too stressed out though. "I have transfer paper," I thought. "I'll just trace over it from the front." Or not. It was like the paper wasn't leaving any deposit of carbon at all (or if it was, it was so faint I didn't have a prayer of seeing it when I actually went to embroider it). I then turned to a transfer pen I have: draw over the design, flip it over, and iron it onto the fabric: ta-da! Just like a regular transfer! The pen is purple ink. Oh. That didn't show up either. In desperation (because I REALLY wanted this peacock design), I just started poking the pen through the paper at critical points believing I could connect the dots. I came out with this nightmare:
As you can see from the picture, I managed to sort of mock it up. There were some weird lines and bumps, though, that I knew I'd just have to fake while I was actually working the piece. I also saw I had some much wider lines in some areas so I knew I wouldn't get the fine feathery feel I was going for. So I chose to do a stem stitch. Not only does it come out wider (at least when I do it), it also seemed like it would give the feeling of motion and distract from the nonsense I'd accidentally created. I also knew I wanted to have that iridescent look that peacock feathers have, but I knew I couldn't deal with metallic thread (I'd already been through too much). I opted instead to take two shades of variegated DMC thread and use those to trick the eye. While I wasn't thrilled with my ultimate stitch selection, I did really like the variegated thread combo. I just felt the two together were too much.
The completed patch came out to 2.25" x 4.75". Once again, that size was based solely off this design, although I don't think it's a bad size. If you make one of your own, note that it would fit quite well in a paperback sized book.
I then felt I should connect it to a backing fabric so the stitching would be covered up. A bigger piece of felt is perfectly sufficient for this and serves the double purpose of being very thin next to the binding (I hate really cracking book bindings). I wanted about .5" border all the way around, so naturally I cut a piece that was 2.75" x 5.25". Perfect! To connect the two, I decided I didn't want any more stitching and went with my old friend hot glue again (just a thin border of it so I don't have anything too bulky inside the book).
Overall, I'm still pleased with the project. I still consider it easy and I encourage you to try (and let me see it, of course). You know, this whole Felt February business is still going on. There's still time for you to participate and get added to a special blog roll. Participation through Twitter and Instagram is really simple, too. Just be sure to add #feltfeb to your description!