Well I think I’m going to be a much happier camper at 10pm tonight then last night. It’s been a pretty productive day and I even had time to snap a few pics while finishing up this tester gnome. I’ve been getting lots of questions lately about how to embroider the face on an already stuffed head. You know, with no knot. Here’s how I do it.

I insert the needle in the face a few inches from where I want to start embroidering and bring it up at the starting point leaving a tail at the entry point.

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then I send the last stitch a few inches away from the end and up through the face. I snip the ends at the surface, smush them down inside the face and rub the fabric to blend away the needle holes.

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Hope that makes sense!

see you tomorrow :)

**updated to add: no, no knot my way and no, I haven’t had any problems but yes, it’s not as secure as knotted methods. read through the comments for other great tips including much more secure sounding methods, especially the neat bend the rules sewing way. gotta try that!

29 thoughts on “Sunday

  1. Tiffany Harvey says:

    Love the unibrow, haha 😉
    Do you not add knots at the start & stop? I would worry about it unraveling myself.
    A tip for snipping the ends ~ if you pull on the thread a little, then snip it at the surface, it will slip inside on its own as it relaxes.

  2. analilia says:

    i can’t wait to get started on making these cute gnomes! and thank you for showing us how you embroider the face, but i’m still not sure if we make any knots or not. i worry that the stitches would come out.

  3. Christina says:

    How interesting. I usually do a smaller knot and come in at a seam, I find if I tug, the knot slips in and then holds in the stuffing. To end, I come out again at a seam and then sometimes go back in again and out a few times before snipping it off.

  4. eesh says:

    From Bend-the-rules Sewing, Amy suggests threading the needle with both ends of the thread sticking out of the hole on the same side. Then you make a small stitch and pass the needle thru the loop.
    Also someone mentioned that when you pull on the thread then cut it at the surface it does slip under and you don’t have to smush it to make it go in.

  5. mijk says:

    I put a very small knot and pull the needle hard trough the backside of the head so the knot goes through the fabric and then I pull very gently till it is under the fabric on the front. I can start embroidering then.. less sophisticated way I have to admitt.

  6. Melanie says:

    The thing eesh described is what I do – essentially, you’re tying a larks head knot through a little bit of fabric. It’s called a ‘loop start’ in cross stitching, and is very handy. For ending, I usually tie a little knot and then tug it through the fabric. Not very elegant, but I like to have it a bit more secure :)

  7. Hayley says:

    Thank you so much! :) I have a couple of projects yet to finish, all due to the fact that my poor little softies have no faces, because I just couldn’t figure out the ‘knot’ thing. So thanks! That’ll be a couple of Christmas presents that will now get finished!

  8. vmc says:

    The Bend-the-Rules sewing technique is great; my softie faces looked awful before using that technique. Usually when you thread a needle and double the thread, the needle is at the bend in the thread where you’ve doubled it. Instead, thread the two loose ends through the needle with the fold in the thread at the opposite end. Stick the needle through the fabric, but keep the loop on the outside. Then when you bring the needle to the right side, thread the needle and two loose ends through the loop. Pull tight. Voila, parfait!

  9. Pamela says:

    I use this method. If my thread isn’t too thick or colourful to be conspicuous, I anchor it by backstitching in a seam (where hopefully it won’t show) then harpooning my needle through to where I want to start embroidering (a long needle helps). I do the same thing to secure the ends after I’ve finished embroidering too. You have to be careful not to pull the yarn too tight when moving the needle from the seam to the point where you want to start your embroidery, so you don’t get puckers, but otherwise it works okay. Actually, it’s not necessary to go to so much trouble most of the time, but useful if you’re nervous about tinies tugging at the embroidery.

  10. sharleen says:

    I was wondering how to do this on Olive and Archie and ended up doing exactly what you do. I was worried about it unravelling as well.

  11. Jacqui says:

    I’m _so_ glad this topic has come up when it did, I’m making up a bunch of Olives and Archies for Christmas presents and the whole face embroidery thing had me worried. My first Olive’s face is perfectly ok, but the execution wasn’t exactly elegant. One thing that I wondered though, why not just do the faces before you sew front and back together and stuff? I’m assuming that there is a reason that the seemingly easiest way isn’t the method? Please someone enlighten me before I try it and stuff up!

  12. Kate says:

    I wondered why you didn’t just do the face before sewing them together too! But I think it makes it easier to get the face ‘right’ if you do it after they are sewn together – because you get the positioning of the eyes etc better when the softie is stuffed and more 3 dimensional. If you did it beforehand you might stuff the doll and then find out that the eyes are too far apart or the nose is to low, and it might look a bit funny. I used a knot for my Olive doll and positioned it either in the seem or just under a piece of felt, and it came out ok, but I’m intrigued by all these other methods and am about to make a few more for gifts so I’ll be experimenting!

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