Claire uses her sewing machine to make her embroideries, carefully mixing threads to produce the final image.

water solube film embroidery









Drawing on water soluble film worked with free machine embroidery in various shades of Madeira classic no 40


machine embroidery









Work in progress embroidery on the Bernina Artista 180

Claire admits she has a love hate relationship with her sewing machine, sometimes it is hard to get the creative balance right.

This can lead to much artisitic frustration and swapping to other machines. Claire's favorite is her trusty Janome followed closley by her Bernina Artista.

The sewing machine is cleaned free of lint or fluff before sewing to eliminate any squeaks or tension problems.  Claire uses a size 14 needle because they are more robust for dense stitching.  The feeder teeth or feed dogs are dropped or covered with a special plate and straight stitch selected. 

It is best to do a small sample to see if the tension is right. It is very easy to spoil a beautiful embroidery and much harder to unpick later. 

Claire pins her prepared water soluble film drawing onto the fabric at this stage the work looks like painting by numbers.  She always uses a hoop to stitch as it gives greater control and also prevents the fabric from distorting too much or the sewing of stray fingers.

She prefers to stitch onto thick linen or cotton canvas called cotton duck or bull denim, sometimes stitching onto fine organza if the work is to be appliquéd at a later stage.  Claire stitches a small area at a time using the soluble film drawing as a guide.

When the embroidery is finished the work is washed in warm water to remove the water soluble film.  It may need rinsing again to remove any sticky residue as this could dry hard and change the appearance of the embroidery thread. 

Whilst damp the work is then damp pressed with a cloth to flatten out any distortions caused by dense areas of stitch.  This tends to flatten the texture of the embroidery a little bit.

If Claire needs to change the colour of the background she sometimes dyes the whole background after stitching is complete. This bleeds into the stitches and produces some interesting effects, if a bit risky!

If she is unhappy with the tonal values or shadows of the embroidery, Claire will use dye to enhance the final result.  This final process can dramatically alter the mood of the piece.  The work will need ironing again to set the dye.  She usually uses Dylon fabric paint or acrylic ink to add any final touches.

Sometimes Claire will also quilt the piece and add some beading to bring the embroidery to life.  The work is stretched or bonded onto a background ready for framing.