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Tips for combining embroidery and epp

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The idea for this post came when I was working on the Christmas stocking for the Night before Christmas Sew along hosted by Lauren @mollyandmama. I added a cross stitch panel to the hexagon stocking and many people commented that they liked the way I included the embroidery.



Embroidery and epp... They are made for each other. Both are beautiful examples of hand work.

Many of us have small bits and pieces of vintage embroidery in our stash that are precious. But what to do with them? Actually from those small embroidery pieces and a pile of scraps you can make beautiful things.


One of my recent makes was a sweet needle book where I upcycled a linen lavender sachet with embroidery. It was too pretty to be locked in the closet. So I cut it up, added 1/2 inch hexies from Liberty fabric and vintage embroidery for the inner pockets.









I am going to use a small piece of embroidery to show you what you need to consider when combining embroidery and epp.


1. Size of embroidery piece

My piece measures approximately 5 inches square with embroidery 2 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches. If the fabric is thin and worn you can add iron-on fusible interfacing to the back.





Use different sizes and epp shapes to see which one fits better and compliments the embroidery rather than dominates..





I will use 1/2 inch hexagons to frame my piece.


2. Color scheme

I try to match the colors of embroidery and epp.

For example, in the photo below the colors of Liberty hexies match the colors of flowers in the wreath and I placed similar colored hexagons closer to the same colors in embroidery.


For the embroidery I am working on, I will use Tilda scraps. They match perfectly in color. I also would like to see how that fabric works on small scale because I usually use Liberty fabric for tiny epp.





3. Prepare your epp shapes

Some prefer thread basting while others use glue.

Here is what works for me.

I print my hexagon templates on regular paper and cut them out. I always glue baste the epp shapes with Sewline glue stick. Just apply some glue along the edge of paper but not too much and not too close to the edge and fold the seam allowance.



4. Deciding on the frame shape

First, I always look at the embroidery design and try to repeat at least a part of it in the shape of frame. If design is round, the round frame would be a good choice. But I always lean towards asymmetric designs because they have their own beauty in nonuniform shape. Don´t be afraid to experiment and make several layouts, take photos and then choose what you like the most.


For example, in the bear cross stitch panel the stick he is holding, is calling for some asymmetry.



My embroidery piece is round, so here is what I came up with.



You can also add more hexies to see how the panel would look like.

5. Stitching epp panel

It is a matter of personal preference what thread or needle you use. The general rule - the finer the thread and needle, the more invisible your stitches are.

I prefer Tulip Milliners Straw needles #10 Big eye. When it comes to the thread I tried many different types and and for now Gutermann Tera 180 is my thread choice.

I prefer stitching my hexagons in pairs first and then in rows. But with this piece, I first stitched the frame, then the upper and bottom rows and then the sides, then stitched them all together.



Once the epp panel is ready, give it a good press from both sides.






6. Appliqueing the epp panel onto the embroidery piece

Don´t remover the papers until you applique the panel. Stitching with papers in gives you a nice crisp edge. Pin the epp panel to embroidery piece.





Use the thread that matches in color with embroidery background fabric, it makes your stitching less visible. Use tiny stitches and try to insert the needle right at the edge of the epp.




Once you are done with the applique, lift the embroidery panel and carefully remove the papers. Cut out the excess of background fabric on embroidery piece and give it a good press with steam (don´t iron as it might distort the epp).






Now you can transform your panel into something beautiful! I am thinking of making a drawstring pouch from mine.



I hope you will find these tips helpful. If you would like to share your work, please, tag me @nordiccrafter on Instagram!

Happy stitching!






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