Poppy Embroideries

My spring coat is finally finished! While it’s too late for spring, I hope that by wearing it in fall the feeling of summer will be extended a bit. This was a big project!     2016-07-03-11.53.22-8I decided to copy an old favorite unlined coat. I always pull it out between seasons because the single ply of wool is the perfect weight, but it’s grey and looks a little blah in spring. However, the oversized fit gives enough room for anything from dolman sleeves to another layer beneath. To celebrate spring, I wanted embroidered poppies around the hem of the coat. I looked all over for the set of embroideries I evisioned in my mind, but to no avail. Just as I was giving up, my neighbor’s poppies began to bloom! I have software. I can draw. YES, I can do this!

The first step was to take some snapshots of her poppies. I wanted red poppies and some were golden, but as long as the values are there you can change the color later.PoppyBThe second step was to simplify the photograph into a line drawn cartoon. This needed to be done since the number of embroidery threads used should be kept down to a reasonable number. I have a single thread embroidery machine, so I need to rethread for each color and the final embroideries have about 14 colors.   drawing-webThe third step is to scan the freehand cartoon and open it up as a layer in a drawing program like Adobe Illustrator, then complete a vector drawing. The embroidery software I purchased from Husqvarna Viking has a drawing module that is fairly simple to use, but I’m used to the feature rich Illustrator. This part takes awhile, at least for me. I spent time fussing around with the composition by moving the flowers, changing their sizes and even moving flowers from one photo to another to balance. There are three separate embroideries on the coat plus some small designs for the buttons and the collar.      poppies1_042316 I make all of this sound very straightforward but the truth is I’d never attempted such a complex project, and most steps had to be done more than once. The good thing is that I continued to find faster ways to accomplish my goals. Next time should be much more efficient!

After the drawing is done the embroidery software takes over. The basics of the software are incredibly easy. Just point your mouse to an area and the software will fill that area with the embroidery pattern of your choice! Of course, that wasn’t good enough for me…I wanted shading, and the stitches to change direction on the petals, and satin stitch on the stems, and different weights of black outline. You get the picture, I basically nerded out for hours, and here are the final stitch outs before I put them on my coat.

I didn’t want the back of the embroidery to show inside the coat, and I was running out of fabric! I found a length that was uneven along the top and almost the width of the bottom hem. I then let this found shape lead me to the placement of the embroideries and the curve of the pocket. I like letting the fabric make decisions for me, and I think the pockets came out better than the straight ones that I’d planned. If you look closely you can see the bottom hem is actually two layers.2016-07-03-11.55.24-19


I also designed matching embroidered buttons!2016-07-03-11.50.53-2

For the asymmetrical collar, I copied a few of the previously designed poppies and had them land in the corners. Now all I have to do is wait for some cooler weather!


35 thoughts on “Poppy Embroideries

  1. I love everything about this coat. The pocket shape is wonderful and your embroidery is over-the-top spectacular. WOW your work shifts home machine embroidery onto a whole new level.

  2. Well, I’m pretty late to the party here but I just have to put in that your work on this project inspired me on so many levels! Thank you for sharing this and giving so many details. I’m completely Adobe anything challenged, I admire that part of your work but the whole concept and execution are exemplary! Brava!!

  3. Really beautiful and cheerful. You will love wearing that in the spring. Good for you to nerd through the details!

  4. Just brilliant – this type of embroidery takes sewing to another level and I love the unique quality of the design. Totally amazing.

  5. WOW! Yes, you CAN draw! And sew and puzzle things out, and work the heck out of your embroidery machine. Gorgeous!!!


    First I thought it said PUPPIES. I was so excited.

    This is just crazy amazing mind blowing nerd genius.

    Words fail me!!





  7. Such a beautiful coat! Love the way you used the computer to help you with the design and then embroidered it to bring it to life. Poppies are very seasonal. Check out Mucha’s Seasons prints – Summer is wearing bright red poppies in her hair!

  8. What a beautiful piece of wearable art you have created! Thanks for the description of your process to develop the embroidery. Very artistic!

  9. This is unbelievable!!! Absolutely beautiful. Everything you do amazes me. I wish I had your computer/technical skills. Fabulous.

  10. Fabulous coat!! You’re inspiring me to make one, although I live in a state where a coat is needed one day a year – maybe, Still want to make one just like yours. Thank you for sharing the embroidery process.

  11. Love, Love, Love this. You are a rock star to accomplish such an amazing achievement, your first time, no less. Wow!

  12. This is so awesome! I just love all of it, the process, the nerd-ness, and most of all the final result. Incredible work

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