Embroidery Journal: repurposing old works as pages. Tutorial.

textile journal

If you don't know what to stitch and don't want to start anything big, do some small stitching and turn it into a journal :) A tutorial inside!

*Do you remember the embroidery art journal that I've made recently? It's getting a sibling! :)*

I'm currently going through a little creative... confusion. It wouldn't be correct to call it a “block” because, in fact, the problem is that I have far too many ideas for projects, patterns, courses outlined in my notebook and I just don't know what to do and what to prioritize :D

So let's call it confusion.


But since I don't want to sit and be completely unproductive, I decided to start with a new embroidery journal! And it's hard to express just how much I'm excited with it :D

Actually, in current circumstances, I suggest you try and do something like that too!

Nowadays, many of us are limited in resources, materials, and instruments. It may be difficult to source and prepare everything for a big and serious project. Besides, starting a big project in uncertain times can be a little nerve-wracking in itself (I feel like this is exactly the reason for my confusion... don't feel like starting anything significant and weighty right now).

textile journal

So why not dig into your stash and try and use all the materials, thread, ribbons, fabrics that you have stored at home but never found a way to use them? Why not take your old works and make pages for a little cozy book? :)

I feel like that's going to be my coping mechanism in the next several weeks and I invite you to join me if you need some lighthearted creative outlet.

My New Journal

textile journal

textile journal

textile journal

embroidery journal

embroidery journal

Well, these are just two pages!

And they will probably be somewhere in the middle, I don't feel like putting them at the very start.

Last time, I prepared all the pages first, and only then I “bound” them all together in a journal. But this time, I want to make pages and join them together little by little, and only when I feel satisfied with the size of the book, to make the cover.

By the way, you can find some of the works from the pages in my creations tag.

textile book

The size of the new journal is bigger than the first one because I had to adjust it to the old works that I wanted to incorporate.

textile book

And I decided to change the way I make pages. Last time I stitched them together from the back and turned inside out. Because of that, they look a little “inflated” which I don't really like. So, this time I used buttonhole stitch to work the edges which made the pages flatter.

These two pages are the easiest because I just needed to cut them the necessary size and work the edges.

The REAL fun will start when I will have to find ways of making pages out of smaller works which will probably call for collages, applique and all that exciting stuff! Yay!

How To Make A Fabric Page: Tutorial

Yesterday I took pictures of how I made one of the pages to show you that there's nothing difficult!

You only need to know buttonhole stitch.

First of all, you need to cut the pieces according to the size of your book. When we use buttonhole, it doesn't change the size of the page so you don't need to add any extra length.

However, remember that one of the sides will be used for “spine” so it needs to have at least 0.5cm available for that.

You can see here that I already have one of the page's “faces” ready with its edge worked in buttonhole stitch.

Despite the simplicity of the stitch, it is still quite effective in preventing fraying. This is quilting cotton so it doesn't fray that much and I could make my buttonhole spacious. But if you take a fabric that is very prone to fraying, it is better to make your buttonhole stitching dense or use fusible interfacing at the back.

Working the edge with buttonhole stitch

So, you take ONE of the “faces” of the page and work the edge of three sides. The three sides that will be outside. The one side that will be connected to the spine will stay raw for now.

You start your thread (either by a knot or by anchoring stitches like I did) 3-5mm below the edge.

You insert the needle near the starting point, all in one horizontal line, and you tuck the thread under the needle.

After you pull through, you repeat the previous step: insert the needle next to the previous point and tuck your thread under the needle.

And keep going like this.

I'm bad at eye-measuring, so my stitches are jumping a little, don't mind that :)

Now that we have one face of the page worked, turn it over so that the backside is up. Now take the other face of the page and put on top, so that the backsides meet. Look at which 3 sides you need to work now.

Remember to align the two faces correctly so that when you flip the page, nothing will be upside down!

So, one side will be connected to the spine. And the three other sides you will work the following way (it is a little different):

Each time you insert the needle in the fabric, slide it under the buttonhole edging on the other side.

Don't grab any fabric of the other “face”! It can result in bad fraying. Only slide the needle under the thread.

And tuck the thread under the needle, like usual.

This is how it will look like from the other side. The edging of the second “face” will be a little more prominent, that's normal.

Joining two pages

When you have two pages ready, you can join them together. Take their “spine” sides, baste them together with running stitch and then work regular buttonhole edging.

Here's the result.

Expect more tutorials and reports on the new pages that I make! Hope you find some inspiration to start yours too :)

Take care and stay home!

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