2014-02-27 / Lifestyles

Embroidery makes gifts personlized

Celebrations take place throughout the year. Be it birthdays or anniversaries, these celebrations often entail giving gifts. But exchanging tokens of affection need not be exclusive to lavish affairs or special occasions. Sometimes gifts can be given to show thanks or as tokens of friendship.

Embroidery dates back several centuries and has been utilized across the globe. Processes used to mend and reinforce cloth eventually evolved into sewing as a form of art. While embroidery can be functional, reinforcing seams and edging, it is largely decorative and was once used to indicate high social class in the medieval Islamic world, Europe and other areas.

Embroidery can be used to depict shapes, designs or intricate pictures onto many types of fabric. Various forms of embroidery exist and utilize different stitches and thread types. People looking to give a special touch to gifts can use embroidery to place monograms or images onto items. In addition to hand work, today there are sewing machines that have presets for embroidery stitching and patterns. The following are just a few ways to put embroidery to use.

* You can add monograms to everything from towels to pillowcases to handkerchiefs. Use a lightcolored fabric pencil or chalk to draw the outline of the name or initials, then use stitching to trace over the name.

* Turn plain clothing into items with more detail by embroidering around the collar, cuffs or hemline. The same technique can be used to embellish children’s toys.

* Use metallic embroidery floss to add flair to slippers for a bride. This way she can slip into more comfortable footwear for the festivities.

* Embroider bibs or onesies with whimsical patterns or funny sayings for babies. These items can be worn and then put away as decorative keepsakes later on.

* Create your own seasonal display items, such as holiday-themed hand towels or napkins. By purchasing plain towels and doing the embroidery work yourself, you’ll save money and will have a truly customizable item.

* Embroidery can be used to label backpacks or sports bags, making them easily recognizable to children and adults.

* Knowledge of embroidery can be used to make costumes for Halloween or school pageants and plays that much more intricate.

* Needlepoint and coss-stitching -- particular sects of embroidery -- can be used to create detailed images on pillows and other items. Embroidered fabric can be framed and hung as artwork as well.

You will need some special supplies to create beautiful embroidered items. Depending on the type of embroidery done, needles and embroidery floss (thread) will be used in various thicknesses and weights that correspond to the thickness of the fabric. Heavily embroidered designs may necessitate embroidery stabilizer fabric that is used to add stability to thinner fabrics and to better hold stitchwork. Stabilizers are commonly used with machine-produced embroidery designs. An embroidery hoop will help keep an area of fabric pulled taut while it is being stitched.

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