Embroidery Questions

Hi All,

I recently got a tunic (Pictured below) I was hoping to use for my kit and I was hoping to embroider some runes onto the edges of it.

I am completely new to embroidery and was wondering if you had any decent tips or advice?

Is there any services for other people to embroidery designs I send them on clothes?

If you embroider yourself do you use machines or hand embroidery? And is there any specific materials that work best for this (The tunic itself is made from canvas, 100% cotton)?

Any advice or suggestions is very welcome.

Hi there :smiley:

I do some embroidery and I can tell you what I’d do but I’m self taught so take it with a pinch of salt.

First, thread, on canvas I’d use crochet wool, it comes in every colour and it’s nice and cheap. It’s quite thick so you get a good effect and it isn’t as annoying as silk which tries to tangle and untangle itself if you take your eyes off it for one second. I like this thread https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DCM4PTK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc_QM91QQ1Z26A4C394VWZ3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Stitches, I use back stitch mostly, you can whip it if you want it to have a higher, round appearance or chain stitch if you want to cover more area and add texture. There are tons of beautiful stitches, you can find excellent tutorials on YouTube, but you don’t need to, plain backstitch looks amazing

You’ll want to get a couple of good needles, for wool, I like these ones https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GV6GPGG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc_T7RM6KKTP7VDDSN0PC2S?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 cheap and easy.

Have fun and post pictures :purple_heart:

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Getting a design you like onto your fabric can be tricky, here’s how I do it but there are other methods if you Google it.

Find a design you like, I haunt Pinterest but anywhere it’s not copyrighted is great.

Print it in the size you want it

Tape the design to some glass or flat, clear plastic

Fix the fabric over the design (I tend to pop it in a hoop to keep it stretched)

Put a strong light source behind the glass (I usually use the torch on my phone but sunlight can work too or whatever is easy

Trace over the design in a contrast chalk

Ta da!

I have a light box which makes this a lot easier but it can work well with a window and a sunny day

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On made up garments hand embroidery is best and as Rachel states above pretty easy. Certainly if you want runes in a band along the front edges that will be easiest.

Draw on your design in normal HB pencil, in small sections, you can wash the whole thing once done to remove any remaining marks.

Most machine embroidery is done before you assemble the garment because the machine has to move the fabric to sew and there is a limit to how much it can cope with.
Some edge decoration could be done by machine, cuffs and the front edge of the garment.

Can I ask what nation you are planning on joining? Depending on nation some other designs may also work.

Thanks so much for your useful advice and suggestions.

I’m going to get some practice today, found some useful videos on different stiches, so hopefully all goes well.

@CharlieP I was planning on joining Highguard, which is why I was thinking of including some winter magic runes and the runes of the seven virtues of the way. But I’d really like to hear any other ideas you think could work.

Yay another one for Highguard, Best Nation! **

I’m currently embroidering bells with virtue symbols on them onto a Chapter mate’s shirt!

Easy choice of colour at least! White will show up nicely, try and keep the stitches the same size if you can, it looks a lot better.
Other choices for designs:

  • bells,
  • virtue symbols (check the religion pages, but flames for Ambition, chains for Loyalty, towers for Vigilance etc) are pretty easy to work in
  • anything looking like a labyrinth - maze patterns, the greek key design.
  • Challenging option - Basilisk!

We’re not so hot on Runes in Highguard but I think that’s probably bias due to not inventing them, and having invented the religion we make a lot of noise about that!
Other option of course is to stick your chapter badge on almost everything, if you have a Chapter already. If joining in the field don’t worry you will be badged by whoever you join!

** (May be slightly biased after several years)

That’s some really good insight thanks so much, I was wondering what symbols/patterns might be commonly seen around Highguard but it was difficult having not attended an event before.

I have posted on the forum before and understand runes are not seen as favourably in Highguard but I think my character is a bit different anyway. I am planning on using winter magic and curses to ‘encourage’ others to follow the virtues of the way and so my idea was using the runes to symbolise this more radical stance.

Obviously I could use the symbols of the virtues instead of the runes but I wanted to use the runes for them as I was going to use the runes for winter magic on the other side of the tunic. I felt the runes for the virtues would go better with that compared to their symbols. Do you think the runes would still be ok in this context or would it be too out of place within Highguard?

Also, if I use the symbols rather than the runes do you think it would be better to go with all of the virtues or just the main virtue that I am following?

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I think either is fine. I would suggest perhaps adding the labyrinth to your winter runes as a pointed reminder!

Are you aware there is a rune/symbol for Winter as a realm?
https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Realm
They’re on this page as links but probably somewhere on the wiki as an image you can grab. I have the Autumn one embroidered on one of my vestments

First off, I had no idea that existed (must have just gone straight to the winter magic page instead of through there), so thank you for showing it me.

Second, I’ve come up with a design, what do you think?

Everything is to scale, and I found some silver embroidery thread which I thought would work quite well. Unfortunately, I could not find any knitting yarn in a colour I liked in my local craft shop, I will see how that goes with a few test pieces and then see if I should try the yarn.

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I like the pattern. If you do the square zig zag first, possibly in 2 rows of parallel back stitch or similar, that will get you hand eye co-ordination in before you attempt the curves of the runes. Be aware this is going to take a while, hand sewing even for the experienced isn’t fast but it does look so good at the end.

You’ll find the silver thread needs to be used in short pieces - all the metallic thread is fragile and can only take being pulled through the fabric so many times, so better to have several short strands than it snap half way through a longer piece.

Preferably you want embroidery cotton or wool. Knitting wool has too loose a twist.

This sort of stuff is cotton https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trebla-Embroidery-Thread-Skeins-Packet/dp/B009MMEWR4.

The only thing to beware of because you’re going for high contrast is for the black dye to run. To try and avoid that (not guaranteed) hot wash the jacket before you start, 60 degrees should be fine, with a colour catcher laundry sheet if you can. That should get rid of most excess dye and then you should be able to wash the finished item at 40 or below without a problem.

Also watch your tension. It is easy to pull to much and change the shape and fit of the fabric. You can usually fix minor puckers by pressing with an iron on the back at the end, but if it looks like you might have trouble with tension get yourself an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric tight while you sew, and just move it up section by section. It’s more of a problem on lighter weight fabrics so you might be OK.

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So I was planning on doing it exactly how you said, I’ve been doing some practice and have realised it’ll take quite a while, but think I could maybe get it done in maybe a week or two. Also getting rid of excess dye is a really good call, I had completely forgotten about the possibility of that happening.

With the thread, this is the one I got https://www.amazon.co.uk/DMC-Stranded-Cotton-Number-648/dp/B003E2XXXW/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=dmc+648&qid=1621551110&sr=8-6.
I think its cotton? But I don’t think its metallic silver, it just looks silvery in person.

And with the tension thing, I thought I would have trouble with it, so earlier on today ordered a set of embroidery hoops, when practicing I found it difficult to not bunch up the fabric.

Thank you for all the help with my questions btw, I’ll be sure to post an update with the finished piece once its all done.

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That’s a non-metallic cotton- I’ve skein of it at home- which is better if you’re just starting embroidery. It’s also a boomin’ gorgeous colour if you’re doing it on a high contrast background.

DMC is a pretty solid floss brand, but I would really advise against their true metallic threads until you’re a bit more confident with your basic stitches (back, stem, chain, and satin stitch) and embroidery in general as… well, the metallics are rage inducing in how they tangle and knot up.

I’d also advise, if you’re sewing onto heavy cotton/wool that you make sure you’ve got a sharp needle. There’s nothing worse than having to really tug a needle through fabric. (I’ve also ended up with some pretty gnarly accidental stab wounds when embroidery due to poor needle choice for fabric)

I personally like sashiko (a particular Japanese style of embroidery done on mid weight canvas) needles, as they’re usually a bit longer than traditional embroidery needles, are a bit thicker, are wicked sharp when new, and have a larger eye, which makes threading them so much easier.
(Arguably as sashiko is done with 6, rather than 2-3 strands, of floss)

Small update, some practice I’ve done, thinking maybe backstitch or a sashiko will be better for border definition (looked it up and seemed good for geometric designs). other than that, any constructive criticism? (Colours are just some cheap thread I found)

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All sashiko is, is tight running/backstitch

You’re looking good, not any noticeable bobbling

(Also, I am in awe of how neat you’ve managed to get your satin stitch.)

I, personally, prefer chain stitch for outlining on rounded/weird shapes, as I like the contrast it offers to filler stitches (satin stitch), but it’s a mileage may vary thing.

That is really, really impressive for a first go!

The Satin stitch is beautifully parallel and even.

I think you’ll have no problem with your jacket!

This is really beautiful and super neat, I love the use of chain stitch around the outside and the geometric shape works really well too :purple_heart:

Hi again, another update, sorry for not replying to responses sooner but I was getting this part done :sweat_smile:, the labyrinth part of this is now done (picture below). Btw, thanks for the support with my practice piece, I thought it wasn’t too great but it pushed me to carry on.

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Final Update, its now finished, its not perfect but I’m very happy with the result.

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That’s beautiful! Congratulations. :slight_smile:

That is really great, very neat and really striking. And alot faster than my piece which is still in process!