Project Stardust has been keeping up with all the latest High Republic content. We’re loving the new characters and stories, so of course we need to craft about it. I am a big fan of turning new obsessions into embroidery hoops. I’ll show you my process and hope it gives you some inspiration to start making your own.
Caveat: I am self-taught. Embroiderers who learned the more traditional way are probably going to look at this and wonder what the heck is going on. My personal ethos is if you end up with something you like, then you did it the right way. No craft gatekeeping on today. Let’s have some fun!
Supplies You’ll Need:
6” embroidery hoop(s)
White fabric pen or pencil
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Light pad (optional)
Step 1: Gathering the materials
I have some things to say about your material choices, so let’s go over options.
I say you need 6” hoops and the printout we’re providing will fit perfectly into a 6”, but you can always scale the pattern up or down depending on how small or big you want to make this. I just wouldn’t go any size beyond what you could reasonably print on your own.
I love using metallic floss in my embroidery projects but it is extremely hard to work with. I think it’s worth it, but if you would like to save yourself the pain, you could always use regular floss in whatever color you like. It still looks great. See the comparison between gold metallic floss and the yellow floss used on a failed hoop in the photo below. Looks good, right? It’s totally not going to matter. You let your heart do the talking when it comes to picking colors and fabrics.
I like to use dark, sparkly fabric for my Star Wars hoops because…SPACE! It feels like it works. The important thing to note here is that you can use dark or light fabric of your choosing. The tracing process will still work.
An embroidery needle is going to be fine for regular floss, but I could not thread my metallic floss for the life of me, so I used a tapestry needle. And you know what…the world kept turning. Any needle is an embroidery needle if you believe.
It depends on your hoop size how many you’ll need for this. Black will look better overall, but if you’re like me and keep felt sheets around, any color you have will do.
Fabric pens/pencils are designed to come off the fabric. You can make a mistake with tracing or decide to veer off from the lines you’ve drawn and it’s fine. You can just remove it later and it won’t affect the final product. If you don’t want to buy one more specialized product, you can always use a Sharpie or regular pen, but it doesn’t come off and you’ll need to follow the line pretty closely.
Step 2: Prep work
The first thing you’ll want to do is cut your felt to the size of the inside of the hoop. Plop the hoop on top of the felt and trace around the inside of the hoop. If you trace the outside, the circle will end up being just a little too big when you go to set it in a little later. Cut your circle then set it aside. Don’t skip this! You’re not going to use it until the very end, but you’ll get a more perfect fit if you trace and cut before you have your project stretched in the hoop. Your only two options if you forget to do this before you start will be to: a) take your finished project out of the hoop so you can trace or b) trace the outside of the hoop and cut a little inside that line. Not ideal options, so just do yourself some favors here.
Cut out a square of fabric a couple of inches larger than the size of hoop you’re working with. If you have the suggested 6” hoop, you’ll cut an 8” x 8” square of fabric. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your project is going to turn out a little bit better if you iron your fabric before you start. That being said, I can’t justify taking out the iron set up for the small piece of fabric most of the time. So no judgment here, but I have to mention it.
Step 3: Trace the pattern
You should have the pattern printed out that is sized to your liking. Above is what it looks like when I put the paper with my fabric over it up on a window on a bright day. Get the pattern as centered as you can on the fabric so that there’s plenty of room on all sides of it when it’s centered in your hoop. Trace with your fabric pen just around the edges of the design. I scored big time during Christmas and got a light pad and that’s what I used for my tracing. I love it and have used it for more intricate patterns. These symbols are fairly easy work and you’re going to get good results no matter which method you use.
Step 4: Stretch and stitch
Stretch your fabric onto the hoop and tug it around until you’ve gotten the design centered the way you want it before tightening the screw at the top.
Thread the embroidery floss through your needle and pick any outline stitch you’re comfortable with. If you’re a beginner, there are a lot of resources online that can teach you basic stitches.
Here are some websites that show different types of stitches and explain how to execute them:
Here are some YouTube channels to check out for stitch inspiration:
And of course, if you find yourself on traditional crafts TikTok, you’re going to find a number of bite-size tutorials there as well.
I used the split stitch. I like the texture it makes and feel like it’s easier to control around curves than chain stitches. I used this stitch for everything, even the lettering. The above tutorials give you a lot of options though, so mess around and see what’s comfortable for you. All you’re doing is following the line you made earlier when you traced your pattern.
Step 5: Finish it off
Once you have all your stitching done, you’ll make sure the fabric is nice and stretched out and placed where you want it to be. Make any adjustments to placement that you need to make at this time.
Next, you’ll cut the excess fabric off from around the hoop. You’ll leave a little less than an inch of fabric visible. If you cut the fabric off all the way to the hoop, the next part won’t look as nice on the back.
When you have your edges cut, warm up the glue gun. In sections, you’ll put a line of glue on the inside of the hoop, fold the fabric over and hold it down for a few seconds while it adheres securely to the hoop. Be careful with your fingers. Do this all the way around the hoop until you don’t have any more fabric sticking up and it’s all neatly adhered to the inside of the hoop.
Remember your little felt circle from way back in the beginning? Now is its time to shine. You’ll just do a line of hot glue around the edges of the circle. Flip it over and press it gently inside the hoop. This will hide the back part of the stitching that you don’t want to see and keep light from shining through the hoop.
If you try this out, be sure to tag Project Stardust on Instagram @theprojectstardust and show us how it turned out!
Editor’s Note: All photos & patterns from Lauren!