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Turn Photos Into Embroidered Photo Portraits – Stitched Photo Tutorial

{Turn Photos Into Embroidered Photo Portraits – DIY Craft Tutorial}-Hope everyone is swell! I’ve not been blogging much lately due to crazy commitments in freelance writing and I’m on the verge of finishing a manuscript I’ve been working on for years!June has also been a mad, mad month of birthdays in my family and we’ve just honoured the man in my life with a week-long celebration and some full-on baking on my part…so it’s chocolate overload in our household with super hyper kids running on steroids! I always find time to be creative even when I’m not writing and I think I’ve truly been bitten by the sewing bug. Something about winter has made me want to craft and sew much more than I usually do! In the last few weeks alone I’ve been on a roll with sewing projects I used to take perhaps a whole year to complete.

embroidered art hanging outofman.com
Once I was a photo image, now I’m in stitches
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Instead of my usual pre-bedtime reading, I have now taken to peddling away at my Oekaki free motion embroidery sewing machine after putting the kids to bed. You won’t blame me for my new addiction to embroidery once you see what I’m about to show you. It’s ‘sew’ addictive to discover that I could actually turn photos into embroidered photo portraits! They make such precious keepsakes for my family and perhaps the most meaningful handmade gifts I’ve ever crafted lovingly for loved ones and friends.

I can’t wait to show you how I’ve done this. Here’s an image of my lovely and cheeky kids taken on my daughter’s last birthday.

original embroidered photo portraits craft tutorial
The Original Image
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I had used Photoshop (you could use any a photo editing program) to alter the photo image into a grayscale one, removing all the colours. I have also removed the background details so that I’m left with a black and white outlined image to work with. You want to end up with a clean ‘outlined’ image by increasing the ‘contrast’ and ‘brightness’ levels while editing the photo image. The final image should only be left with only the details that you wish to stitch on.

embroidered photo - laser print
laser printed image and the final fabric hanging
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Next, print the image onto a laser printer. You’ll need a sheet of carbon paper to transfer your altered outlined photo image onto your fabric surface. I’ve bought my carbon paper from Daiso at $2.80 for 5 sheets.
carbon paper Daiso
carbon paper from Daiso
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You could also transfer your image onto your fabric directly by shading the back of your outlined image with a 2B pencil, then tracing it with a pencil or ball point pen. The advantage of using the pencil instead of the carbon paper is that you can later rub away any untidy lines, whereas the image transferred using carbon paper tends to stay put. The disadvantage of using the pencil instead of carbon paper would be that it can sometimes be too light to make out what you should be sewing on.

materials for embroidered photo portrait
everything that you need to make this
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Here are the…
Materials I’ve used for this double-sided fabric pennant flag:

2 x scrap fabrics for appliqué (2 party hats-white polka dots on pink + white stars on red)
1 x fabric for back of flag (black and white geo motif)
1 x fabric for front of flag (natural cotton)
1 x iron-on interfacing + 1 x sew-on interfacing
coloured chalks for colouring in
1 x red yarn thread (for the red tassel)
1 x string of ribbon (for hanging)

Other tools:
scissors for trimming
Oekaki Renaissance sewing machine
fabric glue


Other instructions / Notes:
Begin by ironing on the interfacing to stabilise your front-facing fabric (the one you’ll be stitching on). Trace your image onto the fabric only after ironing so that it’s now flat and heavier in weight and won’t tend to ‘move around’. I’ve used sewn-on interfacing to line the inside of the flag to give it even more weight and structure.

Cut both the front and back fabrics and the inner interfacing to the same desired sizes.

I have only used 2 different types of fabric for creating the ‘party hat’ appliqués as embellishments for this flag. You could choose to make as many details on your image into appliqués as you wish simply by stitching on different scrap fabrics of choice.

To attach the party hats, I traced the outline of the hats onto my fabric scraps. After trimming these out, I dabbed a tiny bit of fabric glue of the back of the scraps to attach it and hold it into place on the fabric. You could also use tacking stitches if you haven’t got fabric glue.

I could’ve made the kids’ garments on the image into appliqués but really wanted to experiment with using chalk to colour fabric so that I could keep it looking more like a sewn-on colouring page image.

After stitching the details and you’re happy with how it all looks, face the white and black fabrics inside out (including the sew-on interfacing which should now be on the back) so that the right sides are facing in.

Make the tassel out of the yarn you’ve chosen. Mine is the red one as pictured. Tuck in the tassel into the lowest bottom of the flag facing the correct side of the fabrics (facing inside).

Now stitch the edges together, leaving the top seam open so that you can turn it out to the correct side after stitching.

Once you’ve turned it out after stitching the edges, tuck in the top seam about 1 cm and iron it flat.

Tuck the top striped ribbon (for hanging the flag) into both the top corners and stitch across the flag.

Voila! Like me, you’ll perhaps want to turn all you favourite photos into your very own rad embroidered photo portraits! Thank you for reading , hope you’ll visit again some time!Remember to show me what you’ve made!

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