Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: Embroidered Effects

As you all know,  I love sewing my own lingerie and I love using vintage patterns to do it. However, some of my favorite patterns have also had embroidery transfers included to personalize and beautify said lingerie. This always frustrated me, that I didn't know how to embroider and couldn't use the pattern to it's full potential. Recently though, I vowed to myself that I would keep learning new things and new skills on a regular basis in order to avoid felling like a stagnant pool of used up creative juices. Yuck. So my first step, obviously, had to be learning to embroider. I know, not only would I be fulfilling the sacred vow that I had sworn on the head of Vinny the cat, but I would also be upping my game in the lingerie sewing sphere!
Image courtesy of

I jumped online and almost immediately, I found Embroidered Effects, by the marvelously talented and quite humorous Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. (Seriously, check out the website, you'll be hooked in seconds.)

Now let me tell you how much I love this book. It went straight to the pile of Necessary Stuff on my nightstand (right along with the trashy romance novel, the medicine for my chronic nerve pain, and Moo the stuffed penguin... three things I can't live without).
The first night I tried the patterns and stitch tutorials included with the book, I ended up stitching long after my husband had fallen asleep because I couldn't put down my needle! I found out that embroidery was fun, just like Jenny Hart promised it would be, and I didn't want to stop. Ever. Not to mention, the slow, careful stitching helped relax my bad arm and actually soothed the pain I usually go to bed with each night. Well, there you have it. The cure is embroidery!
And look! Lookit what I made!

Day 1

I did this using a simple back-stitch (something my Grandma actually taught me for hand sewing) and French knots. And then I took the half dozen or so stitches that I learned after that and I started fooling around with monograms. I've always wanted to add cute little monograms to things like French knickers and now I can. Here was the second thing I ever embroidered... a monogram design that I found online.

Day 2
I made this using a satin stitch, back stitch, split stitch and French knots, all learned from Embroidered Effects, and when I finished that, I thought "This book just taught me how to do everything!"
So... this is the part where I tell you that I escalate things. Quickly. I'm an escalator.
Naturally then, my third embroidery project couldn't be something simple. I decided that since, in my mind it was just like drawing, I would just embroider something that had already been drawn. No big deal.
I had just the drawing in mind, a fashion sketch by Robert Piguet from 1951.

Robert Piguet, 1951 -  From Fashion Illustration 1930-1970.
So I traced it out with a transfer pencil and one bright Saturday afternoon, I curled up on a chaise in the sun and embroidered this:

Day 3

Soooo.... long story short, here is why you might like this book better than others.
Tone: Miss Hart didn't write a textbook. The book is friendly, putting you at ease and welcoming you into the world of embroidery like a great hostess invites you in for some tea and gossip. The author's love of embroidery is apparent and even before you pick up your needle and try your first stitch, you already love it too.

Project with included pattern from Embroidered Effects by Jenny hart.

Not to mention, this book is BEAUTIFUL. It's full of delicious illustrations that capture the art of embroidery and Miss Hart's own unique, "This ain't your Grandma's embroidery" attitude. My favorite aspect is the slight vintage flair infused in the accompanying patterns. You get a slight whiff of pin-up combined with an air of 1950's motorcycle gang meets June cleaver in a thong. If that's a thing. And I like it.

You can find Embroidered Effects and other books at along with patterns, tools, starter kits and everything else you need to get started!
I'm pretty sure that if you give embroidery a try, you'll be as hooked as I am.

Have a great weekend!




  1. oh my gosh, your monogram is amazing!

  2. Love the monogram! I shall have to check this out!

  3. Thanks so much for your excellent review, I've been pondering buying this book for ages and I'm totally convinced that I should now! I absolutely love your fast progress and your result of day 3 is actually stunning!

  4. yes, i think i need this book! embroidery is on my list of things to learn, one day. thanks for the recommendation Anna!

  5. I'm still trying to hash out a perfectly fitting bra pattern but eventually, I'd like to embroider my bras. It's a great detail! I love the embroidery you made on Day 3. My fav :)

    1. Hey Maddie, thanks! I think embroidered bras are right up there on my to do list, think of all the things you could embroider on a bra!

  6. Great recommendation, love what you did with the Piguet illustration. It looks a terrific book, I'm inspired!

  7. Oh, I've really been wanting to try some embroidery too recently! I feel like it's become a lot more contemporary than it used to be! May look into buying the book!

  8. I think that this is a great remedy for you. I really like machine embroidery so I'm sticking to that. If I can I will send you something soon.

  9. Hello there! I just found your blog and have been devouring it for the last 40 mins!! I used to embroider as a child and I wish I still had some of the things I made =( But I will definitely check out this book, maybe something will trigger in the old vault in my brain!