Before you start 18
Setting up your machine 20
Beach Scene 26
Finding ideas and inspiration 38
Applique Hare 48
Paint and stitch 62
Blue Tit 64
Hen and Rooster 74
Sewing Collage 94
Choosing your own design 106
Jimmy the Cat 108
Displaying your work 126
Katie Essam's passion for textiles began when she graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a BA Hons in Contemporary Applied Art. She combines freehand machine embroidery, applique and other textile techniques to make original mixed media textile art pieces, inspired by the beauty in everyday objects and scenes. She especially loves turning personal photographs of family, pets or houses, into original, tailor-made pieces of textile art. Katie runs a variety of workshops around the UK teaching the techniques she uses to make her textile art. Katie lives in Bexhill, UK.
Applique is a versatile technique in the right hands and Katie Essam explains how to get the most from it using freehand machine embroidery to create illustrative textiles. After the opening practical chapters on tools, choosing fabrics and how to set up the sewing machine and start embroidering, the first projects show you how to use pattern paper as a guideline for stitching the compositions. Next she talks you through choosing your own subject matter, and offers a guide to good composition before explaining how to add paint, hand-stitch and collage as additional elements. Essam takes nature, animals and everyday life as her subject matter (she includes templates and detailed instructions for you to follow the projects inside) and after tackling these, you will be creating your own machine-embroidered portraits from your sketchbooks and photographs in no time.* Embroidery, The Textile Art Magazine (Sep/Oct 2018) *
Another in this very good Textile Artist series from Search Press. Subtitled 'Using Free Machine Embroidery and Applique to Create Textile Art Inspired By Everyday Life'. I meet a lot of crafters and this book has so much to offer because nearly every crafter I know wants more inspiration and wants to free-motion stitch. Showing that inspiration is all around, even in everyday objects is a great way to go. Other techniques used in this book include hand stitching, the ever-popular fabric painting and collage. Katie takes you through her process and inspires you to create. The book starts off very simply with a beach scene. This makes it good for beginners upwards. The ideas are well presented and progress in difficulty. The book shows you how to applique mainly animals with fabric and/or paint. There are ideas for collage too. There is also a chapter on design, including interpreting a photograph. I would say the level is beginner to confident beginner and is a great introduction to applique and free-motion.-- Karen Platt * www.karenplatt.co.uk *
This book is the latest instalment of the popular Textile Artist
series from Search Press. I own a few of these books already and
love them so was keen to get my hands on this one. This book
teaches you how to use free machine embroidery and applique to
create textile pictures.
The book starts with an introduction to free motion embroidery followed by a simple project (the beach scene shown above) to help you get to grips with the embroidery aspect with minimal applique. You then get information on finding inspiration and planning your projects before delving into some more complex projects with multiple layers of fabric in the pictures. She also explains how to transfer the images onto your fabric, an interesting method different from the one I learned (tracing paper to transfer your pencil lines onto the fabric) when I did a class on this subject. I will be giving it a try to see which method I prefer.
There are very clear instructions on every stage of the project, from preparing your applique pieces to stitching the project. There are also photos for every step and handy tips scattered throughout. What I particularly liked is not only are there full size templates included for the projects, but they are next to the project instructions rather than at the back of the book, so you don't have to skip from the middle to the back when working on a project.
There is also a section on using paints in your pictures to work alongside the fabrics. It adds an extra depth to your creations and is handy if you don't have fabrics in the right colours. There are several projects in the book, quite a few are animal based (hare, blue tit, chickens & cat) but I have to admit my favourite is the sewing collage, and I love the house one too.
Even if you have never tried this technique before the easy to follow instructions and step by step photos in this book mean you can easily create your own applique pictures.
This new title in The Textile Artist series showcases the work of Katie Essam who makes beautiful and unique art work. Taking her inspiration from everyday subjects Katie uses a combination of applique and embroidery in a fresh and modern way and the book is full of examples of Katie's work to admire and inspire. In the first chapters Katie describes the basic techniques together with the equipment and materials required. There are seven exciting projects to try and by following Katie's detailed instructions sewers of all abilities can create their own unique piece of textile art. A most desirable book for anyone wanting to try a new approach to creative sewing.* East Kent Embroiderers Guild *
Make pictures using hand and free machine embroidery, applique, collage and fabric painting with the help of this useful book. The entire process of creation from inspiration to the finished work is covered so even beginners can see how this type of project can be accomplished.
Whatever type of picture you have in mind seeing a step-by-step process is invaluable, because it equips you with the knowledge to do your own thing. The book starts with a list of materials, and if you do any fabric craft you will already have a lot of them. The next stage is being inspired and planning your work, as well as learning how to do free machine embroidery. I like the way how, instead of having all the projects at the back as a culmination of processes they are interspersed throughout the book. Thus you can practice your machining skills with a beach scene, make a picture of a hare and learn how to use fusible webbing and applique, or progress to adding in paint with a couple of bird portraits. Further projects show how to put all these skills together to produce a scene featuring a hen and rooster, have a go at collage and finally see how you can use your own photographs and sketches to make pictures. It is all very user-friendly and hands-on, a method that invariably works well for me and eliminates the "boring part" of having to cram in a lot of information first before actually using it. Instead you can amass a body of work as you go and have fun trying out all the different techniques. One of the best books I have seen on tackling mixed media work.-- Rachel Hyde * myshelf.com *
On the Beach
Freehand machine embroidery is a stunning way to 'draw' with your sewing machine and combines perfectly with other materials to create this beautiful beach piece.* Stitch *
I was lucky enough to win this book in a competition. My 12 year old son loves art and he loves this book. He is delighted that there is yet another art form for him to try. The illustrations in the book are really beautiful and the instructions look really easy to follow. We have been so inspired that we may need to buy ourself a sewing machine so we can crack on and try the more complicated examples. We will be trying some of the simpler ones using hand stitching. The templates are really useful.-- Gaynor Vincent * Customer review *
"I own several Search Press books and always find the page
layouts and picture quality excellent.
I have previously bought similar books on free machine embroidery but this one is definitely my favourite, the instructions and quality of designs are more sophisticated.
I particularly like that the instructions tell you how to stiffen your fabrics so that you can work without using an embroidery hoop as I find the hoop method complicated and restrictive.
The designs in the book work their way up in complexity meaning it is suitable for beginners and those already with some experience, one thing that I really appreciated was that the templates are in the same place as the instructions! No turning to the back page to trace designs, yay!
The inclusion of composition instructions is really great, and the planning section is helpful if, like me, you were looking for something that will help you with creating your own artworks.
I love how her pieces aren't solely machine stitch and the section on using paints was a nice surprise!"
Received this book as a gift. Having read the reviews I was sceptical. Surely it wouldn't be THAT good. I WAS SO WRONG. The details held in each section appear to cover everything from the threads , sewing machine advice (always a must) templates and so much more. It is a must have for ideas and inspiration. The author takes you from making a decorative sampler to intricate pieces. Even framing your completed pieces. What wonderful present ideas in these pages. Anyone who enjoys sewing or any form of art, there is advice on painting fabric too, is sure to have wide appeal. My interest in mixed media will embrace this volume as my go to guide. So you will excuse me as I am off to gather my art and sewing stash to give the ideas a try. At last a book that combines my interests.-- Kathy Campbell * Customer review *
This is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to make a piece of textile art using applique and free motion stitching. I have some experience in this area and find this book to be the best resource I own. Although some of the finished projects look way beyond the beginner level, because each is presented with step by step and clearly written directions, they are really not. Like many other books, all the basics are covered regarding equipment, materials and supplies. No question goes unanswered. What is inspirational about this book are the beautiful, lifelike works of art Katie Essam provides as projects to teach the skills and techniques covered. I was pleased to find just enough information about using composition, colour and design to make it helpful. This is a wonderful book and I would highly recommend it.-- Mary Sutherland * Customer review *