What exactly is 'free-motion machine embroidery'?

 

Free-motion machine embroidery is like drawing with a sewing machine!

 

I drop the 'feed-dog' in the machine, which is the part that normally pushes fabric through in a straight line, I have a special foot which I attach to the machine which doesn't hold the fabric in place like other feet might, and I put my fabric in an embroidery hoop to hold it taut.

 

Once that's all set up I'm ready to go. I move the fabric by hand in whatever direction I want to sew, and sew usually quite quickly in order to use lots of little stitches.

 

This all means that straight lines are now really hard to do, and usually end up a little wobbly - which I think adds to the quirky nature of it all! The edges of the appliquéd fabric (if used) are not pressed, but left to fray slightly, adding to the effect.

 

It's lots of fun, and the possibilities are endless - a bit like drawing really, but instead of paper and pencils you get to use gorgeous fabrics and brilliant colourful threads!

Check out some time-lapse videos of Nai creating some of her unique free-motion embroidered house illustrations below:
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