This week I have been working on my embroidery journal project, and I thought I would take the chance to show a useful embroidery technique. Making slips has been around for centuries. It was a convenient way to make an embroidery that could be moved from one object to another when the background fabric got old, thus preserving the work. So what are they and how do you make them?
Embroidery slips are bits of embroidery that are sewn on one fabric then appliqued to another. They can be fully stitched in or partially. They can be stuffed in order to give dimension to your embroidery. They are widely used throughout stumpwork, raised embroidery, for this reason.
So the first thing you need is a design! I have made these slips many times now, and I recommend always enlarging the area to be attached by about 7% - this number will be higher for small objects. How can you tell how much that is? I made a little graphic of my before and after to demonstrate this. In this example it's maybe 1/16 inch.
Next, you really should embroider as much of the background fabric as you can before attaching your slip because it will be in the way and might get worn or dirty. So that is what I have done:
Next mark and stitch your slip on another piece of fabric. Then cut it out leaving about a quarter inch seam allowance. You will need to trim curves and points a little which I haven't shown in the photo.
When you have a little open space for stuffing anchor your thread to the back of the fabric so it doesn't pull loose while stuffing. I have done these with very small gaps, but this one allowed me a little extra space, so my gap is maybe 3/4 inch. You will need something sharp but blunt at the end to push in the stuffing. I sometimes used tweezers I hold shut. It can even work holding your embroidery scissors closed, just don't push to the edge.
The next step is optional, but it separates the pros from the amateurs. It takes a little extra time, but it improves the appearance substantially. You will need to go around the edge of your shape and make little straight stitches with matching embroidery thread to cover where the fabric and the slip meet.
And now you are done!!
Final notes. This technique is not hard, but it does take a little extra time and patience and some practice. It really does look great in the end, so I highly recommend it as a way to make your embroideries more interesting.