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Craft lessons: Pinup Face , embroidery tutorial

Embroidery  |  September 6th 2011  |  0 Comment

How-To: Pinup Face ~ by Jenny Hart 7/6/10

Enlarged for detail. Actual Size: 3/4″ from cheek to cheek!

♥ Instructions on the mouth, eyes and nose are described below ♥

Now, I know that stitching up facial features, especially when they are small is intimidating at best. I’m gonna show you how I tackle these tiny features in a few smooth moves. We don’t want her to just look all weird, you know? I consider embroidering faces my spess-ial-ity, and I want your embroidery to look lovely, so here’s how I do it to it!

PATTERN: from Pinups by Gil Elvgren

FABRIC USED: Sublime Stitching Apron (same fabric as the Tea Towels)

(all link to tutorials)

Straight Stitch (see Back Stitch)
Stem Stitch
Back Stitch
French Knot
Isolated Chain Stitch – explained halfway through this tutorial

- and a few other things, but I’ll walk you through them.

(I’m not fussin’ with numbers)


All of these color choices are optional, but I suggest you *keep these the same, so they pop!
If you don’t already have these colors in your floss box, you can get the same colors I used here.

Now, Strip Down…(that’s a pinup joke. Heh.)

All stitches are worked in either 3 or 4 plys (“strands”). The number of ply means I’ve stripped the six-strand floss down to only 3 or 4 strands for finer detail.

✓ Need to learn about floss stripping?


Okay. Here’s where the techniques really come in. Pay close attention and I will teach you my stitchy ways…

Bow – I like shortcuts. So, instead of trying to actually stitch the outline of the tiny bow, I’ve combined three types of stitches that look even more like a tiny bow themselves to make what I call a “Lazy Bow”: 2 isolated chain stitches for the loops, 2 straight stitches for the ends, and 1 French knot in the middle. Laziness is the mother of invention with me.

Eyes – The eyes are the window to the soul of your project. For the eyelashes, I used only a total of 3 straight stitches in 3 ply. There are only 2 stitches on the left eye for the lashes, and 1 on the right. Notice that I stitched them before I did the French knots for the eyes. You want your French knots to sit on top of these stitches. The French knots eyes are worked in 3 ply, and if you’ll notice that the center dimple of the knot looks a bit like a pupil. Keeping the coil of your knot tightly wound around your needle as you make your French knot is the key to its success, so here’s my French Knot how-to if you need a refresher. The eyebrows, again, are only 3 straight stitches in 3 ply. The left eyebrow is 2 stitches that meet end-to-end at the arch.

Hair - Hair is always my favorite part to stitch. I just wanted to point out that in this example I go back and forth between using a stem stitch and a back stitch for the hair. I think it looks best primarily worked in a stem stitch, but I switched to a back stitch in spots where space was tight, so the detail wouldn’t be lost in those strawberry curls.

Mouth - Even more than the eyes, I think mouths are extra tricky. Upper Lip is worked in only 3 straight stitches in 3 ply: 2 on the left worked like a stem stitch, and 1 on the right worked as a back stitch meeting at the indent. Lower Lip is 1 straight stitch pulled down with a securing stitch to make it swoop down a little and give it some shape. Make sense? Another shortcut!

Nose – Okay, maybe I spoke too soon. I think the nose is the most challenging part. Less is more. You just need to hint that a nose is there. The tip of the nose is nothing more than 2 straight stitches in 3 ply, with the stitch for the outer tip slightly overlapping the nostril. This will take practice.

Source: @sublimestitching.com