Embroidering My Cat’s Portrait // Becky Stern

Embroidering My Cat’s Portrait // Becky Stern


Welcome back. This week I’m making embroidered patches
to memorialize my late cat Beatrice. You could use this technique to create an
embroidered patch from any image, really. I’m just going to walk you through the things
that I did, but there’s a bunch of different tools you could use instead for each step,
basically. I started in Photoshop. I cropped down the photo I wanted to use and
put it in grayscale. And then I increased the contrast and played
with the levels so that the white were very light and the blacks were very dark, that
way I’m gonna bring out all of the detail when I simplify the image. Then I’ll go to to Image, Adjustments, Posterize…
and this is going to reduce the number of colors in the image, and it corresponds with
the number of colors of floss you want to use in your embroidery. For me, that’s four, plus an accent color
for my pretty kitty’s eyes. Then I went to print it at different sizes
on a piece of paper because I wasn’t sure exactly what size I wanted it to be, and found
that if I reduced the opacity, it was easier for me to trace it later. Then I used a small-tipped Micron pen to trace
the different regions so that I could see them better when I put it on top of my light
mat. This thing is awesome, by the way. Then I chose a light colored fabric to place
on top of the drawing and used my water soluble marking pen to trace the drawing again onto
the fabric. The ink from this pen will disappear later
when I spritz the whole thing with water. Then I put the fabric in an embroidery hoop
and started stitching. I used an embroidery stitch called the satin
stitch, which is just many stitches right next to each other that fill up a whole field. I was a little bit loose about where the stitches
started and ended, I just didn’t want any of them to be too long so that they would
hang off the patch. I repeated the process for several more images
of my pretty kitty and printed them out at all different sizes to get a variety going. On the smaller ones I found that I only needed
to use half of the strand of embroidery floss, otherwise the line was kinda too chunky for
the overall size of the patch. At this point, it’s just a regular embroidery. You could stick it to a mat and frame it like
this, but I wanted to cut it out and turn it into a patch. So I tried a couple different edge-finishing
techniques, the first of which was just to do a binding stitch with the embroidery floss
all around the edge. But that didn’t work out as well as I had
hoped with the fabric being a little bit flexible and it sort of made the edges a little ruffly. So then I switched to the sewing machine,
and I would sew one straight line around and then a zigzag stitch, and then I’d cut it
and do a zigzag stitch to capture that raw edge, and that sorta seemed to work the best
for me. But I still wish I could have finished the
whole thing by hand. Embroidered patches go great on jackets, and
bags, and hats, you know, anywhere. And you can pin it in place with safety pins
or sew it in place permanently, or even glue it. I chose to sew this one onto my jean jacket. These patches were a whole lot of fun to make,
and I got to spend that time sort of reminiscing about my sweet kitty, and I think it’s a
great way to memorialize a dear friend. Besides the ones we’re keeping in the family,
the rest of these patches are going to be given away to my Patreon supporters, so check
out the link in the description for more info on how you can get in on that. And also check out the art print I made of
all of these embroidered patches and the backs of the embroideries. I put that in my digital shop. Thank you so much for watching. I publish new videos every week about DIY
projects like this one or involving technology, and about my life in New York City. See you next time!

12 thoughts on “Embroidering My Cat’s Portrait // Becky Stern

  1. Wow. I wanted to learn how to embroider a cat for the same reason. I lost my black cat Gin in March 16th of this year. I have some cute picture frames on my nightstand that stand empty and I wanted to embroider a small portrait of him for one of the frames. This video came in perfect timing and is just what I needed for my little project to remember him as Halloween is approaching. Thank you!

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