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Embellishing machine embroidery

The Gracieuse Bouton Broderie collection of heirloom machine embroidery designs contains little embroidered buttons and scrolls, along with small flowers. The name translates from the French to “Graceful embroidered buttons”. Embellishing always enhances machine embroidery designs, mkaing them come alive. I usually start with hot fix crystals and pearls but there are many other options,like buttons, sequins, beads and ribbons. Taking this design, GFE-GBB-3-12, my plan was to start my embellishment with the tiniest of buttons. My button box is full of precious memories, but I did not find many buttons small enough to use. Let’s see how it goes and what I can use.

I loaded the design in my embroidery software so I could see how it looks and play with some colours.

The embroidery design stitch out

The machine embroidery design took on a different look, with a few colour changes.

The chart above shows the threads I used and some other information you may find useful.

stitching out a machine embroiderry

The designs in the Gracieuse Bouton Broderie 3 fit the 240mm x 150mm hoop. I stitched this design out on my favourite silk dupion, which forms the background of my website!

heirloom machine embroidery with heart

The embroidered buttons can be seen in this photo.

embroidered buttons

One option is to omit stitching them out replacing them with real buttons, but I love a combination of both types.

The embroidery was removed from the hoop, trimmed on the back and steam pressed from the back into my soft pressing mat. It does look a bit bland so let’s liven it up with some embellishment.

Embellishing with buttons

Buttons are not so easy to come by these days, so I am always on the look out online. Mother of pearl buttons are the best for sewing on to embroidery designs.

embellishing machine embroidery with buttons

These buttons were popular in the nineteenth century and are made from the inner lining of the shells of snails, mussels, abalones, molluscs and oysters. Also known as nacre they come in shades of pink, white, grey, beige and black. Those available now are mostly made in Asia and have an iridescent look, which makes them so elegant. It is thrilling to find these little treasures. I love to place them carefully in the gaps made by my embroidery.

Gracieuse Bouton Broderie embroidery

The possible buttons were laid out on the embroidery so I could make my final choice. They were hand sewn in place. Aren’t these rectangular mother of pearl buttons adorable?

Embellishing with pearls and crystals

Hot fix pearls and crystals to embellish embroidery

After the buttons were finished I sorted through my hot fix pearls and crystals to select colours that would compliment my thread choices.

applying hot fix pearls to machine embroidery

Hot fix crystals and pearls are attached with an electrical fixing tool, often called a Hotfix applicator. Several different heads some flat and some curved inwards, come with the tool. Glue will build up over time and I rub it away when the tool is cool with some screwed up aluminum foil.

applying  pearls to machine embroidery with applicator

Little metal dishes will hold the crystals when they are out of their bags. Then they do not get lost. Over the years I have found that I prefer to place the pearls and crystals in the correct place. By holding the tool vertically above I slowly apply pressure to a count of around 12. You will find this a better system, if like me you do not have the most steady of hands.

an embellished machine embroidery design

My exciting embellishment of this machine embroidery design is now complete after one final press. The June Tailor cutting mat is soft so the pearls and buttons were not damaged with pressing on the back. Please experiment with embellishment as it allows you to work closely with the design examining the stitches. The embroidery will take on a whole new dimension. Embellishing is also extremely satisfying!

All 3 sets in the Gracieuse Bouton Broderie collection are on offer for $35 this month, March 2022.

Happy embroidering from Hazel

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