Wedding Portrait Embroidery

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About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My ...

An embroidered portrait of the happy couple is a perfect wedding gift! I made this one for my friends Randy and Jenn, and would like to share the process with you (with their blessing).

An important part of this project is selecting the right type of stitch and line weight for different parts of the portrait. If you are an embroidery beginner, check out our free Instructables Embroidery Class, written by master stitcher Jessy Ratfink, to get you up to speed on the fundamentals.

For this project, you will need:

I was inspired to make this piece by seeing Brenna Allsuch's beautiful embroidered portrait of a curly-haired couple. Check out her Etsy shop!

Step 1: Source Images

I was inspired by my friends' engagement photo, but since I didn't actually make this gift until after the wedding, I also picked up some wardrobe and flower details from their actual wedding photos.

I used some quick and dirty Photoshop to superimpose the fancy clothes and flowers on top of the original engagement photo, and removed the background. Really, I could do much better if I were trying to make an actual photomontage, I promise. There are a bunch of ways to accomplish this but I used mainly the selection tool and clipping masks.

Admittedly I tried this project first by tracing onto fabric directly from the source image. It didn't turn out so well, and I think it's because my freehand drawing skills aren't up to the task of translating a detail-rich photo into a "cartoon" illustration. So I turned back to the computer and used Illustrator to trace their features, using the bezier line (pen) tool (and plenty of Undos).

Step 2: Trace Artwork and Stretch Fabric With Embroidery Hoop

I printed and taped my illustration to a light box, then taped my fabric on top of it. I used a pencil and water-soluble pen for drawing on the fabric.

Stretch the fabric in an embroidery hoop and adjust until it's evenly tight all the way around (artwork not distorted).

Step 3: Stitch the Hardest Parts First

I was still pretty uncertain about stitching the faces, so I tackled that part of the portrait first. That way if I decided it wasn't coming out nice, I could start over without having invested too much time in the flower or hair details.

I used a combination of stem stitch and outline stitch for the faces and clothes, a bit of freeform satin stitch for Randy's hair and the greens in the bouquet, then french knots for pretty much everything else.

Step 4: French Knots

So many french knots! The flower bouquet would be a nice place to show off any other fancy stitches you like, such as a woven wheel stitch or pedal stitch. Remember to check out Jessy's free Instructables Embroidery Class to learn all the terms and techniques if you need a refresher!

Step 5: What Does the Back Look Like?

I thought you might be curious...

Step 6: Frame It and Give!

Depending on what frame you choose, your mounting method may vary slightly. I usually like to use foam sticky board for mounting embroideries, but a bit of double stick tape and the frame's original glass will also suffice.

After framing, your gift is now ready for giving. I hope the happy couple enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Thank you for reading! I hope you'll leave your questions, tips, and comments down below.

If you like this project, you may be interested in some of my others:

To keep up with what I'm working on, follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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    2 Discussions

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 months ago

    This is just fantastic! Such a wonderful job embroidering and a thoughtful gift :)

    Also, I'm one of those people that always want to know what the back looks like so thanks for sharing that too!

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    bekathwiaPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thank you thank you! Yeah, I'm also the type of person who always wants to know what the back looks like. =D