A muslin swaddling blanket is great for stitching, given the loose weave of the fabric, but this pattern would be equally cute on little bibs, a decorative pillow, or framed for the nursery walls (you could even frame your work inside an embroidery hoop as seen here, here, and here).
So here's how I did it!
1) Find a Pattern
I used this darling pattern that I found on Pinterest. It was meant for a stuffed plush owl, but it's equally perfect for embroidery.
(pattern from Denise Loves Art!)
2) Gather SuppliesHere's what you'll need:
Printed out pattern (it's a big blanket so I used a whole piece of 8.5"x11" paper)
Cardboard box, broken down
Embroidery Hoop (I used an 8" hoop)Aden + Anais
Aden + Anais Swaddling Wrap (this brand was highly recommended by friends with babies)
Tapestry Needle, Size 22 or 24 (tips on choosing needle types and sizes)
3) Pick Floss ColorsOwl Outline: 838 - Beige Brown Very Dark
I used the following embroidery floss colors, opting for a pink-hued palette, as my friend is having a little girl. Blue, green, brown, and yellow would be sweet for a little boy. Or use whatever colors tickle your fancy!
Wing Outline: 3832 - Raspberry Medium
Inner Wing Stitches: 3833 - Raspberry Light
Inner Eye Circles: 676 - Old Gold Light
Middle Eye Circles: 3833 - Raspberry Light
Outer Eye Circles: 3832 - Raspberry Medium
Beak: 676 - Old Gold Light
4) Trace the Pattern
This was actually the trickiest part of this project! Because the blanket was so cozy and thick, I couldn't see the pattern through the material. I was working at night; therefore, holding it against a lit window was out of the question. So I had to get a little creative, cutting the pattern out of cardboard using the following steps:
Step 1: Cut out the owl with scissors. Tape the paper pattern to a piece of cardboard, and trace the outline. Use an X-ACTO knife (and an extra piece of cardboard underneath to protect your work surface) to cut the around the outline.
Place the cardboard pattern wherever desired on the blanket (I chose a corner), and trace around it with the soluble pen.
At this point, it will look vaguely reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon. (Side Note: How cool would that be on a swaddling blanket?!)
Align the remaining cardboard pattern with the outline on the blanket, and trace the wings and the bottom of the eyes and beak.
Line up that piece on the blanket and trace around the top of the eyes.
5) Start Stitching
We've made it to the fun part! Place the blanket in your embroidery hoop, and start stitching! You can use whatever combination of colors and stitching techniques you would like to create your little owl, but here's what I did:
Using all six strands of the dark brown embroidery floss, back stitch along the outline the owl, leaving the outer edge of the wings un-stitched (see final picture for clarification).
(Note: Embroidery floss is made up of six strands, and you can vary how many strands you use to create thicker or thinner stitches.)
To embroider the wings, use all six strands of the darker pink floss and the stem stitch (I use Wild Olive's alternate stitch, as I find it much easier than the first technique). The stem stitch gives a little texture to the wings, like feathers. Then, with all six strands of the lighter pink, use back stitches to embroider the dotted lines on the wings.
Stitch the outer eye circles with all six strands of the darker pink floss and the back stitch. Switch to the lighter pink floss, and use all six strands to back stitch around the middle eye circles. Finally, switch to the pale yellow floss, and use all six strands to back stitch around the inner eye circles. Then use a horizontal fill stitch to fill in the center of the eyes.
With all six strands of the pale yellow floss, back stitch around the beak; then fill it out using a fill stitch.
Now that you're done stitching, remove the blanket from the embroidery hoop, and rinse under cool water to remove the soluble ink. Once it's dry, you have an adorable, personalized, one-of-a-kind baby gift. Ta da!