Embroidering Faces for Kigurumis
What you will need:
– Embroidery machine! I’m using the Skyline S9, assembled with the embroidery attachment.
– Your embroidery file! You can use the one in this tutorial or make your own.
– Fleece or minky in chosen colors
– Scissors (curved embroidery snips are recommended!)
– Embroidery needle
– Embroidery thread. I used: black, white, grey, lt pink, med pink, and dark pink Gutermann
– Janome bobbin thread (white)
– Medium weight embroidery stabilizer and basting adhesive spray
– Wash-away top stabilizer
– Your machine’s embroidery hoop! I did this on the S9’s RE20a (6.7” x 7.9”)
Stabilize, Stabilize, Stabilize!
First, we’re going to want to stabilize and hoop your base fabric. Fleece can be very stretchy, so we want to pick a solid, medium-weight stabilizer to hold it in place. If not stabilized sufficiently, the embroidery stitches will stretch your fabric over time and could throw the design’s alignment out of whack!
Cut your fleece and bottom stabilizer bigger than the size of your hoop.
Using your basting spray, lightly coat one side of your fleece. Press your stabilizer onto the fleece to adhere. I like this method better than fusible stabilizers, but those will absolutely work as well!
Hoop your fabric
Lay your bottom hoop on the table then place your stabilized fleece on top. The upper half of the hoop should lock in place atop the fleece. Do not try to overstretch your fleece or stabilizer in the hoop! It should fit in snugly, and should be just taut enough to not appear obviously saggy.
Time to Applique!
We will be “floating” the first applique fabric on top of your hoop. This means pretty much how it sounds– Just place the applique fabric over your hoop, and hit Start to get the file going!
For the provided file, you need a “face” fabric and then a “nose” fabric for your appliques. In your own design you could use any number of fabrics. The idea is to use an applique in places you wouldn’t want to use a tatami embroidery fill, aesthetically.
Using your snips, carefully trim the excess fabric from your applique stitches. Sometimes you might want to satin stitch over your applique edges, so it’s important to trim very close to the stitch line. In this case, we will leave the face edge raw, but will satin stitch around the pink nose.
Repeat the applique process for your remaining pieces. Float fabric, stitch out, trim, repeat.
Stitching + Color Changes
When the applique steps are done, you finally get to begin your satin and tatami stitches! Because we are using a plush fabric with a “nap”, we’re going to want to protect it. Lay a clear, washaway stabilizer over your entire stitch area before hitting start.
A good tip when doing machine embroidery is to utilize the netting that came with your machine! Each time you switch thread colors, slide the netting over your spool. This will lessen the speed and intensity at which your thread is pulled down to the needle. You should see fewer thread tangles and shredded threads with this method, saving you the headache of rethreading!
The face is starting to look like a face :0
The process of stitching and changing thread colors will take a while. Patience is great, BUT you could also
As you continue your stitchout, you may come across “problem areas” in your design that are a little thick due to overlapping appliques and stitches. If your needle starts skipping areas or making angry sounds at you, you may want to use the speed slider to slow down until you move on to a less-dense stitching area.
Finished already? And it’s only been 2+ hours! (hah)
You’ve finished your sew-out and now it’s time to take her out of the hoop.
But first, you can finally peeeeeel the clear top stabilizer away. So satisfying…
If any stabilizer remains in a small or hard-to-reach area, you can dissolve the leftovers with a quick dunk in water.
Make it YOURS
Now it’s up to you to make the rest of the kigu– Add fur, ears, and accessories to truly make it yours!
Much like the example face file we’ve provided, this knowledge is just the foundation. The best way to learn to applique for kigus is to just try it. It might take several attempts! Each time you try, you will notice your mistakes and learn how to do better the next time.
Don’t give up!