Craftsy Class Review: Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery with Jessica Marquez

Surprise, another embroidery class! This time I'm reviewing Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery with Jessica Marquez. Yet another very good, very enjoyable class on embroidery! And yes, even though this is the third embroidery class I've taken in a row from Craftsy, I did still learn a few things.

Of the three, this is the most straight-up embroidery class. Jessica teaches traditional embroidery using traditional methods and traditional types of design. She's working on linen with "normal" embroidery floss; therefore, she doesn't spend a ton of time on talking about supplies: No information about types of needles or types of threads. She just mentions the type of needle she likes (not by name, but by description), and shows the one type of floss (read: DMC embroidery floss). She talks about using different quantities of strands of floss, and demonstrates the best way to separate those strands and then thread your needle. She talks a little bit about hoops, (although not as much information as I got from other classes, but different types of embroidery have slightly different needs), and how to load your fabric into the hoop. 

Based on this class, I picked up a handful of new supplies--some linen for testing and a few different types of image transfer pens/pencils.

Based on this class, I picked up a handful of new supplies--some linen for testing and a few different types of image transfer pens/pencils.

I think, having now done a couple of other classes, the portion of her introductory lesson that was most useful to me was her talking about transferring designs. I picked up information about iron-on transfer pens and water-soluble pens from this lesson. 

The next several lessons go through the different families of stitches, much the same way the other classes did. However, as I said in my review of the crewel embroidery class, every one of these classes had slightly different variations or even a couple of new stitches altogether--so I continually increased my repertoire of stitches with each class. 

My test of Sulky's iron-on transfer pen for my next embroidery project--worked beautifully, though a bit of a thick line.

My test of Sulky's iron-on transfer pen for my next embroidery project--worked beautifully, though a bit of a thick line.

There is a class project if you want something that gives you an easy opportunity to practice all the stitches. It would be extremely easy to put together. However, as per my usual...butterflies on this end. Someday I'll be done with butterflies, and I'll never want to see another one again.

At the end of most of the lessons, she shows examples of how she's used many of the stitches in her own projects. It was good inspiration, thought her style is more traditional than mine. I enjoyed seeing stitches at work in various ways and was generating ideas for where I may use some stitches in my own work.

Caution: the iron-on transfer ink did bleed through my embroidery background fabric onto my ironing board. Oops--didn't see that warning in the instructions until too late. Apparently I was supposed to have protective layer underneath. Unfortunately, the instructions offer no guidance as to whether this can be fixed!

Caution: the iron-on transfer ink did bleed through my embroidery background fabric onto my ironing board. Oops--didn't see that warning in the instructions until too late. Apparently I was supposed to have protective layer underneath. Unfortunately, the instructions offer no guidance as to whether this can be fixed!

The final lesson gives some great information about how to create your own patterns from photos or children's artwork or, really, anywhere else you get inspiration. I would have liked to have seen a finished project based on a pattern she did from a photo, though. She does show a finished product based on children's artwork that was pretty cute. That would make a great gift for a mom or grandmom!

Jessica is very easy to listen to. The first lesson felt a bit stiff until she got into the stitching, and then you could almost visibly see her relax and get into a groove. The rest of the lessons were very easy to watch. She clearly loves her embroidery--it's her happy place. I found myself enjoying watching her be so relaxed and happy with it. 

The Basics

  • 8 lessons ranging from 11 to 30 minutes long; most are in the 20-ish minute range.
  • The first lesson talks about supplies, hooping your fabric, fixing mistakes, and doing an iron-on transfer.
  • The second lesson is flat stitches, such as running, back stitch, split stitch, and so forth.
  • The third lesson is looped stitches (chain, fly, lazy daisy, etc.), plus a bit about using a lightbox. 
  • Lesson 4 is knotted stitches, such as the French Knot, coral stitch, boullion stitches, and so forth.
  • Lesson 5 is crossed stitches--here's where I ran into the most new ones compared to other classes: St. George cross stitch, star, herringbone, and leaf stitches all fall into this category.
  • Lesson 6 is fill stitches (satin stitch, long & short, fishbone, Cretan stitch), plus a bit about caring for embroidery.
  • Lesson 7 is all about embroidering on knits (t-shirts, baby clothes, etc.)--how to stabilize the knit, transfer the pattern, use a repeat pattern, using the hoop, and so forth.
  • Lesson 8 is about creating your own patterns.

So, here's the thing: Now that I've taken three of the four classes on hand embroidery in Craftsy (the fourth I'm working on now is on bead embroidery so that's a slightly different category), if I did it again, would I do them in a different order? That all depends on your goal, I guess. If you think you want to do traditional embroidery and want to learn the basics, I think this class, Design It, Stitch It with Jessica Marquez, would be the best place to start. However, me being me, I'm not entirely sure I'd have been as grabbed by embroidery if I'd started here. My design preferences are definitely closer to Sue Spargo's Embroidering Texture & Dimension by Hand than the more traditional style of this class. I think I needed to see the possibilities of Spargo's designs in order for the excitement of embroidery to take hold. I also think I'm more jazzed by the styles depicted in Stitch it with Wool: Crewel Embroidery with Kristin Nicholas. So, for me personally, I think I did the classes in the order I needed to do them in: Be grabbed by design possibilities, then backtrack to build up the technique. If you're more of a technique person, you may want to do the classes in the reverse.

I will admit, however, had I started with  Design It, Stitch It with Jessica Marquez, I might have sped up the pace of becoming confident in embroidery in general, only because I would have seriously reduced the variables. Learning stitches with a single type of thread and needle makes it much easier to focus on the stitch technique. In Sue Spargo's Embroidering Texture & Dimension by Hand, with every new stitch I tried, I was using a different type of thread and needle--so I had a whole lot to get used to and figure out all at once. Nothing like diving into the deep end. Again, just know yourself and what jazzes you and/or makes you most comfortable.

By the way, I did make a run to the needle arts store across town yesterday and picked up a bunch of crewel wool thread, so that class lives on as well. I've got ideas...

(Using Craftsy links in this post and on this site helps support my podcast and blog. Thank you!)