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From Embroidery To Print

Hello everyone, how are you?

Whilst I love the designing and stitching aspect of each project there are always the instructions to be done.   It occurred to me that you may be interested to learn more of the process involved in preparing the completed embroidery project and printing the instruction booklets that go inside your kit or pattern pack?

Recently I have spent time on re-designing the instruction book layouts, and all the new projects will be presented like this in the future.  I have given a lot of thought to this over the years and I certainly don’t profess to have got it totally right or to be critical of the way that other designers present their instructions, but this is way works best for me.   Basically I sat down and thought:  “If I was stitching this project how would I like to see the instructions presented – what would make them easiest to follow?”  The examples below are taken from different projects but will give you an idea of the layout.

Simple & Clean

I like the idea of a  simple, clean and uncluttered visual presentation that lets the embroidery speak for itself.  This style of illustration is becoming more and more popular – as can be seen in the decorating of our homes and in much of the graphic design that is available today.  Here is the front cover – it shows a picture of the design, the name of the project, designer and technique.

teacup coverIntroduction

The introduction tells a little about the project, what level it is for and any specific details that may be necessary for you to know.  Not too much text just a brief note to introduce the project, don’t want you getting bored!

Thread & Material list

A clear and precise listing of the materials and threads needed for the design, with some options for substituting threads in-case you have a problem sourcing them.  I know that many of my customers live in areas where it is not always easy to obtain certain brands of thread so I will always give substitutes.  The design won’t look exactly the same if you use substitutes, but allows you to still stitch the project and make it your own.

 

teacup threadsThread Diagram

This is based on “painting by numbers”.  Each area is numbered in order of the stitching and each number corresponds to the thread colours needed for that section.  Below the listed colours are the instructions for which stitches to use for that area.  The instructions are placed on the page facing the stitch diagram so that the booklet can be left open at the page and referred to whilst stitching.  Simple but effective?

teacup diagram

teacup instruction

Visual Props

With the advent of technology everything these days is visual, “A Picture says a thousand words”.  I remember how frustrating it was to follow the instructions of some of my earlier embroidery books that were full of text but not enough pictures – or the pictures were too small and I could not see enough detail,  so I decided that each area of the project should be accompanied by an enlarged photo which the reader could zoom into.  There is also an enlarged photo of the full project.

teacup enlargedStitch Glossary & Preparation

For many months I have been working on a Handbook which is finally at the printers and hopefully will be available for sale next week.  The book is titled Needlepainting & Whitework Handbook, and it includes every single detail on materials, preparation and comprehensive details, examples and hints for each stitch.  I will tell you more about it once I have the printed copies to hand.  The idea is that rather than try to squash these details into each instruction booklet, you will purchase one copy of the Handbook and use it to refer to for each kit/pattern that you purchase.  This enables me to eliminate a couple of pages from each instruction booklet and make it more simple and cost effective.

teacup stitchPattern Details

All the pattern details are clearly listed on the back page – what is included in a kit, the size etc.

teacup back coverEditing

It is virtually impossible to compile instructions without making some mistakes – one of the common typos is in thread colours for example 253 which should be 235.  A simple typing error can cause the whole pattern to go out of sync and many emails from confused customers!  I am fortunate to have a good friend who edits each instruction booklet before it goes to print.  She has a colour chart for each brand of thread and goes through it with a fine tooth comb, which is such a wonderful help.

Printing

A certain amount of graphic design knowledge is necessary to assemble these booklets before they go to the printer and I have been teaching myself this with the help of a program called CorelDraw over many, many years and now am able to draw all my own diagrams.   I am fortunate to have a wonderful printing service in Cape Town and we have worked together to obtain the best colour rendition and print format.  The size and weight of the booklet also has to be taken into consideration as it needs to be practical for posting overseas.  It is very difficult to get a good likeness of the original embroidery in both colour and texture, but we do our best to capture the original likeness.  Once I have compiled the booklet and it has been edited it is sent to the Printer.  The Printer prints, cuts and assembles the booklets on good quality, coated paper, before they are returned to me ready for assembling into kits/packs.

Cost  Involved

You may find it interesting to know that the printed booklet and fabric with printed outline comprise most of the cost of your kit.  A customer recently remarked that she thought the pack was overpriced considering it did not include threads – the cost of including thread will certainly almost double or more the price of a kit.

teacup

So there you have it – from Embroidery To Print.   Till next time, wherever you are in the world happy stitching and remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever”.  Trish

42 thoughts on “From Embroidery To Print

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information; I found it interesting and informative. I look forward to your new Handbook; it is such a good idea to approach instruction and kits in this way. Thanks again, and happy stitching…………………….

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  2. Hi Trish,

    As you are already aware, I am a huge fan of the booklets that accompany your kits – so obviously I think it a wonderful idea to have one standard reference book that will help cover all.

    I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work that goes into your designs, but I realise it will be no easy task. Like you say, the printing will take up a large part of the costs, not to mention the fabric. I know from experience that the correct fabric does come at a premium, but like everything, its worth the extra.

    I’ll look forward to seeing the reference booklet for sale, as, like others have said, your instruction are so uncomplicated and easy to follow – a real plus for everyone to own.

    Love
    Shelagh

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    1. Shelagh so good to hear from you hope alls well? Thank you for your kind comments as always. I am waiting for delivery of the handbook and hope it will be in the shop very soon. I will tell you all about it in the next blog post. Trish

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  3. Hi Trish,

    As you are already aware, I am a huge fan of the booklets that accompany your kits – so obviously I think it a wonderful idea to have one standard reference book that will help cover all.

    I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work that goes into your designs, but I realise it will be no easy task. Like you say, the printing will take up a large part of the costs, not to mention the fabric. I know from experience that the correct fabric does come at a premium, but like everything, its worth the extra.

    I’ll look forward to seeing the reference booklet for sale, as, like others have said, your instruction are so uncomplicated and easy to follow – a real plus for everyone to own.

    Love
    Shelagh

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  4. Stunning work as always! I love that you have taken the time to explain this process….I think all too often people have no idea how many steps in such projects….the immense number of hours, frustration and joy that are spent to produce quality design, work and instruction. Your attention to detail is remarkable ….I am in love with the Whitework in Colour projects we have seen so far …..I am certain your upcoming book will be nothing short of spectacular!!!

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  5. Your books and your work are exquisite. Thank you for all you do for those of us who love stitching. I own three of your books now, with plans to acquire the rest, and I can’t wait for the new “reference” book to be published.

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  6. Hi Trish,

    Always interesting to read you. And this cup of flowers is really really beautiful. I think I will try it, even if I love your needle painting kits. Your work is definitely fantastic.
    Diane from Montréal (Québec)

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  7. So interesting! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I really love all your previous books, and have found the change in presentation from one to the next beneficial- I can’t wait for your next one to be released.

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  8. Hi Trish,

    I love books and have all yours and a whole host of others, including techniques.
    I see how you evolved and have passed on your knowledge with each new publication. Is the handbook more of a reference book?

    Thanks
    Anna-Maria

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    1. Thanks Anna-Maria. Yes the Handbook is a reference book, and I think the first of its kind – I will tell you all about it next week. Trish

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  9. Hi Trish!
    I love your attention to every detail! The instructions, photos, and printed design are great. Keep doing what you’re doing…can’t wait to try another one of your designs.
    Happy Stitching from Charleston SC
    😀

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  10. Hi Trish I don’t have any problems with your instructions they are very clear. And like one of the commenters said there are designers out there that the instructions are terrible. But yours are really great easy to follow and I’m a
    beginner in the white work category. Everything on the Package and inside are very clear and easy to follow. Thanks for the great designs keep up the great work.
    Love it
    Regards From Canada
    LaRaine

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  11. I absolutely love the teacup of flowers! !!!Now if only you would use less satin stitch and more latticework and line stitches. …   I was looking at the whitework done on green,  claret and blue backgrounds to urge you to make that your next thing. I found them on Ann Somebody’s blog and will follow this post with the pictures if I can get this flat mini-computer in my hand to release them . Love from Ros x    

      

    Sent from my Samsung device

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  12. Enjoyed your article. I just bought a kit and found it to be first-rate in all ways. With reference to pricing, imagine how little we would pay for a Rembrandt if the only consideration was the cost of the oils and canvas. Your artistic creativity is what “makes” your kits what they are. Am so glad you share that with all of us.

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  13. So glad you did this article, Trish. Even with it, those purchasing your beautiful kits have no conception of the time involved in the design process–drawing in Corel, which I also do, thread selection, stitching the design, corrections many times, the photography as you create the motif, editing the prints (digitals), making notes as you work, and then creating and organizing the kit when finished. Yes, the more you do, you find easier ways, but bottom line is the cost of all this “time” spent never equates what stitchers see in your kits. But the pleasure you (I) get is the reward. Thanks for all you do.
    Tonie Evans

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    1. Thank you for pointing that out – you have a good idea of what is involved in creating a kit, and of course we never recoup our costs, but as you say there is recompense in the pleasure it gives others and I get to do the stitching which is always a joy! Trish

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  14. I have noticed that in your book of miniature needle painting you have used less text description and more pictorial reference and I have found this quite easy to follow so I think this is a good idea especially if it reduces the cost. I love your work and have most of your books. Have you put a collection of your white work into book form yet as I find that using the books a light box and collecting my own threads is more economical than buying the kits. Keep up the good work.
    Regards Jo Hunt

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    1. Thank you Jo – and yes I have just completed the first title on Whitework With Colour and it is with the publishers now. HOpefully due for release before the end of this year. Trish

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  15. Could the front page show whether the design is accessible for beginners and/or only suitable for experienced needlewomen? I’m not sure how you could best do this.
    In awe of your work,
    Liz (novice)

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    1. Hi Elizabeth – rather than crowd the front cover I have put details like the level of skill on the back cover. Of course when this is displayed in the online shop it will include all these details on the front description. Trish

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  16. Trish, that was a great article. I can’t wait to get hold of your new book and a copy of the flowers in a teacup. Keep those exce.lent designs coming for us of those who are creatively challenged.

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  17. Trish your written instructions are clear, precise and easily understood by a beginner or more experienced embroiderer. The accompanying pictures are perfect. Well done.
    With kind regards.

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  18. Hi Trish, I think you have got your instructions exactly right.

    I have purchased kits from some other designers, who have beautiful designs but the most dreadful instructions – I have remarked on this to the designer, who appeared most shocked and offended, but these kits have remained in my cupboard, untouched!

    Your written instruction are clear and accurate, the pictures just the right clarity and size, the designs – speak for themselves. Love the latest.

    Kind Regards, Val Watson

    Like

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