DESIGNED BY... ELODIE NOUHEN: ELEGANT CARNIVAL STITCHING CARDS WORKSHOP
Stitching is a chic fancy affair with nothing more than a needle and thread!
In this instalment’s ‘Designed By…‘, we explore one of the oldest and most versatile craft techniques in the world, with accompanying works from Elodie Nouhen to inspire us through the journey.
Nouhen is one of the most celebrated artists in children’s illustration; and her artworks are often startlingly atmospheric and expressive, with their own quiet stories to tell. Her graphic intricacies are unfailingly meticulous, fresh, and ornamental, and consistently hints of a little out-of-this-world magic no matter the realm.
One thing we absolutely love about Djeco’s ‘Design By…‘ workshops, is that you will always have everything you need to get started – and more. Just for record, the picture below shows you how much material was left in excess after all 3 cards in this project was completed – so allow your little artisan (or yourself!) a wide berth to make mistakes because that is sometimes the easiest and fastest way to hone a craft.
Also, a little well-intentioned advice: like all needlework activities, this stitching workshop kit requires tons and tons (and we mean tons) of patience, especially for beginners – so try not to go into it making haste. There is immense satisfaction from completing each project card well, so enjoy and savour that wonderful sense of accomplishment before moving on to the next one.
Let’s begin with the Masquerade Cat card. It seems to be the one which will finish with the most amount of detailing, so we can’t wait to get started!
It’s not uncommon for parents to hesitate introducing needlework to their little ones out of concern for safety and/or skill appropriateness. This is why we find Djeco’s kits the best place to start because, not only does it ensure your child walks away with a new life skill tucked under his/her arms, it does so in the breeziest and most stress-free way possible – both for child and parent. You’ll notice in the picture above that the needle used is less blunt than a real sewing needle, with a huge eye that allows for easier threading. But we know. Threading is always tricky – even for adults – no matter how big the eye is. Which is why you get a threader and a step-by-step guide to help you accomplish this task effortlessly.
(Confession: even the simple task of threading the needle successfully with this threader tool filled us with such a fun and refreshing wave of satisfaction!
Important Tip: Sort out the sequins and embellishments according to their use before you get started because it makes things sooo much easier as you move along. We understand our little beavers’ eager excitement to want to dive right in immediately, but you really don’t want them to be searching for tiny specific little sequins with every stitch, while still holding on to the needle and trying to prevent the thread from slipping out; because the disorganization will just make them doubly frustrated at the end of it all. Like life, a little order sometimes goes a long, long way.
Now that all the preparations are under way, it’s time to get stitching!
The two main stitching techniques explored in this kit are the Running Stitch and the Backstitch, both of which are considered basic stitches but nonetheless extremely versatile in creativity. The Backstitch in particular is one hand stitching technique you’d want to keep in your pocket because it’s one of the strongest and most durable stitches known to us – very nifty for when someone in the family bursts a seam. Here’s a demonstration of it works:
1. Thread your needle through your very first hole, which is always on the left of where your first embellishment is supposed to go. | 2. Slide one sequin through the needle, then sew into the next hole. | 3. Come out from hole on the left of the very first point you started. | 4. Slide in your next sequin. | 5. Go back in through the hole on the right.
Work your way backwards by repeating Steps 1-5. Come out from the vacant hole on the left, slide a sequin down the thread, and then guide the needle back in to hole on the right of it.
And there you have it, the Backstitch mastered!
Important Tip: Always thread your sequin face-down (as shown on the right below), so that you can flip it to the side for the intended effect when it’s stitched in.
And now, the simple art of sewing on these singular embellishments!
1. Thread through the first hole. | 2. Slide one embellishment down the thread. | 3. Guide the needle back down the same hole. This will secure the embellishment in place permanently. | 5. Move on to the next hole and embellishment, and repeat until complete.
Now, isn’t this easy!
(Another Confession: This was probably our favouritest part of the project – and yes, it had everything to do with how easy and yet impactful it was! #lazycrafters)
One more thing we love about Djeco’s workshop kits is that it never leaves you out in the cold. Its universal image-based instructions means that even your little ones can consult the guide independently without fear or misreading or not understanding, because all you need to do is follow exactly what is drawn. You can still end with an incomplete piece if impatience gets in the way – but you’ll never end with an incomplete piece because you didn’t know what to do next.
And now… for the finished work of art!
Check out how the others look when complete!
Expect everything from here on to be a kaleidoscope of colours as your little one starts taking this newfound skill around the house and beyond! Encourage and grow this interest by upcycling old t-shirts, pillow covers, pencil cases, pouches, or anything that looks like it can be turned into a fun sewing project! We love this craft kit from Djeco because, not only does it impart a critical life skill that lives on way beyond the span of the workshop, but the very coursework itself also inspires the idea of beauty with just the lightest touch of detailing.
What wonderful intricacies do you think you can conjure with these simple stitches this workshop teaches? We’d love to know!