When I was first given the opportunity to review the Martha Stewart Crafts Embroidery Kits, I was a bit nervous. While I’m certainly not an expert stitcher, I’m not new to embroidery, so I wasn’t sure that I would be able to objectively judge the quality of the directions and the ease of use of the kits.
But, as it turned out, my previous knowledge was a good thingâ€”it forced me to really slow down and follow each step just as it was written. I haven’t paid such close attention to my embroidery in years. It felt like I was learning a whole new skill!
Per the package, each “easy-to-stitch kit” contains everything you’ll need to make a hand-embroidered baby gift. To take away any remaining guesswork, the patterns are all pre-printed on each piece with ink that disappears when washed.
Each kit contains:
- 1 cotton one-piece and cap OR 2 cotton bibs, pre-printed in wash-away ink
- 1 needle
- Presorted cotton thread
- easy instructions
What was missing:
1. An embroidery hoop.
Under the best circumstances, cotton knitwear isn’t an easy material to embroider. For beginners who haven’t developed a steady hand for stitching, an embroidery hoopâ€”or even some stabilizer behind the patternsâ€”would make things much easier.
2. Directions for switching lines, changing colors, and knotting off.
The directions do say to “use knots to start and end your thread,” but more specific instructions would be helpful, especially for baby clothes, where long thread loops on the backs of patterns could be dangerous.
3. When sewing with blue thread on the blue pattern, it was very hard to see the stitches.
What was spot-on:
1. The stitch diagrams.
The stitch diagrams in each instructional packet were clear and easy to follow. The stitches usedâ€”stem stitch, back stitch, and french knotâ€”were perfect beginner stitches, and looked nice even when they weren’t perfectly spaced.
2. The printed patterns.
The wash-away ink was evenly distributed, and the patterns were complete and clear. It was very easy to follow each of the individual stitch lines, and the ink does wash away with water.
3. The stitch chart and key.
It took a little bit of getting used to, but the stitch chart and stitch key completely took the guesswork out of the projects by clearly indicating the kind of stitch that should be used on each line, as well as how many strands of thread were needed. Following stitching order on the key also ensured that all of the stitches came together nicely into a cohesive project.
Even if there are a couple of things that I would change, the fact remains that nobody does it like Martha. The patterns are simple, cute, and quick. For the not-sure-what-we’re-having set, most of the colors and designs available in the kits are not gender-specific, so they would make great shower gifts. Finally, and most importantly, the directions are easy to follow and the results are attractive and consistentâ€”I would feel good about giving any of the three projects that I made to my procreating pals.
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