Sewing has always been my craft of choice, and I incorporate stitching into everything from clothing and home décor to paper projects. So, when I got the opportunity to review the Martha Stewart Crafts Pierce and Stitch Starter Kit from EK Success Brands, I couldn’t wait to try out the specialized tools—especially the piercing mat and templates!
When I opened the package, I found that the kit contained everything I needed to do the actual piercing and stitching, so I only needed to pull some paper out of my stash and grab a pair of scissors and some scotch tape to get started. Per usual, I read the kit instructions completely, and then made my first four projects using the methods described on the box, trying out the suggested techniques and experimenting with paper in various weights. Then, once I was sure that I had a good feel for how the tools worked, I got a little wild and tried the same technique on a sheet of thin copper as well. As you can see in the photo above, I ended up with a fun collection of tags and paper embellishments that I’ll be able to use for making cards and wrapping gifts.
According to the EK Success Brands website:
The Martha Stewart Crafts Pierce and Stitch Starter Kit allows you to create beautiful, hand-crafted cards, gift tags, and decorations with interesting texture. Use the piercing tool and stencil to add an embossed design and then stitch along the impression for added dimension. Designs include a butterfly, rose, snail flower, heart, bird on a branch, & 2 frames.
2 stencils- with 10 designs.
1 piercing tool,
1 piercing mat,
6 rolls of thread,
3 metal needles and a need threader.
The kit retails for $13.49
1. The tools and templates in the kit were simple and accessible, and I felt comfortable using them right away.
2. The piercing tool made it very easy to punch through the paper, and the piercing mat stopped the point of the piercing tool at just the right depth, avoiding both table damage and holes that were too large.
3. One the holes were poked in the paper, it was easy to insert the needle and make stitches.
4. Each template has a color guide to help you follow the shape of the pattern. The color guides match the floss provided in the kit, so you can either use the colors that are shown or get creative with your own colors.
5. The holes in the templates are perfectly spaced, so the stitches always look even and attractive, especially around curves.
6. The instructions suggest using tape in place of knots on the back of the paper, which helps the finished piece stay flat when taped or glued to another piece of paper.
7. The templates are clear, so you can precisely place each shape or edging pattern on your paper.
I also liked that the templates in the starter kit included a nice variety of shapes and styles. (The snail is my favorite!)
8. In addition to paper, the template and tools also worked well with thin metal sheets, including copper and aluminum. (Use the thin sheets that are made for use in die cutting machines.)
9. The piercing tool comes with a tip cover, which, in addition to protecting you from pokes, is a nice touch that gives the kit a non-disposable feel.
10. The templates are made to be used in three ways:
What I didn’t love:
1. When I first put the template on top of the paper, it was a little bit difficult to keep the template from moving while I poked the holes. Using a tiny piece of tape to attach the template to the paper took care of the problem.
2. The instructions for the stitches—back stitch and running stitch—aren’t illustrated in the instruction booklet. The written descriptions are clear, but I would probably have a hard time picturing the steps if I didn’t already known how to make the stitches.
3. Neither the instructions nor the package indicate which paper weights (thicknesses) are appropriate for stitching. Here’s what I found:
- Coverstock and cardstock were the easiest to work with.
- Medium-weight scrapbooking paper and lighter-weight office paper also worked, but I had to take care not to bend the paper or pull the thread too tight while I was stitching. I also had to be careful of the thread color, as darker colors can show through on lighter papers.
- Tissue paper wasn’t practical for these projects, as it was hard to maintain shape while stitching, and most thread colors were visible through the paper.
Tips for sewing on paper:
- When possible, attach the template to the paper with a tiny piece of tape to keep the template from moving while you work.
- For best results, use a heavier paper like cardstock or coverstock.
- Use fewer strands of embroidery floss on lighter-weight paper to keep the color from showing through the back. This also keeps the stitched paper from getting too bulky to lie flat.
- When stitching, don’t pull the floss too tight—it will distort the shape of your holes and could cause the paper to rip.
- To create consistent holes, don’t layer multiple sheets of paper; the technique works best if you only pierce one sheet at a time.
To be honest, I didn’t expect to notice a huge difference between the tools in the kit and my usual straight-pin-into-cutting-mat method for making embroidery holes in paper. But, after using the Martha Stewart Crafts Pierce and Stitch Starter Kit, I’m happy to report that the piercing mat and piercing tool made transferring patterns much faster and easier than my usual approach, and the awl (piercing tool) worked much better than a straight pin. I’d definitely recommend this kit to newbie stitchers who are interested in adding a bit of texture and variety to their paper crafting.
Disclosure: Samples provided for review, but my opinions are honest and my own!
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