Cute and Simple Facial Features
I'm back, continuing our stuffed animal series, and today I'm going to show you a couple of different ideas for how to embroider on facial details. You may remember my safety eyes tutorial, and if you decided not to do those or you just don't have any, this one is for you.
If you have ears to add, go ahead and attach those first. I find that helps me with placing the eyes. If you need some guidance on how to do that, check out this blog post.
(The pattern I’m demonstrating on can be found right here on this site.)
Yarn or Embroidery Floss
You're going to need some yarn in a color of your choice, DK weight or lighter. Embroidery floss is also a good choice if you only have bulkier weight yarns available. You'll need a pretty long piece.
I used KnitPicks CotLin in Clementine, Swan, and Black.
That’s obvious at this point, right? These are nice ones.
Begin with the end in mind.
The secret sauce for all of this is that our yarn is going to enter at the base of the head, right where it's going to be hidden when you sew it into the body. You can knot it there, or you can live life on the edge like me and just pinch it in place until you’ve taken a few stitches and it’s not moving. So insert your needle there at the base and bring it out through where you want the top edge of the nose to be.
1. Make Vertical Spokes
For this pointy fox nose, make several vertical spoke-like stitches, all going back through the pointed end of the nose. Do as many of these stitches as you need, until there are no more big gaps in between. I ended up doing one extra on each side, below the nose, which turned into a cute little mouth.
2. Weave Through the Spokes
To fill it in the rest of the way, we're going to just weave it in and out of all of these spokes. Over, under, over, under, just like those potholders you used to make with the the loops on a loom. After each row of weaving, push the yarn down to the tip of the nose, and do another, making sure to go under the strands you went over last time, and vice versa. Do this until the whole nose is filled in. The last row should be a little tight.
Moving on to the Eyes
When you’re satisfied, insert the needle into the corner of the nose right where the yarn end is, and direct it to where you want the corner of the eye to be, on the opposite side of the face.
For the eyes, you can get as creative as you want, but I always like the results the best when I keep it really simple.
I'm kind of woo and I like to just let their personalities develop as I'm making them. I always start in the corner of the eye and play around with the next stitch length and angle by simply sticking the needle in where I’m thinking about going, and stretch the yarn around it to see if I like it, and if I want to do a single straight stitch, or 2, like a bent line. Play around with it like this until you decide what you like the best.
In this case, I made one small stitch up from the corner, and then a longer one for the length of the eye. So up from the inner corner, out through the outer corner. Then insert your needle into the upper part of the inner corner, and out though the exact same spot on the other side.
What Lies Beneath
I want you to look carefully and see what I did here. In order for the eyes to look symmetrical, you have to think about what the yarn is doing under the surface. If the outer corner is folded under, it will appear slightly shorter. The inner corner is extending out in the same direction under the surface, so it appears slightly elongated. You want the eyes to mirror each other. The devil is in the details, and paying attention to things like this will really elevate your projects. If you’re having a hard time picturing how this works, watch the video below.
If you ever take a stitch and you don't like the way it looks, that's okay. Just pull it out and then you can re-thread your needle and start again.
Secure the Ends
After the last eye stitch is placed, bring that needle back out through the base of the head where we started and tie both ends in a knot together. When kids play with these, sometimes the thread gets picked and comes loose, so you do want to make sure it’s fairly secure.
I am from the Show-Me State after all, so if you make something using this tutorial, I would really love to see it! Make sure you tag me in your pictures. I'm @becca.j.norman on Instagram.
Check out the next post, where we’ll be sewing on the ears. A good way to make sure you don’t miss it is to subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn on notifications, or get on my email list via the form below.