How to embroider hair
Let’s talk about hair embroidery. Not embroidery with hairs, but how to embroider a person’s hair in a portrait or something like this.
I’m sure you have seen a certain way of hair embroidery that is getting more and more popular. For this, the hair (thread) is not stitched flat on the fabric. On the contrary, the threads are tangling from the fabric and you can do everything with them you would do to style hair. Braiding, updos, adding waves, ponytails, you name it!
So, I tried it out and it is way easier than I thought. Yes, you will need some time to stitch all the threads in place. But I mean, you are an embroiderer. Aren’t we all used to the concept of time-consuming projects?
There are a couple of methods to embroider hair and all of them have slightly different outcomes and purposes. I will share three methods with you, so you can decide which one works best for your project.
1. the simple loop method
This is the method which produces a very realistic looking hair. It is typically worked with 1 strand of thread. The thread is cut in double the length of your desired hair length. Then, you stitch up and down with both ends on the top side of your fabric. It is important to set each thread very close to each other.
The downside is: since the threads are loosely attached to the fabric you have to fixate it in some way. For example, making a ponytail or braid it. This will stop the hair from being pulled out.
2. the knotted end method
For this method, you cut the threads to your desired hair length plus the amount of thread you need for a knot. Group at least 3 or more threads together or the knot might slip through the fabric hole.
Then, you knot the end of the thread, thread the needle and pull it through from behind the fabric. The knot will sit on the back of the fabric and the hairy part will tangle on the front.
The downside is: the knot can always slip through, especially if it is not big enough. Because you have to use multiple threads at once, this way of doing it is not as realistic looking as the first method. In real life, we don’t have clumps of hair coming out of one place. Another downside is, that the bulk of threads can make the hair a little bit harder to tame. The hair will stand up more and not lay flat like in method 1. Also, since your hair is only anchored on the back of your fabric, if you pull from behind, your hair might be pulled out from behind, too. It helps to fixate the hair with a braid or ponytail so that they don’t move around anymore.
3. the turkey knot method
This is the most labor intensive and the sturdiest method. The turkey knot works with loops that are held in place by an extra stitch. You don’t have to cut the threads in short lengths like with the other two methods.
Because of the additional stitch, this method is the sturdiest one. You could actually redo the hair several times or let the hair tangle down without the fear of losing hair. It doesn’t matter if someone touches or pulls this hair as it is firmly attached to the fabric. This makes this stitch perfect for doll’s hair or if you want to attach it to something in use like clothes, pillows or bags. Or if you have little children 😉
The downside is: It takes longer to make. Because of the additional step, it is worked with more than one strand of embroidery floss most of the time. This leads to the same problems like method number 2.
Here is the back side. The knotted ends make a hairdo on it’s own. The top one is method 1 and the one on the left makes very tiny and neat back stitches (method 3).
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