Suisse Embroidery Top Refashion

An old gingham top given a new look with some suisse embroidery detail

Take a old gingham top and give it a new look with some Suisse or Chicken Scratch embroidery.

It’s Pinterest Challenge time! For the Pinterest Challenge, hosted by My Pinterventures, I join a group of creative bloggers and we each take something we pinned a while ago and actually get round to giving it a go.

This month I was inspired by several pins on my Embroidery Ideas board for Suisse or Chicken Scratch embroidery. It’s a lovely embroidery technique that you do on gingham fabric and the designs you can try are really varied, but for a while I’d just been pinning away and had never actually given it a try - until now.

I found a gingham top in the Charity shop that I thought would be suitable for a quick and easy refashion.

Gingham top before a makeover

It was a little bit to big and the sleeves weren’t doing anything for me but those things are easy to fix.

I removed the sleeves by just undoing the seams. I re-hemmed them with a simple double hem after I did the Suisse embroidery.

To take the top in a little at the sides I simply put it on inside out and then used safety pins to pin it in a bit. This is the easiest way to take clothes in, use safety pins so you don’t stab yourself as you take the garment off.

take a top in using safety pins

I only took it in a little bit, I wanted it to be fairly loose, just not quite so baggy as it had been.

Once my top was a better shape I got started with the Suisse embroidery.

I decided on a band of embroidery across the front.

To create this Suisse or Chicken Scratch Embroidery Design

you will need:

  • A suitable gingham garment

  • White and Coral embroidery thread

  • An embroidery hoop

  • A sharp needle

Using 2 strands of white embroidery thread, start by stitching stars in every dark square like this:

How to work chicken scratch embroidery
embroidery hoop.jpg

Work 5 rows of stars all the way across.

Find the centre of your top, you’ll want to work the first flower centrally there, rather than working from one edge.

Now take the coral embroidery thread, and using 6 strands work the ‘petals’ as shown in the photos. I realise the thread looks red in these photos but in real life it is more of a coral colour.

suisse embroidery design

You only actually stitch through the fabric on the centre star, you work the petals just by going under the threads of the white stars.

At this point I realised my top was not entirely suitable for this project. It looks like gingham but is in fact is made of a stretchy jersey fabric. When you work the coral stitching you want to loop it at the back from centre star to centre star. With the stretch of the fabric is was a little difficult to make sure I didn’t pull it out of shape. I got round this by doing a tiny little stitch on the back, hidden behind the inbetween stars.

back of suisse embroidery

Work the coral flowers all the way along.

chicken scratch embroidered top

Once my chicken scratch embroidery was finished I hemed the sleeves and my top was all done! You can see how I just turned a hem and stitched it with a slight zig zag stitch (because the fabric is stretchy)

hem sleeves.jpg
chicken scratch embroidery design

An easy transformation. Not quick but definitely easy! It took me 3, maybe 4 evenings of watching tv to do all the embroidery. I did it between other projects so I wasn’t really keeping check.

chicken scratch top.jpg

I think I love this suisse embroidery technique, I can see me doing it again on something else.

suisse embroidery simple design

You might be interested to hear that the embroidery thread washes really well in the washing machine. I had planned to hand wash this the first time but my lovely husband bunged it in the washing machine one day with the rest of a dark wash. It survived beautifully, these photos were all taken after it had been washed - no colour running at all. yay!

It’s becoming a bit of a habit to have some ridiculous photos of me during a photoshoot and I just can’t resist sharing a couple of the worst with you!

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