Fixing Plush Embroidery
Have you ever been chugging along with a machine embroidery pattern only to find something has gone... wrong? I certainly have! Embroidering on minky is tough. It's hard to hoop, it stretches funny under the needle, it's got all that fuzz that can get caught up in the stitches... talk about hard mode!
I was recently doing an embroidery for Sprigatito's face. While I wouldn't sell a plush with fixes like this, it's definitely enough to get a plush assembled and looking spiffy for photographs! Next time I'll talk about some tips to avoid having to fix your embroidery in the first place.
Without further ado, here's our special boy!
YIKES! At first glance we've got broken stitches in his eye highlights, some fill stitches in his irises not meeting the satin stitch outline, fill stitches on his nose not meeting the satin stitch outline, and green fuzz showing through in the middle of his nose for some reason. Most of these are because the stretch of the fabric can be unpredictable, but the eye highlights are definitely caused by needing a new needle on the machine.
We'll start with the easiest bit! Because it's white stitching and not the minky showing through between the satin stitch outline and the fill stitch in his iris, we can simply go in and color over the white with a permanent, alcohol based marker (I use Copics, but anything permanent will do!). The marker dyes the white thread underneath and makes the mistake fade away. This WON'T fix the difference in texture, but it's good enough to "pass" in photos!
Next we're going to use bleedproof white to help out both the white eye highlights, and to fix the issues with his nose. Bleedproof white is kind of like if white out and acrylic had a baby - it's permanent, super thick, super opaque, and you can put other media on top of it. It's a favorite in the comics community because you can cover mistakes and ink right over them like it's paper, and we're going to use that to our advantage here!
Normally I would use a regular paint brush to brush in the bleedproof white, but I actually noticed another(!) mistake - some of the stitches in these highlights are super loose. Usually getting the bristles in between the threads makes it look softer and more natural, but using the end of the handle puts it on much thicker and doesn't disturb the loose stitches.
I did the same with his nose! It needed a lot of the bleedproof white to tamp down the green minky fibers. This will serve as a base for what we'll do next.
More Copics! If you're going to add media on top of bleedproof white, be sure it is COMPLETELY dry. Take however long you think it needs to dry and then add half that, because all the white in between the threads and under the threads needs to be bone dry as well. But your patience will be rewarded! Once the surface is dry, you can add color! I ended up using a combination of Copics and Sharpie to get the color matched with the thread.
Since the white has covered and tamped down the green minky fibers, there's no worry of the green poking through anymore.
And that's it! He's done and ready to be sewn into the plush! Since this one's for me, I don't mind him being a little wonky. If he was for a client I'd re-embroider (usually client plush takes at least one test and one "fixed" embroidery file). Next time, I'll show you how to go into your embroidery file and keep mistakes like this from happening in the first place!