Curtain Refresh for the StencilGirl® Creative Team
Experimenting with Pressed Flowers in my Translucent Art Journal

Stencil Embroidery Canvas Bag - What Could I do if I Wasn't Afraid to try?

Hi Everyone,  

I'm back with another Artist Tribe post for Gwen Lafleur Studios.   This time I used two of Gwen's stencils from her Spring 2018 Collection to send the world a message on a rather large canvas bag that I scored at the L.L. Bean Outlet for 50% off.  It felt nice to slow things down a bit and relax with a little stencil embroidery. 


I love L.L. Bean Canvas Bags.  I use them to haul around all kinds of things from work supplies to art supplies. But by far, my most favorite things to carry in them are rocks. Not your ordinary rocks mind you.  The rocks that I swoon over are pounded smooth by the waves and sand of Nauset Beach on Cape Cod.  I've been collecting these treasures ever since I was a kid; lugging them home to add to my collection in big empty driveway sealer buckets.  The way the colors of the rocks dramatically change from drab to rich when you put them under water has always fascinated me.  Every few years I'm inspired to use my beauties to make a tabletop fountain.  But I digress, that's probably a topic for another post....   

All of these years later, I still manage to bring a bucket or two of my beloved rocks home with me whenever I go to the Cape.   Next time though, they'll be traveling in style right next to my beach towels in my new stencil embroidery canvas bag.  I just love the message Gwen's Not Afraid to Try stencil sends and how it conjures up thoughts about possibilities and potential.

So let's get on to it.  I’ll leave a list of supplies for you at the end of the post.SavingPNG 


Canvas bags, especially new ones, are pretty stiff; too stiff actually for me to hand embroider directly on.  So I decided to do my stitching on duck cloth torn from old, sun faded curtains that would have otherwise gone in the trash.  (These were the panels I took down to make room for the Refreshed Thrift Store Curtains I posted about a few weeks back.)  I can't tell you how satisfying it felt for me to rip those old panels up!  Something tells me that Scarlett O'Hara would have been very proud of me for choosing this project.

I began by tracing the stencil onto my fabric with a water soluble marking pen.  I love using these pens because you can wash the ink away when it's no longer needed.  Be sure to test the pen on your fabric first to make sure that there aren't any issues with the material.  


Embroidery sure has come a long way since my Mom first taught me my first stitches in the 6th grade.  I was quite the chain stitcher back then.  

If your interested in learning some cool stitches, check out Mary Corbet on YouTube.  She has a variety of short and easy to follow videos to watch.  One of the stitches I learned from her was the Hungarian Braided Chain which I used to embroider the text on my bag.


I used Gwen's Art Deco Peacock Feather as the pattern for the flower in the central panel and then went to town with my needle and thread.


I've discovered that my stitching style has changed a lot over the years.  I used to depended on patterns and kits for my projects then but now I prefer to work free-style; changing colors, threads, and stitches as the mood suits me; making things up as I go along.  I like to experiment with weaving threads and new stitches.  

Woven threads outline the flower base

I played with a a new stitch that I'm unofficially calling a "French Knot on Steroids".  I'm sure that someone must have given the stitch a real name at some point, but whatever it is, it can't compare to my name.  I mean really, what could be cooler than making a French Knot on Steroids?  Basically, it’s a French Knot with the thread wrapped around the needle 15 to 20 times instead of the normal 2 to 3.   I think they make interesting leaf petals and flower stamens.

The yellow stamens are super-sized French Knots on Steroids

Once I finished with the embroidery, I used a simple blanket stitch to attach the panels onto my canvas bag.  Since the canvas was so stiff, I used a pair of pliers to help me pull the neeedle through the bag.

A pair of pliers helped me pull a large needle through the canvas.


It was good that I finished the bag in time to bring it to Gwen's workshops at The PaperCraft Clubhouse last week.  I needed every inch of room in it to bring home the art we made and the bevy of new art supplies I bought at the shop.  

IMG_8155  Now to find my next project to work on. Did  you see the collection of stencils that Gwen released last week? It's her BoHo Collection  all of birds, butterflies, fish and circles motifs that I just adore.  I just started playing with my set and you can be sure that I'll be sharing some projects that I'm making with them here on my blog soon.

Until next time..... Hugs, Jill


Supply List

  • Canvas tote bag - If your not lucky enough to find one at an outlet for 50% off, repurpose an old one for free.
  • Stencils - designed by Gwen Lafleur for StencilGirl®
Not Afraid to Try 

Art Deco Peacock Feathers

  • Duck Cloth (I recycled old, sun faded curtains to use in this project)
  • Water Soluble Marking Pen, (Usually found in the notion aisle of fabric and craft stores)    
  • Embroidery Floss/Thread of your choice
  • Embroidery Needles
  • Scissors
  • Pliers






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