Punch Embroidery: The Lost Art

Not many people out there know about punch embroidery.  To tell the truth, I’d never heard of it until I met my mother-in-law – she makes beautiful punch embroidery pillows, with the help of my father-in-law.  (Kathy does the punch embroidery, and Mike sews the pillows.)  When Kathy found out I could sew, I was pulled in to help sew the pillows – but I was way more interested in learning how to punch embroider.  So, during the first Thanksgiving I spent with Bryan’s family, she taught me how to punch embroider – my first punch embroidery work was Frosty the Snowman, but I quickly came up with ideas I could use to nerd up the craft, so to speak.

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It’s actually surprisingly easy to do punch-embroidery.  Finding the tools are hard, and the yarn is even harder to find, but once you get the hang of it, it’s addicting and projects can be finished up pretty quickly.  It involves simple cotton muslin fabric, thin yarn, an embroidery hoop, and a punch needle – it’s relatively inexpensive to get started with.  One of the really neat characteristics of punch embroidery is the neat 3D texture and feel you can get on your projects – the punch needle can be adjusted to different lengths, which makes your design really stand out.   You can make almost anything into a punch embroidery image, but coloring book images and line drawings are a lot easier to do, as are cartoon images.  Which is where my ideas came in – I started out with making some Sailor Moon pillows, back in 2008.

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The Sailor Moon pillows were pretty popular on the Sailor Moon community on Livejournal – I made quite a few of them for people there!  I also had some Sailor Moon fabric, too, and that probably made them even more popular, haha.  It was lots of fun finding images to turn into pillows, and I loved seeing how things came together as I punched my way to pretty pictures.  I also did some Christmas stockings, and some patches for jackets, and even some designs for bags as well.  From there, I went and did other nerdy things – including a Doctor Who design (which I’ve been working on for years, haha), and a couple of My Little Pony designs.

If you’ve ever wanted to do punch embroidery, it’s not too hard to pick up – you can purchase materials online, and I plan on making a tutorial video sometime soon – until then, you can check out the following links for supplies and tutorials:

Supplies

Tutorials

If you want to see more of the projects I’ve done with punch embroidery, check out the gallery below!

2 thoughts on “Punch Embroidery: The Lost Art

  1. Hi I just discovered needle punch and was wondering if you punched directly onto the towel for the Chibimoon towel you did? I’ve seen plenty of people online saying only punch on this or that but I can’t find any mention of if a terry cloth towel is okay. Thanks so much!

    1. What I did was punch Chibiusa onto some cotton muslin, wash and dry her, and then I trimmed the excess fabric and used fabric glue to attach her to the towel. It was much easier than trying to punch through the towel!

      Hope this helps! 🙂

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