New Year, New Inspirations-The Kelly Puissegur Project

Hello there! I hope you enjoyed reading about Kelly Puissegur in last week’s blog post. Her art is certainly quirky and you are probably wondering how it will translate into stitch. Well, one of the things that I found most inspiring about Puissegur’s work was her design process, using collage to explore and develop her ideas into a final piece.

To begin with, I am going to show you how to create your very own design, using collage, which can then be turned into a stitched piece using free-motion embroidery. The aim of this project is to embrace the inner child and have fun. The crazier the better!

Creating the design


  • A good selection of magazines
  • Paper
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil/black pen
  1. The first thing you need to do is create some weird human/animal collages. Cut out some human bodies and stick some animal heads on them! Really let your imagination run wild. Remember, the aim is to embrace the silliness and the more you do, the funnier they will get.
A thoughtful squirrel?
A posing mouse?
A gardening deer?
An unlikely couple?

2. You now need to pick your favourite collage. This will be the one that you will translate into stitch. Trace the collage keeping the drawing simple. You are not aiming for lots of detail. Think back to Kelly’s Puissegur’s work and how childlike it was.

3. Once you have traced your design, turn the paper over and go over the reverse of the picture in black pen. This will be your template for your stitched piece. You need to do this so the design is the correct way round when the design is created in fabric.

4. You now have your template ready to create your stitched design.

Transferring the design to fabric


  • Some scraps of fabric for the applique
  • 10×12” piece for the background
  • Heat and Bond
  • Black thread
  • 2×7 piece of fabric and letter stamps (this is optional)
  1. Take your design template. Make sure you are working from the reversed side and start to trace sections of the design onto the Heat and Bond (You should be tracing on the smooth side of the Heat and Bond with the bumpy side face down on the template.) Take your time with this as you will need to think carefully about the separate template pieces. Note how I have added a little extra on the hands, body and chest. This is so the pieces sit nicely under each other when pressed onto the fabric.

2. Cut roughly around the shapes, leaving at least 0.5cm around each piece. Then, iron the Heat and Bond pieces onto the wrong side of the fabric. Remember, the Heat and Bond should be bumpy side down on the wrong side of the fabric.

3. Carefully, cut around your template pieces. Peel off the Heat and Bond and arrange your pieces on your background fabric. Use your design template as a guide. Once you are happy with the design. Iron carefully in place.

4. Now comes the stitching! You are going to use a technique called free-motion embroidery. This is where you literally draw with your sewing machine. It’s a great technique for creating a sketchy look, and it lends itself really well to Kelly’s Puissegur’s artwork.

5. To do this, you first of all need to drop your feed dogs. These are usually located at the back of your machine, but refer to your sewing machine’s user manual if you are having trouble locating them. This is so the fabric is free to move around while stitching. You then need to attach your free-motion embroidery foot, also commonly known as a darning foot.

6. Place your fabric design in an embroidery hoop. Make sure you keep the fabric as taught as you can so the fabric doesn’t pull in the centre distorting the design. At this point you might want to add any detail you want to stitch with a pencil like I have done.

7. Now it’s time to draw with your machine! I always go around my applique pieces three times as I like the look it creates. Be kind to yourself! You are not aiming for perfection here, you are simply defining the pieces so they stand out.

8. A common theme in Kelly Puissegur’s artwork is her use of funny phrases. This adds a comical element to her finished pieces. To embrace this, I stamped a piece of 2×7” fabric with a funny phrase and then stitched it onto my final design. You could free-motion the fabric on, or, as I have done, put your standard sewing foot on, lift your feed dogs and use a buttonhole stitch to stitch the fabric in place.

What next?

It is completely up to you what you do with your finished design. I made mine into a small wallhanging, but you could easily make yours into a cushion or bag.

The wallhanging


Wadding approximately ½ bigger than the front panel

11×13 backing fabric

5×7 fabric piece for the hanging sleeve

Fabric for binding

  1. First all layer your fabrics and baste
  1. Quilt your design as you wish. I used a free-motion meander stitch.

3. Trim your design and make a hanging sleeve by folding the the fabric in half along 7″ side and sewing up each of the short sides. Turn through and pin you hanging sleeve to the top of your hanging. Place in the centre with raw edges matching then bind the hanging.

And there you have it. Your very own Kelly Puissegur inspired wall hanging!

Please do tag us in any photos of makes inspired by this tutorial. We’ll see you next week for our next inspiring artist.

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