Fabric Lucky Clover Specimen Art

I’ve shared that I’m not so good with paper crafts. Especially ones that I have to cut out myself.
For some reason anything I cut out of paper ends up looking like I’ve got a severe vision impairment paired with palsy of the hands.
Not pretty.

While I’m fully aware of my inadequacies, I still have been dying to make some Specimen Artwork.
There are so many fabulous examples of it, I especially love Jen from Tatertots and Jello’s Creepy Halloween Version. So fun.

So what is a paper craft-impaired girl to do when she wants to make Specimen Art?
Make it out of fabric!

Here’s my St. Paddy’s version!

Isn’t it so cute?? I love the little shamrocks. ;)

Here’s a tutorial in case you are paper craft-impaired too! ;)

You’ll need:

1 Frame – I used a 12 x 12 Shadowbox
Fabric for background – about 14 x 14
Fabric for Shamrocks – you don’t need much)
Contrasting Thread
12 x 12 piece of batting
12 x 12 piece of posterboard or chipboard

Start by cutting out your background fabric.
Cut it just a little wider than your frame size.

Decide how many rows of shamrocks (or whatever design you’re doing) you would like. I wanted 5 rows across and 5 down.
Mark out your rows with a disappearing fabric marker.

Now cut out your shamrock pieces. I used small hearts for the petals. The heart measures about 7/8″ from top to point.
I did 4 rows of regular 3 leaf shamrocks (so 60 hearts) and 1 row with 1 4 leaf clover.

(This fabric is from Amy Butler’s line.)

Lay out the center row of shamrocks, with the center of the bottom right heart lining up with the marked line.
Then place the two remaining hearts to the left of that, so that the clover is a little angled.

Lay out the two end rows next, lining them up the same way.

Layout the inside two rows next.

Last, lay out the four leaf clover in the empty row. It should line up with the 4th column of clovers.

I figured out partway through the sewing process that pins were not the best way to keep track of where the hearts go.
Just mark the “V” of the heart with the marking pen, then you can line them up as you sew.

Here are the sewing instructions for each clover:
Start with the far left heart. Sew down the center and then sew up the center of the far right heart.
Turn the fabric 360 degrees and go back over this stitching line.
Sew back to the center point. Turn the fabric and sew up the center of the middle heart.
Turn the fabric 360 degrees and sew back down the center and continue down 4 or 5 stitches to make the stem.
Sew up  the stem and center heart one more time in each direction.
Sew back up to the center from the bottom of the stem. Finish it off with a locking stitch.
(You don’t have to do it exactly like this – just do it the way it works best for you)

Here’s a closeup.

Start with the top row and sew all the clovers down the same way. You don’t have to cut the threads after each clover, you can clip them all at the end of the row.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. If you look closely at mine (or maybe not even closely) you’ll see that they’re not all exactly the same. That’s ok. ;)

Continue sewing on the clovers down all the rows.

Now that your clovers are all sewn on, write out the word “lucky” in the space by the 4 leave clover with your marking pen.

Take the pressure foot off your machine. We’re going to follow the marked line with machine stitching, just like the Hoop Art last month.

Start with your needle at the left side of the fabric and pull your fabric through as you sew.
(Since the pressure foot is off, the feed dogs won’t be feeding your fabric through. You will.)
The faster you pull, the longer your stitches will be.

Don’t worry too much if you’re a little off the marked line, you can fix it on your second pass.

Continue all the way to the right side of the fabric, then go back over your stitching all the way to the beginning.

Remove your marked lines and dots and press your fabric.

If you like the finished look to be a little padded like mine, place your fabric face down, then place a piece of batting on that, then top it with your posterboard or chipboard.

Hot glue your edges around the posterboard, pulling the fabric tight so that there aren’t any puckers in the front.

Flip the fabric back over. Finger press the clovers up a little so that they stand off the fabric. You can do this by pinching the heart around the stitching.

Pop the finished artwork in your frame and you’re done!

What do you think?
I think it might bring me some luck.

86 Comments

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    Karen Weight

    I love it Bev! So cute. I haven’t jumped on the Silhouette band wagon yet either! Soooo expensive. Maybe we could win one, huh? Thanks for sharing! I always look forward to looking at your blog:)

  • Super cute, Bev! Love it! And guess I hadn’t noticed until you said it about your aversion to paper. How funny! But the things you do with fabric are just dreamy!

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    christy

    this is really something…clever and adorable. i am wishing i had sewing skills right about now!

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    Amy

    super, super cute! I just might have to knock off this idea- absolutely lovely!
    xoxo,
    Amy

  • This is adorable! So clever and unique! :) I stumbled this!

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    KJ@letsgoflyakite

    Love how you stitched these shamrocks on !!! great project.

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    gail

    I love it! the work lucky really makes it have that wow factor! great job!
    tweeting it!
    gail

    • March 2, 2011

      gail

      *word*

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    Lindsay

    OOHWEE, I love it!
    I am not even a huge fan of specimen art – because I don’t really get it:) But having all the 3 leaf clovers with 1 4 leaf clover!! I love it! So clever:)

  • Oh my goodness Bev, that’s too cute for words! I love the little shamrocks too :)

  • So cute! And what a great step by step tutorial! You should link up at DIY Thrifty Thursday @ http://www.thrifty101.blogspot.com

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    kara

    so beautiful!!

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    Tiffany

    I love it!

  • This is adorable! You have talent, there is no way I could sew the word lucky!!

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    Carlee

    SO cute, I love the fabric! The stitching ROCKS!

    Carlee

  • Reply March 3, 2011

    AprilK

    SO cute!! I have the opposite problem-I could not do this with fabric!! But, paper, no prob.

  • Reply March 3, 2011

    Andi

    I’m speechless. I don’t think you give yourself enough credit for your paper crafts because i’m sure they are awesome because your sewing skills are amazing! And how did you cut out such perfect little hearts? My favorite specimen art EVER.

  • I’m REALLY loving the specimin art that I’ve been seeing around blogland…but THIS?!? I ADORE everything about it! The word “lucky” connecting w/ the only 4 leaf clover…NICE TOUCH!
    Your tutorial too…you make it all look so easy!!! You may have just inspired me to get my sewing machine warmed up…. *wink*
    All the Best & Good Luck @ CSI!
    …M… @ RequireLife

  • this is amazing – you are very very good at this! Reminds me of your PS I Love You that I saw everywhere – love the way you incorporated fabric as your clovers…so very unique. Awesome job!

  • Reply March 3, 2011

    tracie

    adorable!!

  • Reply March 3, 2011

    Allie

    WOW! I love this! such a great twist on specimen art. I love the look of slightly messy machine stitching on lettering. I feel like mine would be too messy to work, but maybe I’ll try it anyway. I really love it!

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