Backstitch motorbike

You only turn 30 once, so to mark the occasion of my fella’s thirtieth birthday I wanted to get him something special, and what’s more special than a personal hand-made gift?

Framed backstitch motorbike

He’s a big fan of motorbikes and owns a Yamaha FZ6 Fazer S2. As I’m cracking on with the cross stitch, I thought I’d try to create a motorbike pattern, so I used one of those online tools which makes a cross stitch pattern from a photo you upload. However, as his bike is black and the photo itself was pretty dark, I ended up with about ten different shades of black and not much definition beyond a motorbike-shaped blob.

Motorbike sketch

As all that detail on the bike seemed just too complex to sew, I decided to give backstitch a go, and just focus on the outline. This of course developed into an outline of every part of the bike, and after much faffing about leaving just over a week until his birthday, I feared I may have bitten off more than I could chew!

I’d picked up some beige fabric from Samuel Taylors at Embsay Mills the last time I was up north with a similar project in mind, so I used this for the background. After printing off a photo I found on the internet of the right model of bike, I sketched the bike freehand onto the fabric, before securing it in an embroidery hoop to keep it taught while I stitched.

I decided to just use black and one shade of grey for the bike to keep it simple, plus yellow for the lights (I didn’t have orange). As I stitched along my faintly sketched lines I kept referring back to the photo as well. With only the final bit left to do – the engine – I have to confess I made up a few bits! My boyfriend’s bike is only half faired, which means the engine is exposed, making a more interesting but difficult task of backstitching, hence the making up a few bits!

Motorbike sketch 2

My nemesis throughout the whole thing was the tyres – as I discovered, I need a bit of practice at sewing in a circle! The resulting effect of the bike looking like it has two flat tyres is not really what I was going for, but at least I know what to work on for next time.

Once I’d finishing stitching I took the fabric out of the embroidery hoop and discovered to my horror that no amount of ironing would completely get rid of the oval mark from the hoop. My mum suggested wetting the fabric a little next time, perhaps just using the spray function on the iron.

I then put the piece in a black frame I’d picked up from Wilkinson’s for about six quid. The fabric needed cutting down a little to fit in the frame, before I glued it to the back of the white card surround placed within the frame. Et voila! One personal, home-made thirtieth birthday pressie!

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