Free Motion Jellyfish Embroidery

Free motion embroidery tutorial - Jellyfish
Here’s a quick embroidery tutorial that you can use to turn a boring old tee into a fun nautical inspired top. If you’ve never tried free motion embroidery before, you might want to check out this post first to get a feel for it. I know it can seem a little daunting, but free motion stitching is really a lot of fun. You’ll be coming up with your own embroidery ideas in no time!
Free motion embroidery supplies
You will need:
2 colors of thread, a t-shirt or piece of knit fabric, fusible tricot interfacing, 
a free motion foot, an iron, chalk or a marking pen, an embroidery hoop (optional)
Fusible tricot interfacing
Iron a piece of tricot interfacing onto the wrong side of the knit/t-shirt where you plan to embroider your jellyfish.
Embroidered Jellyfish Tutorial
Flip the fabric over and draw your jellyfish.
For this tutorial I’m breaking mine down into three parts:
the Cap – a dome with a scalloped bottom and two teardrop shapes
 the Arms – four or five squiggly lines tapering away from the cap
and the Tentacles – long wavy lines coming out of each of the caps scallops

Machine setup for free motion embroidery

 Thread your machine with the color you plan to use for the jellyfish’s arms. 
Attach a free motion presser foot, and lower the feed dogs.
Secure your jellyfish drawing inside an embroidery hoop if you plan to use one.

Jellyfish Embroidery Tutorial
Beginning at the top of one of the arms, stitch in a curlicue motion down to the end, and then back up to the top. Leave a long tail, and move on to the next arm. The loops can be large, small, overlapping, to the left, or to the right. I know it just seems like a pile of squiggles, but for this kind of free motion embroidery the more variation you add, the better it looks.
Finishing embroidery knots
Pull the thread tails to the back of the work, knot them, and trim away the extra. If you accidently cut a tail too short
to tie, or are concerned about a knot coming loose, add a drop of fray check to keep it secure.
Jellyfish cap chalk outline

Once all the arms are stitched and knotted, it’s time to move on to the cap of the jellyfish. Change your thread to the second color, and take a peek at the picture above. This funny looping pattern will allow you to make the cap as one continuous line of stitches.
Jellyfish cap free motion embroidery
Make four circuits around the cap trying to build on the previous round each time.  There’s no need to be perfect. 
A bit of squiggly-ness adds volume to the embroidery. Knot the ends when you finish.
Embroidered Jellyfish Tutorial
After the cap, stitch the tentacles in the same way that you did the arms. Start at the top, go down and back up.
Repeat this twice so you have 4 rows of wiggly overlapping embroidery for each tentacle. 

Trimmed embroidery interfacing
Trim away any excess interfacing. Rinse off the chalk/markings, and iron firmly.
Free Motion Embroidered Jellyfish Tutorial
Your free motion jellyfish is complete! 
Add a few jellys here and there in different sizes or colors to create your own embroidery pattern. 
I used mine to decorate Aurelia’s Tidal Pool Tunic, but they’re abstract enough to be great for everyone.

Have a little free motion fun!

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14 thoughts on “Free Motion Jellyfish Embroidery

    1. Thanks Allison! It's pretty fun to just start sewing all over the place since I'm so used to going in a straight line. I can see why quilters enjoy it so much!

    1. Hi Havalah! Not sure if it helps, but I got my free motion foot on Amazon for cheap. If you already have a machine, you can probably find one there that will fit your model. Thanks for visiting!

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