Embroidered & Appliqued Sugar Skull

I like to upcycle materials whenever possible. With embroidery, that's an insanely easy thing to do. Quite often, my needlework pieces are stitched up on pieces of old clothing or vintage linens.

This sugar skull is no exception. The background fabric lived it's first life as a napkin that I rescued from a "free box" next to a dumpster at my old apartment complex, and the skull itself used to be a white dress shirt that ended up with a big stain down the front, the reason I should not wear white. His eyes and nose are made from scraps leftover from another project. Waste not, want not.

The skull's edges were sealed with clear nail polish because I could not find my Fraycheck. If you plan on using or laundering your item, you would not want to do what I did, but since I knew that this piece would live on the wall, clear nail polish worked just fine. You could also turn the edges, but I find that tedious, and just felt it was an unnecessary step for this particular project.

I blanket stitched the skull onto the backing fabric, and then blanket stitched the eyes and nose onto the skull before getting down to the REAL stitchin'. I did not have a set design in my mind, just a palette of colors I had chosen. I incorporated some sequins and metallic floss for a bit of sparkle, but I seriously dislike using metallic floss. That stuff is seriously a pain in the ass. I have heard better things about other brands of metallic threads, but I have DMC in my stash, and that shit is annoying to work with. It looks good, though, so it often makes it's way into my work. I just made up the design while stitching.

This guy currently lives on my kitchen wall.

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