brown paper stitch - Brown Paper Bag https://www.brwnpaperbag.com Illustrative Delight Mon, 03 Jan 2022 20:38:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.3 https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/cropped-icon-3-32x32.jpg brown paper stitch - Brown Paper Bag https://www.brwnpaperbag.com 32 32 Happy 2022! Some of the Pet Portraits I Stitched During My Time Off https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2022/01/03/hello-2022-pet-portraits/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 20:35:44 +0000 https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=34928 Did I MEAN to take 3 months off from blogging? No, I did not. But hello again!

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Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

Hello again, and hello 2022! I say this every time, but I never mean to take extended hiatuses on Brown Paper Bag. I miss writing and connecting with others. But alas, the holiday season got away from me; all of those embroideries I mentioned had to be stitched, and my husband and I closed on our first home (!). Between embroidery, house stuff, and my roles at My Modern Met, I had to take the pressure off of Brown Paper Bag.

But, I’m back! And I wanted to start this new year by sharing some of what I stitched during my time away (from the blog). It’s not everything, but I did a lot of stick-on patches this year—upwards of 40. And what was interesting was that many people didn’t even stick the patches on clothing. When faced with where to stick the patch, some folks framed the pieces. I even converted a Shar-Pei patch into an ornament on a Christmas tree.

Looking forward in 2022, one thing I’d like to do this year is to expand my product line. I’ve got a growing list of product ideas and intend to launch at least a couple of them this year. Soon, I’m moving into my own studio/office space (as opposed to sharing it with my husband), so I’m hopeful that will give me a creative boost to do even more things. (And be more organized.)

As I’m getting back in the swing of things here, expect to see more regular content that you’re used to—of my work and other creatives’ artwork and products that inspires me and will hopefully inspire you, too.

Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

Custom pet portrait patch by Brown Paper Stitch

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Pet Portrait Sketches That Will Eventually Become Stitches [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/10/06/pet-portrait-sketches-brown-paper-stitch/ Wed, 06 Oct 2021 21:29:39 +0000 https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=34909 I've been sketching a lot lately—not so much stitching. See what I've been up to!

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Drawing a Pet Portrait on an iPad Air

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing and as patches.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, I’ve been sketching a lot of pets for soon-to-be embroideries. In fact, I had a marathon sketching session over the past couple of weeks; I was definitely doing that more than stitching.

But, I don’t mind. My background is in illustration, and so sketching is an integral part of the process. As an illustrator, the typical workflow is that I’d create a sketch that would then go to review from the client. (In this case, it’s the person who orders a pet portrait patch.) Once I get the OK from the client, I then move on to the “final,” or the embroidery.

Digital pet portrait of a cat illustrated by Sara Barnes / Brown Paper Stitch

Because I don’t have much in the way of stitching to share right now (check back here in the next month!), I want to show what’s on deck. I’m really excited about all of these portraits! If you’d like your own special pet portrait, just visit my Etsy shop—I have commissions available.

My intention in the near future is to make these types of digital portraits available as an option for a pet portrait (no stitching). I’m still working on the logistics of this, but stay tuned—I’ll let you know when these are a possibility.

Digital pet portraits of dogs illustrated by Sara Barnes / Brown Paper Stitch

Digital pet portrait of cats illustrated by Sara Barnes / Brown Paper Stitch

Digital pet portraits of dogs illustrated by Sara Barnes / Brown Paper Stitch

Digital pet portrait of a cat illustrated by Sara Barnes / Brown Paper Stitch

Digital pet portraits of dogs illustrated by Sara Barnes / Brown Paper Stitch

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9 Custom Stitched Patches That Immortalize Our Furry Friends [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/09/08/custom-pet-portrait-patches/ Wed, 08 Sep 2021 22:55:03 +0000 https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=34797 Here are some furry friends I've recently immortalized in thread.

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Custom embroidered pet portrait of a dog

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

When I first began stitching pet portraits, I started embroidering directly onto shirt collars. (It’s something I still do!) But over the past year, patches have become my most popular product. I love creating patches—there is something so satisfying about the process of embroidering onto felt and by the end, producing something that someone will wear on their shirt, jacket… or whatever fabric choose! There’s a lot of freedom in determining where a patch goes. When placed, it becomes something of an heirloom.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my patches, which is a bit wild since I’m always so happy with how they turn out. If you’d like me to stitch your furry or scaley friend, visit my Etsy shop to learn more.

I’ve got more patches in the works. Be sure to follow my Instagram to see what’s next.

Custom embroidered pet portrait of a dog

Custom embroidered pet portrait patch of two cats

Custom embroidered pet portrait patch of two cats

Custom embroidered pet portrait patch of two cats

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How I Use the DMC Thread Card in Picking Colors for Pet Portraits [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/03/03/using-dmc-thread-card/ Wed, 03 Mar 2021 15:03:15 +0000 http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=34137 Using the DMC Thread Card is seriously a lifesaver when it comes to stitching my pet portraits. Here's how I use it (and you can too!)

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Pet portrait embroidery with DMC Thread Card

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

When working on a pet portrait commission, sketching is the first step of the process. (I wrote about it here.) Once the sketch is complete, the process moves on to one of the most challenging parts of what I do: selecting the perfect thread colors.

It’s hard to overstate just how hard this can be. Because I’m trying to match the sketch as best as possible, it’s not enough for the colors to be “close enough.” I want them to be exactly as they are in your sketch.
But, color is so tricky! Hues can change their appearance when placed next to other colors (this is known as color relativity), so finding the perfect gray for a pup doesn’t always mean it’s what I’m ultimately going to pick.

This can be maddening and it often involves a lot of second-guessing—and sometimes, ripped stitches. That’s where the DMC Thread Card has been an absolute lifesaver in selecting thread colors for pet portraits. Here’s how I use it.

How I use the DMC Thread Card

DMC Thread Card

Using a recent embroidery as an example, I decided that part of a dog’s fur was going to use DMC 3827. Done deal. But I needed an additional hue in the same color family that was slightly darker. But, it couldn’t be too similar in color, as I’ve learned that some hues will look practically the same when stitched next to one another on fabric. Instead of scouring my cases of thread, I instead turned to my DMC Thread Card.

The beauty of the DMC Thread Card is how it is organized. The (real thread) colors in each column are arranged by similarity. It’s not in numerical order; instead, you can find a single color and then look at what’s above it and below it to see what’s similar to it—darker and lighter.

In the case of DMC 3827, I found that DMC 977—which was right below it in the color chart—was exactly what I needed. It was dark enough to stand out next to 3827 and not too similar so that you couldn’t tell them apart.

This practice—of finding a color I want to use and then referring to my thread card for a similar hue—is one that I now often use. It has saved me a ton of ripped stitches and inspired me to continue to expand my thread collection so that I have the most accurate colors for your pets.

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Want to Get an Embroidered Pet Portrait? Here’s the First Step [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/02/24/february-24-brown-paper-stitch-dispatch/ Wed, 24 Feb 2021 15:03:46 +0000 http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=34090 Your pet isn't sketchy; but I make them one.

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Sketching a Pet Portrait on Procreate App

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

When the 2020 holidays had passed, I thought that I might get some downtime to tackle some of my goals for Brown Paper Stitch this year. (New product development, for instance.) But ever since the beginning of January rolled around, I’ve been busy with custom work. I’m elated that this is the case. I love working on custom projects and developing portraits of your pets.

But it hasn’t yielded much to show at the moment, and I dislike showing my embroideries in progress when there isn’t much thread and it’s hard to tell what it is I’m stitching. So, I thought I’d give you a little more insight into the sketching phase of a custom order—the first step in creating your pet portrait!

Digital Pet Portrait by Brown Paper Stitch

Sometimes, the color is off. Here’s an example of a tweak I made.

I’m formally trained as an illustrator, and in the illustration process, you will typically submit a sketch to a client. They will offer their comments. Maybe your sketch looks great! Or, maybe there are a few tweaks needed. If the latter is the case, then there are sketch revisions that take place with the client’s comments in mind. All of my custom pet portraits are started with this premise; you, as the client, get to OK the sketch before I start on the final (the stitching).

I sketch with an Apple Pencil on an iPad using the Procreate app, so most changes are pretty quick.

Digital Pet Portrait by Brown Paper Stitch

Tweaks are often in the shape of the face, like in this pug portrait.

I like to do this for a couple of reasons, but the biggest is that it gives you control over the portrait. After all, you know your pet better than I do! And it also ensures that when you receive the shirt or garment, there won’t be any surprises with what it looks like. It’s peace of mind for you and me.

Want to get your pet stitched as a patch or on a garment? Check out the custom options in my Brown Paper Stitch shop

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3 Good Dogs (and an Ornery Cat) I’ve Stitched This Week [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/02/03/brown-paper-stitch-dispatch-february-3/ Wed, 03 Feb 2021 20:04:59 +0000 http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=34012 Here's what's been going on in my studio the past couple of weeks.

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Pet Portraits by Brown Paper Stitch

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

Over the past couple of weeks, I haven’t had a lot to show in my studio. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working! I have many pet portrait patches and shirts that are on deck, so I’ve been creating the sketches for all those projects.

I typically don’t share those sketches unless it’s via a reel or pictured with the embroidery itself. While important, sketches aren’t as exciting as seeing the stitches, and it’s also a way to protect my intellectual property; I’ve had folks trace over my custom sketches and recreate the embroideries for themselves (!).

Scroll down to see what I’ve been stitching in my studio lately. To see what I’m doing in real-time, follow me on Instagram!

 

Sweater Pup on a Sweater

Custom pet portrait on sweater by Brown Paper Stitch

I sound like a broken record, but one big reason I love to take on custom work is that your ideas help to push my embroidery in new directions. This can be seen in one of my latest completed projects, Cooper the pup. When the client sent me a sweater, I was a bit befuddled about how I am going to stitch Cooper’s portrait onto it. After all, the collar wasn’t like the typical collared shirt. After going back and forth with sketches and placement, the client and I landed on putting the dog on the chest with his name nearby.

Custom pet portrait on sweater by Brown Paper Stitch

Embroidering on a knit is nothing like the chambray that I usually work on. This particular sweater was also pretty loose and directly stitching on it—with all the details I like to include—just wasn’t an option. So, I decided to first embroider Cooper on felt and then once done, adhered him to the garment with a stabilizer. I then stitched around his edges to further secure the embroidery.

Custom pet portrait on sweater by Brown Paper Stitch

The name was done completely freehand on the collar, which lent itself to direct stitching since the knit was tighter and chunkier.

All in all, I’m really pleased with how the sweater turned out!

 

Pup Patches in the Works

Stitching custom pet portrait patches by Brown Paper Stitch

I’m now stitching a trio of pup patches. I have a client who ordered three patches of the same dog and so I’m stitching him in three different ways. It’s a great excuse to bust out my 10-inch hoop (that I’ve never used before) and embroider all of the patches there.

 

1 Year of Stitches: January is Done!

1 Year of Stitches, daily embroidery project

January 31

I started my 1 Year of Stitches projects off with a detailed portrait of my parent’s late Golden Retriever, Maddie. (Refresher: I am stitching a different animal portrait each month for a year. I’m calling it my #creaturecoat.) During the first week of January, I had a lot of time to stitch Maddie. This proved crucial, as the design was complex and I was able to make a lot of progress. As the month went on, I had less time and ended up finishing Maddie on the evening of the 31st.

1 Year of Stitches, daily embroidery project

February 2

Now, I’m on to my February portrait: my beloved Pauline. She’s not quite as detailed as Maddie was (here’s a peek at the sketch), which is probably a good thing—especially with February being a short month!

You can start 1 Year of Stitches any time of the year! Check out the details and sign up for my mailing list about the project below.

Want to start your own 1 Year of Stitches project? Sign up below for emails helping you get started.

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How Do I Draw? The Better Question is How Do I Think [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/01/13/brown-paper-stitch-dispatch-jan-13/ Wed, 13 Jan 2021 17:16:48 +0000 http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=33887 I posted an Instagram reel and the comments got me thinking about how I create my art and on a larger scale, how I think. Join me on this thought journey!

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View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sara Barnes (@brwnpaperbag_stitch)

I don’t have a lot to show—stitching wise—from this past week (with the exception of 1 Year of Stitches). But I have been sketching and waiting for approvals from my clients to move forward with embroidering their pets. The sketching process is two-fold; first, I create a color sketch of what the embroidery will look like. Once given the go-ahead, I then turn the drawing into lines that become the pattern of what I’ll stitch.

To share a little bit about this process, I posted an Instagram reel that showed me finishing tracing and then revealing what it looks like when a design becomes outlines. Soon after posting, I received questions about it. Queries basically fell into two camps; the first was if I first vectorized a photo to aid me in drawing, or if I did it all freehand. The second question wanted to know how I decide on what shapes to make.

Those questions were interesting to me, as they are a bit like asking someone how they think. To begin, I don’t vectorize a photo or convert it to shapes in any way on the computer—everything I do is freehand. I grew up without Photoshop and Illustrator and didn’t use them until my freshman year of college (2004), so thinking about using a filter over a photo wasn’t something that entered my consciousness. Rather, I’ve cultivated this style since my freshman year ever since a professor told me I wasn’t good at realistic drawing. (Talk about a shot to the heart! That’s all I tried to do growing up!)

After the realization that realistic drawing wasn’t my forte, I had a creative crisis—experimentations that ultimately went nowhere—until my junior year of college when a visiting professor told me to try working in collage. It made sense; we don’t have the same expectations of reality when looking at collage, so it lends itself well to stylized artwork. The same goes for embroidery.

Learning to translate the world into simple shapes is integral to how I work—it’s something I’ve been practicing for nearly 15 years, first through collage and now through embroidery. I focus on abstracting planes (of an animal’s face, for instance) and draw the shapes I see in Procreate. In my head, I’m converting them into tones and colors in order to build some semblance of three-dimensional form.

If you’re interested in trying this too, check out one of the artists most influential to how I think about collage and abstraction, Henri Matisse. He’s known for his paintings, but later in life couldn’t paint anymore so he started “drawing with scissors” and created collages that celebrate shape and decorative forms.

Brown Paper Stitch Instagram Reel

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These Good Doggos (and Deer) Closed Out 2020 [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/01/06/brown-paper-stitch-dispatch-jan-6/ Wed, 06 Jan 2021 16:26:02 +0000 http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=33813 I did a lot of stitching over the last six weeks of 2020. Here's what I was up to!

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Custom Dog Embroidery on a Shirt

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

I did a lot of stitching over the last six weeks of 2020. The holidays are always a big time for custom portraits of pets, and during that time, I embroidered many shirts and some patches, too. Here’s what I was up to!

To see what I’m working on in real-time, follow my Instagram.

2020 was the Year of Stitching Doggos

Custom Pet Portraits by Brown Paper Stitch

I love dogs, but I am more of a cat person. I started my business embroidering cats, but lately, I’ve been able to stitch pup after pup. I love the challenge of drawing and stitching dogs; there are so many distinct breeds (and fur patterns!) and it’s given me the opportunity to embroider tounges.

Stitching pet portraits means that I work in a lot of browns, yellows, and gray flosses. I keep my blue and green threads sequestered in their own containers because I just… don’t use them at all. I jump at the chance to use purple or pink in my designs. And with stitching tongues, I get to do exactly that. Working with purples—especially brownish-purple—has made me rethink some of my color choices for embroideries, too. When paired with the right hue, a purple often achieves the color of the animal I’m stitching.

Custom Pet Portraits by Brown Paper Stitch

Custom Dog Embroidery on a Shirt

Custom Pet Portrait Patches by Brown Paper Stitch

Your Ideas Take Me to New Places

Custom Pet Embroidery on a Shirt

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ya’ll have awesome ideas and I love making them happen. This was the case when I had a client reach out about stitching a deer and a dog over the pocket of a t‑shirt. The project ended up being a lot of firsts for me. It was the first time stitching on a t‑shirt and the first time I ever embroidered a deer. Let this be a lesson—if you have an idea for a custom pet portrait (that I don’t already do), just ask! I love to stitch new things.

Custom Pet Portraits by Brown Paper Stitch

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Saying Hello to ‘1 Year of Stitches’ 2021 and This Embroidered #CreatureCoat https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2021/01/04/1-year-of-stitches-2021-jan/ Mon, 04 Jan 2021 16:20:23 +0000 http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=33787 Hello again! How's your new year going? Does it include 1 Year of Stitches?

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Dog embroidery on a coat

Hello! It’s been a while. I took an unintended break for the past six weeks (or so) to work on some custom embroidery orders for the holidays. They all went out (and were received—whew!) on time, but after that much stitching, I really needed a break with as few obligations as possible. The first full week of the new year seems like a great time to return, so here I am. Let’s start 2021 with some 1 Year of Stitches talk. If you were reading last fall, you might’ve seen my articles on participating in 1 Year of Stitches 2021.

Unfamiliar with 1 Year of Stitches? It’s a yearlong daily embroidery project created by artist Hannah Claire Sommerville. The premise is that you make at least a stitch a day (typically on the same piece of fabric) every day for a year. It’s simple and fun. Learn more about it here.

You can technically start 1 Year of Stitches any day of the year as long as you’re stitching 365 consecutive days. I like to start on January 1 for a few reasons. First and foremost, the dates are easy to keep track of. Second, I feel a renewed creative outlook because it’s the new year. And third, this time of year is cold and dark so why not brighten it with an embroidery project?

I’d been thinking about my own 1 Year of Stitches for months; it began this summer when I was browsing the Poshmark app and saw a denim jacket on sale for very cheap. On an impulse, I bought it with the intention of using it for embroidery… somehow. It later occurred to me that this would be a great garment to use in 1 Year of Stitches 2021.

Stitching pet portraits on clothing is my specialty, and I knew I wanted to do something that centered around animals. After all, 1 Year of Stitches is a great way to practice a technique or style of embroidery. So, my plan is to stitch a different animal portrait (most likely a dog or a cat) every month for the entire year. If all goes according to plan, I should have a dozen creatures all over this jacket. (I’m calling it the #creaturecoat this year.)

I spent my Christmas holiday finalizing the sketch for January. It’s a portrait of my parent’s dog Maddie, who sadly crossed the rainbow bridge in late 2020. (She was the ring bearer at my wedding!) You can follow my progress on Instagram, but here’s how the first few days have gone.

I look forward to sharing with you more throughout the year! If you’re participating in 1 Year of Stitches, let me know through DM or email.

1 Year of Stitches daily embroidery project

January 1, 2021

1 Year of Stitches pet embroidery on coat

January 2, 2021

Dog embroidery on a coat

January 3, 2021

I’ll be sending periodic emails about 1 Year of Stitches that will inspire you and help you prepare (including what I am doing for the project!).

Sign up for my 1 Year of Stitches newsletter:

Want to try 1 Year of Stitches? I send periodic emails about the project that will inspire you and help you prepare (and hopefully keep you on track when you begin).

Sign up for my 1 Year of Stitches newsletter:

Dog embroidery on a coat

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Have an Idea for a Custom Pet Portrait? I Wanna Hear It! [Brown Paper Stitch Dispatch] https://www.brwnpaperbag.com/2020/10/28/brown-paper-stitch-dispatch-october-28/ Wed, 28 Oct 2020 18:37:42 +0000 http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/?p=33668 I love making your ideas come to life as is the case with my latest custom portrait!

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Custom pet embroidery by Sara Barnes / Brown Paper Stitch

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

I am an illustrator at heart. I have my undergrad and graduate degrees in illustration, and it’s why I love creating custom embroidered pet portraits. Collaboration with a client—a cornerstone of illustration—is when I am at my best, and I get a lot of joy from the process. One big reason is that ya’ll bring some awesome ideas to the table—things I probably wouldn’t have thought of on my own. In doing this, it expands Brown Paper Stitch and inspires me to think in new ways.

One of my latest commissions is on a garment I’ve never stitched before—a white coat that a veterinary student will wear during her clinical year in school. I have so much respect for veterinarians and I’m so excited to be able to stitch her kitties. But had she not asked, I would’ve never considered stitching on a white coat.

So, if you have an idea for a custom pet portrait (that I don’t already do), just ask! I love stitching new things. Message me on Instagram, Etsy, or send me an email. Without suggestions, I would’ve never stitched Midge—one of my favorite shirts to date!

Custom reptile pet portrait

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