Embroidery Kit Makeover: Idemro Best Self

Handdrawn illustration of a green meadow foreground with green pine trees growing against various green-hued mountain ridgelines. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aromantic pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Crafts sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

I’ll admit it: I’m not a fan of generic positivity. Maybe I am a bitter, loveless aro … and maybe I’m a disabled person who’s tired of how the ableds implore me to “look on the bright side” and “be grateful it isn’t worse”. Either way, in my opinion, there’s a special place in hell reserved for whomever first uttered the words “live, laugh, love”!

Given that such phrases aren’t to my taste, I hadn’t planned on stitching this kit … until I saw them on clearance for $2 AUD. Why not practice my satin stitch by giving one an idemromantic makeover during Victoria’s fifth lockdown?

A bamboo embroidery hoop sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The hoop is filled with cream cloth featuring the text "be your best self" with each word satin stitched in grey, mint, white and pink taken from the idemromantic pride flag. Each word is outlined by back stitch in a slightly darker or lighter shade of grey, mint, white and pink, and given a three-dimensional/shadow effect via more black satin stitch.

The finished piece looks okay, I guess? In hindsight, I wish I’d sewn this with striped letters, instead of assigning one stripe colour to each word, because this looks less like pride and more like, well, pastel platitudes. Even though my satin stitching has improved compared to the monstera plant kit, it’s just not that appealing a hoop design. That’s probably the reason why this kit is on sale for less than half price!

My biggest annoyance is the non-existent spacing between letters in the words “be” and “your” on the printed design, especially when compared to the stock image. I struggled to neatly outline the letters because of this, and even after unpicking and re-stitching, my “be” still looks messy.

A bamboo embroidery hoop sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The hoop is filled with cream cloth featuring the text "be your best self" with each word satin stitched in grey, mint, white and pink taken from the idemromantic pride flag. Each word is outlined by back stitch in a slightly darker or lighter shade of grey, mint, white and pink, and given a three-dimensional/shadow effect via more black satin stitch. Beside the hoop sits another piece of cream cloth, with the same text printed in black ink and waiting to be sewn. The cardboard front of the kit packaging is also visible, showing the text sewn in yellow, pink and orange--this time with the letters outlined in back stitch and the shadow filled in with satin stitch.

The black, pink, white and mint letter flosses are available in various K-Mart kits, while the grey and outline-colour flosses come from a cheap eBay set. You may need a needle threader when using the kit flosses, as the cut end badly feathers and frays. (I don’t typically use a threader, but I was glad to have one in my sewing box for this project.) Beginners should consider swapping the kit floss for DMC or Anchor floss as they’re easier to thread, are less prone to knotting and lie more smoothly over the fabric. The kit floss isn’t unusable, but it did cause moments of frustration.

If you need something to occupy you–or distract you from your rising panic–during lockdown, satin stitching fourteen letters will do that. While I’m not fond of this particular design, there aren’t many activities that provide hours of distraction for only $2 AUD (plus additional floss).

And if you don’t want to sew this pattern? $2 AUD isn’t bad for a hoop, a needle container and two sharp needles that work really well for the buttonhole edge on my cross-stitch patches. I may have bought a few kits just for the hoops and needles!

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