Free Motion Stitching on Paper - Pati Reis of Old News Design

When I came across the vibrant free motion stitched art Pati Reis of Old News Design [edit: site no longer available] creates, I was curious to learn more about her process. Pati is a graphic designer and tactile artist who has lived in Brazil, France and now Raleigh, North Carolina where she earned a Masters in Art and Design at North Carolina State University. Pati credits the program with teaching her to take craft seriously and it is also where she became passionate about re-using materials.

Handmade Journal with Stitched Cover

Inspired by relatives who taught her needle and patchwork skills years ago, Pati hand embroiders and does free motion machine stitching on foreign newspapers collected while traveling. She turns these collaged papers into wall statements, frameable greeting cards and covers for books that she binds by hand.

Pati Reis of Old News Design

Pati's choice of upbeat catch phrases is not only because of their positive nature, but also because of the marked contrast to bad news that newspapers contain. Modern typography in both script and block letters placed against aging paper is another nod to differences.
I Think You Are Amazing Stitched Card

I asked Pati about her labor intensive process and the free motion stitching technique which is very different from paper stitching that is typically done with a precise pattern (such as this geometric heart tutorial).

Tell us about your use of newspaper as a background.

While traveling I would always save foreign newspapers because I was attracted to the different languages, typography, and memories they conveyed. About two years ago, I started experimenting with them and after a lot of sampling I found that embroidery and newspaper totally work together.

Free-Motion Stitched Greeting Cards

First, I back the newspaper with 100% cotton interface to give it more structure, then I cut it in a crazy quilt pattern. Finally, I stitch the pieces together using a sewing machine

Most of my text designs are made in Illustrator, which I then print on the back of the quilted newspaper. I use that as a guide for the next step of the process, free motion and hand embroidery.

Hi Alphabet Stitched Wall Art

 I'm sure readers will be curious about your stitching techniques.

Stitching is actually my favorite part of the process. I mainly use free motion machine embroidery for most of the quotes. It is done by hiding the feed dogs of the sewing machine so that I'm able to move the material in any way and I have total control over the stitch direction, the rhythm between stitches and the motion of the fabric. Some pieces I choose to hand embroider, normally more abstract compositions. I like to switch between both techniques to make the process more dynamic.

Don't be Afraid to Make Mistakes Stitched Wall Art

I imagine free motion machine stitching takes lots of practice to get it to look so good! How long was it before you were satisfied with your stitching technique?

I have been working with free motion stitch for more than four years now. In the beginning it would take a long time to get it perfect. For example, a 5x7 embroidery art would take four hours (and a lot of cursing :) Today it takes an average of 20 minutes, so I've become better and faster. I have also learned what kind of thread works best for the technique and the tension on my machine.

It Is Always Better When We Are Together Stitched Wall Art

In addition to Pati's website and Instagram feed, @_patireis, she welcomes visitors to her Artspace studio in Raleigh. She has two upcoming North Carolina shows this fall - Centerfest in Durham, September 19-20 and Festifall in Chapel Hill on October 4.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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