Album Artwork & Gig Posters into Hand Embroidery

April 14, 2015Allison Murray
Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

There are many things that I really enjoy but way, way up there are crafting and music. Preferably embroidery or crochet and dirty (sound not lyrics – ew!), sing it hard albums.  So bringing together my love of the two just made sense. And making it for a friend who also loves music, probably even more than me, honestly made even more sense.

The color palette? Black, white with hot pink and bright yellow greens. The subject? Gig posters and album artwork. And guess what? If you have a computer with the internet and a printer + an iron on transfer pencil you’ve got this business on a lock. I’ll show you how to turn that gig art into your very own pattern in homage to your favorite bands, live shows or albums.

I know photos are awesome but they are so hard to turn into a good and proper pattern so we’re going to steer clear of them. Instead, find an image that is like clip art. As an example I’ll show you how to patternize this Modest Mouse, Austin 2009 gig poster and get to stitching.

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Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

So here is the gig poster I’m working with.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

I found it by doing a Google Image Search for Modest Mousegig poster (because they totally rocked the live shows that year and I remember it fondly). Use whatever search terms you need to find what you’re looking for. Now bands have TONS of gigs and almost every one will have a different show poster. Take your time and find one that you don’t mind looking at and stitching on for a while.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

In the end I want to remove all of the color and have this. Now with Photoshop it’s super easy. Open the image and desaturate it by pressing Ctrl-U. Now open the brightness/contrast option. Increase the contrast all of the way to the right and lighten but stop before you lose the definition of the lines in the image. Hit Ctrl-U again and bring that contrast slider to the right as much as you need to get an image that looks like the above. Bingo, bango it’s done in less than a minute.

But if you don’t have Photoshop (and most people don’t) you can use Pixlr online. Nothing to purchase or even download to your computer.

To get started visit the Pixlr online photo editor.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

When you first open the online app it will ask what you want to do. You’ll need to “open image from your computer”. Navigate to where you saved it and open that sucker up.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

Open the levels panel by pressing Ctrl-L. Start to lighten by bringing the slider to the right (looks like a white square) in toward the middle. For mine I went in the middle to get a nice, bright white but you may not need to go that far.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

Now you need to desaturate the image, or remove all of the color to make it a grayscale, or mostly black and white image. Click “Adjustment” from the bar cross the top (also says file, edit, image, etc.) and then “desaturate” from the pull down menu.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

This is going to be what you get. It is on the right track but good luck making that into a pattern…

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

To remove the tones of gray, open the levels panel again with Ctrl-L. Move that right slider way over to the left until you get an image that looks distinctly black and white.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

If your black areas are actually more gray open the levels panel again (Ctrl-L) and pull the left-most tab toward the middle until the black is nice and sharp.

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

Save it to your computer by going “File” -> “save”. Put in a name and hit okay. You can print it from here or take the file into a copy shop if your pattern has a bunch of black to print out (like this one).

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

All stitched up and ready to get quilted! I also stitched up Pavement (looks like a hand making a bunny shadow) – no photo and a block for My Morning Jacket and The Black Keys. The four were pieced together to make a comfy sized throw quilt!

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

In the end this sucker took ages and ages to make. And this was way before my blog by some time so my pictures are crap (sorry about that!) But hopefully you’ll be inspired to rock out your own patterns from the music you love!

Turn gig posters and album covers of your favorite bands into hand embroidery patterns/pieces.

Comments (4)

  • Siobhan S

    April 27, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    What did you end up doing with the embroidered pieces (you mentioned quilting)? I can’t believe you spent the time to hand stitch the embroidery!! You must be wicked good, haha! Would you recommend this for machine embroidery?

    1. Allison Murray

      April 27, 2015 at 6:07 PM

      To be honest I don’t know a thing about machine embroidery but dang if that doesn’t sound tons easier! They actually were used in a lap quilt :)

      1. Siobhan S

        April 28, 2015 at 11:48 AM

        Brilliant! Looking up posters from some of my favorite bands now! And heck, why not a play or two?

        I own a computerized swing machine (I am very, very blessed to have a mother who gets my craft obsession). I also use software that can turn an image into a pattern that the machine can sew/embroider itself, with thread changes and all! Easy, most definitely, but even I have been met with a learning curve, and some do’s-and-don’ts! All in all, great fun!

        1. Allison Murray

          April 28, 2015 at 2:27 PM

          That sounds awesome! I’m still in awe of my Silhouette cutting machine. I’d probably have a conniption if I ever had a sewing machine like that! Dang :) Have fun!

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