Brill and Ben

Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Etsy creator Brill and Ben is a crafter after our own hearts. As stitcher Brill puts it, “I had a light bulb moment in a little seaside shop. Surrounded by a mass of cute embroidery I thought that if I never saw an embroidered cup cake or puppy on a tea cosy it wouldn’t be a minute too soon.” Oh yes, we’ve felt that agony too…

So with that revelation, a new shop was created juxtaposing vintage inspired and once-loved thrifted linens with one-of-a-kind and darkly humorous machine embroidered works.


Her designs are both darkly elaborate and deliciously irreverent when combined with the delicate tradition of embroidered linens. Having had just about enough of the cute and whimsical traditions of classic embroidery, she finds inspiration instead in rock carvings, steel engravings, graffiti, tattoos and the works of Poe. “My design process starts with inspiration. Usually an idea strikes at strange times, when my mind is running free. ”


All the items in the store are machine embroidered, using digitizing techniques to create the designs. The process she works with is remarkably similar to industry digitizing techniques, drawing a design up larger than intended, scanning it, and then using embroidery software to begin creating the final design.


The designs are created using 6D embroidery software, and she ensures all her designs are going to turn out just right by stitching test samples before ever going to linen. “There’s always something that needs tweaking, and quite often it’s at this stage that I decide to start over again. I think I did 4 versions of a lobster through to test embroidery before I was happy with it.”


Even her final stitching technique is a delightful mix of old and new, using a Husqvarna Diamond embroidery machine for the designs, but a sturdy 1960’s sewing machine to finish the linens.


Be sure to check out more over at Brill and Ben on Etsy, and rest assured from Brill herself, “I promise, no puppies and absolutely no cup cakes.”


Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at