Featured Project – Day of the Dead Skull

Today, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I thought we’d celebrate with some seriously epic Mexican sugar skull-ness for our featured project! This amazing feat of hand stitchery is from the wizard fingers of Lisa, who took on one of our bestselling designs with gusto. And get this, she made this impressive project as a gift. A gift!

Lucky swine…

Dia De Los Muertos - hand stitched

Whoa ... is all I can think to say.

This looks like an intensive project! What made you choose the design and take on such an ambitious stitching job?

I loved the skull design the moment I saw it on Urban Threads. You guys are what got me back into embroidery, because I saw the opportunity to do work that was not the usual fluffy stuff! I saw that skull and went, “Ooh, the satin stitch I could do on that bad boy!”

What inspired the project?

I did it as a present for my boss whose husband and family are from Mexico. (She adores her skull and her hubby Guillermo loves it even more!) I also wanted to start and finish a big project.

Close-up, top of skull

...I take that back... whoa, and... OMG the satin stitches!!

How long did the design take you?

I started it at Christmas and finished it in late April. I had to put it down several times for other projects and because I needed a break from the **** roses!

Back of piece

Check it out! The back's almost as nifty as the front...

What challenges did you run into along the way? Any special tips or tricks you’d share with someone trying a similar project?

The biggest challenge was that I decided to do the roses in four colors for each bloom…and lemme tell you that was endless, mind-numbing work!

I also goofed and did the white metallic fill-in last…which was not easy when you’re trying not to cover areas already done. Don’t do that part last.


I know more about working with metallic threads now and I suggest that someone using them for the first time do it on a SMALL project first…

Middle view of skull

What were some of your favorite stitches to use?

Satin stitch is my favorite, because you get such a smooth, shiny, almost machine-made look to larger areas.

What’s the next project you think you’ll take on?

Since the DDLM skull, I have done a huge heart in Brazilian embroidery on a shirt, a smaller heart on a straw bag and several tote bags, bibs and tea towels. I have also made your boots and cape.

Currently, I’m doing another jean jacket, I have a pool banner in the planning stages and I am about to start teaching a hand embroidery class at a local embroidery machine sales and service center. You’d drool over their machines!

Framed and ready to gift!

Fantastic work, and a great inspiration for any of you who feel like taking on the sugar skull. It may be a little involved, but just check out the results! Kudos, Lisa.

Do you want to be a featured project on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at support@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!

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3 Responses to “Featured Project – Day of the Dead Skull”

  1. 1
    Shannon says:

    Lisa, this is awesome. I did this same design for my granddaughter, but I used a machine. I couldn’t imagine doing it by hand. You ROCK!!

  2. 2
    samsstuff says:

    Amazing work. This takes a lot of patience, I’d want to keep it, if I ever finished it. Great job!

  3. 3
    martha says:

    This is very bold and beautiful, the way I remember Mexico! I’d like to do it in cross stitch.

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