Sara Pastrana Mends Curse Words


Sara Pastrana works as a senior designer for a non-profit in Santa Monica designing publications and create branding for events. She enjoys working at her "regular" job during the week where my designs are to fit within a defined structure. And then she works on her personal design projects that combine both craft and design where she's free to go as far as her imagination can go. And, far, she does go.

How did you get started doing this?

I learned to cross stitch when I was 11 from my mother, Gracy. Since then I've been in love with all crafts involving needle and threads. Only in the past year have I began to explore combining my crafting passions with typography and stitching onto non-traditional mediums.

I had heard many variations of curse phrases turned "G-Rated" in the past by friends and in the media but I wasn't the type to use those phrases. If I wanted to curse then I would curse! Until my 3-year old son started dropping F and S bombs all over the place.


At first, I'll admit I thought it was pretty funny. But out of fear that I would be judged and labeled an irresponsible mother I quickly had to change my ways... Or at least change the bad words into silly words.

I joked with my husband that in order for me to change, I would need posters all over our home as a constant reminder to watch what I said. So that's how the idea of taking "G-Rated" phrases and creating posters was implanted.


What was your creative process and design approach?

I had opened an Etsy shop a month prior and I thought that these phrase posters would be a fun item to offer.

So my challenge became, how I could produce unique hand crafted pieces that could be made quickly and still offer them at a reasonable price. I knew from the beginning that these phrases would be stitched. I had designed another stitch inspired font (Costura Letra) earlier in the year that I stitched onto paper to make cards. And even though I loved the results it didn't seem like a feasible answer. Stitching onto paper is difficult. Each piece needs to be treated very carefully in order to prevent creasing and staining/smudging while handing the paper. Plus I make it a point to only sell work that is ready to display. Having to buy frames would have increased the cost of producing the posters.


After some research I decided on using a 2.2mm chipboard. It was an economical choice and the boards are so thick and substantial it wouldn't need a frame. They can be leaned against a wall or hung with bulldog clips. I also liked that the boards are very adaptable to many mediums without needing too much prep. I can paint on it, screen print on it and drill it with out worrying about warping or creasing.

The amount of G-Rated phrases are endless. The ones I've stitched so far are the phrases I find myself saying frequently.

How did you make your typographic choices?

What I love about cross stitching is the simplicity. So much can be done with simple Xs. I love that it has to be on a grid and is angular. It's one of the most basic embroidery techniques. I wanted to create a font that used all the characteristics of what cross stitching is but with a modern twist.


Thanks Sara. To view more of Sara's work, visit her web site