Thursday, February 26, 2009

Motif Satin Stitching Tutorial

Satin stitching a motif without an embroidery machine can be a challenge. I personally cannot justify the purchase of a fancy embroidery machine and the software to digitize more than what I already have with my Janome 350E and Embird. To embroider motifs like these, which exceed my hoop size, I use a technique that makes it fairly simple.
The base fabrics are rough cut to size about 3/4" larger than needed all around. Depending on the fabric, they are either fused with a cotton interfacing or spray glued to satin which has been fused. In these examples a cotton velvet was glued to an interfaced satin underlining.
The motif is drawn to size on the pattern in marker then traced onto the rough side of a sticky backed tearaway stabiliser. Instead of using the tearaway as a backing, it creates a topper and design guide for the stitching.
Here you can see the layers of fabrics with interfacing and the motif stuck on the velvet. Velvet has a napped surface and therefore a tendency for any applique to shift, so I have quickly basted the motif down.

The motif is then satin stitched all around, filling in the design and covering up the tearaway topping. I have used two layers of a tearaway beneath as well, spray glued to the fabric. The glue helps since here is no hoop to hold things in place and the fabric gets a lot of turning. You need to be careful not to push or pull too much or the fabric will distort and pucker.

Here you can see that the right side has been stitched twice, while the left has received a third run down the centre, which blends the stitches in. I use an Omnisew machine, which is an industrial zig zag head that has been adjusted to do a compact satin stitch. The width can go up to 13mm. I have used about a 7 or 8mm width, so achievable on many domestic machines. I used about a 4 on the gold stitching below. The stitches will sink into a napped fabric to some degree, so you need a slightly wider stitch than you might think.
The white stitching has all been done.

I added some gold as an accent. A second color can give a more definite edge and correct any whiskering or shaky edges.
Here the top cuff is done, while the bottom cuff has yet to receive the gold.

This is the first time I have used the sticky stabiliser by itself. I usually use a satin applique and fill over it completely. I haven't done much of this for a while, but when I am in practise, the motifs really turn out well and makes it hard to rationalise the time and expense of buying and learning digitising.
Doesn't stop me from turning green with envy when I see the embroidery work done on those machines though.

I did it!

They weren't that hard to do, either! Everything had been fused, so no ravelling. I had to ease the pocket bag back into shape on one of them. Once done the one corner showed one one side, which would not have been so apparent had I used black or grey pocketing. However, I used brown Kasha as an homage to the brown in the tweed which has gone unnoticed otherwise. I scooched the welt over about 1/8" and steamed the slight bubble out.
Now to get my work sewing out of the way so I can get back to it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I just realized my pockets welts were put in reversed. I put the left in the right and vice versa.
I din't even notice until the second one was in. They looked kind of "unhappy" to me and then I realized the welts pointed down instead of up.
I just have to keep telling myself it won't be hard to change, despite being in thich ravelly tweed with 1/4 seam allowances.
I wasn't supposed to work on them again until Monday and I should have just left it there.
(it won't be hard to change, it won't be hard to change...)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tweed coat

So, while I am swamped with work and extra family commitments due to my husband's illness, inspiration has struck. Isn't that always the way?
I have some tweed from Emma One Sock that I had planned to make my CSACoat from. It is a mix of black, brown and grey, but many blacks are too black with it and browns are too brown, so I guess it reads kind of a charcoal grey.
I didn't use it in the end because of concerns about the wear of the fabric. The edges of tweed can get pretty ratty quickly. To prevent this I decided to bind the edges with leather and add a few simple appliques in a charcoal melton that works beautifully with the tweed.

The tweed and the initial design sketch.
I am using OOP Vogue 2449 again, with modifications to the fit. I have flared out the back princess seam and made it about 10" longer. Initially I had planned scallops somehow, but went with diamonds for the design. I also extended the rounded collar out to a point.

The plan was made last night. Already it hasn't worked out.
#1-I want to do a fly closure at the front so the buttons don't compete. I have only done this once before and I would prefer to use something I can unpick, so I reversed the fabrics.
#2-But a binding won't work with the fly closure. So applique it is!
I am determined to just DO this before I chicken out.
The collar before turning.
The tweed collar was fused, then another collar in melton was laid over with the stitching lines marked. It was stitched and the inner portion was cut away. I didn't interface the melton, but it needed it, so crossgrain strips were added afterwards. The edging was done in a straight stitch that I will hand embroider over. The threads were pulled through and tied off on the diamonds.
Collar and pocket welts.
This shows the melton edge with leather diamonds along the join line. I did one larger diamond at the CB of the collar.
I learned my lesson and fused the pocket welt melton before the tweed was added. When enlarged you can see the white interfacing showing where the section was cut away from the melton on the pockets. I used a sharpie to colour it in. Shhh....
Welt pocket sewn in.
The charcoal at the front will be the front band.

The collar, before and after the stand. The basting is still there, so it is a bit puckered in places.

Back of collar, looking a bit dirty. There is a lot of pink fuzz around. Mid way through this project I realized I had to make a birthday present for my daughter's friend, so made a pink Minkee rosette cape. That stuff sheds everywhere!
I love the subtle texture contrast between the leather, tweed and melton. You don't notice the diamonds in colour value, but you can really see them when they catch the light.

I would like to add a dark rivet in the centre of each diamond, but am not sure yet. I have time to think though, I won't get back to it until early March now.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thanks and a question

Thanks to all those who have expressed concern, either through comments, emails, telephone and personal calls and Stitcher's Guild. DH seems to be better, has seen his GP twice, has had one specialist appointment and is awaiting results from two tests. He has taken an active approach in getting better, which is good. Once we learned he wouldn't die from his "episodes" we were able to relax, whcih made them less frequent and not as severe. Hmmm, apparently stress could be a contributing factor.
I haven't been able to do much personal sewing lately, except whatever I could whip up for the upcoming birthday girl's costume box.
I recently had one dress for a client that nearly did me in though. If it had been personal, it would have become a UFO, but I had a deadline and couldn't back down on it. The dress fought be tooth and nail the entire way along. The result was lovely, but hard to get done and out. It was like a very difficult birth, but the result is always worth it.
There have been two in the last six months like this. Both were for 14 year old girls. Both, according to their mums, are in that difficult teenage angst phase. Am I feeling this? I have never met either girl, but energy does get passed on.
Has anyone else had an experience like this?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Absent minded- in a way

I have been absent lately from the blogs, the message boards and the studio. My husband has suddenly become quite ill. We have had an ambulance here twice in the last week. The stress and busy-ness of this has taken up a fair bit of time.
On a more positive note, his episodes may have resulted in a diagnosis. Any news is better than
"We don't know what it it, so go home and don't drive until you see the heart and stroke clinic in June." No answers about medications, exercise, diet, etc.
It has been a frustrating time. Sorry Liana if I seemed unappreciative. You actually made my day!

Kreativ Blogger

Thanks Liana for giving me the Kreativ Blogger Award.

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.
I will search for some blogs I frequent that haven't received the award and update this post later.