Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Etui Preliminary Preparations

I've been stitching away slowly on the padded satin stitch on the Etui front piece. I needed a break from it and kept moving ahead on some of the preliminary preparations. In class we ironed interfacing to the back only of the front piece of the Etui after tracing only the main design. But none of the fold lines or outside lines were transferred in class. Nor the little grape design that's on the inside front of the completed case. So out comes the light box and I traced the outside and fold lines in blue washout marker. I traced the little grape motif in fine line mechanical pencil, my favorite way of transferring an embroidery design.
All embroidery designs and pattern markings had to be transferred onto the rest of the linen prior to ironing on the rest of the interfacing.
I realized there were words to be embroidered on the other pieces...nothing in the instructions about that so maybe I lost that part of the kit somewhere in the UFO box. No matter: words are very easy to embroider in a very fine chain stitch, outline or stem stitch. Again, all words were transferred onto the linen.
Same with the little pin disc and covered tape measure. After all designs and patterns are traced, then the rest of the iron-on interfacing is applied according to manufacturer's instructions.
The last step was to thread trace all outside lines and pattern markings on the sewing machine.
Embroidery is completed before each piece is cut out. When all embroidery is finished I'll soak it in water first to safely remove the blue washout marker, then clean the whole piece with some soap and Oxyclean. All of those blue marker lines will disappear in the soaking but the machine thread traced lines will remain!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Etui Padded Satin Stitch

I've been working everyday on Wendy Schoen's Vintage Whitework Etui. A little each day and I get closer to finishing the kit!
After finishing the Shaded Eyelets I moved on to the Padded Satin Stitch, basically the larger branches of the grapevine motif. Each branch has to be outlined with one strand of cotton floss in split back stitch using a #10 sharp needle.
Then the padding begins with side-by-side rows of tiny chain stitch, also in one strand of cotton floss. 
Then another side-by-side row of chain stitch on top of the first rows. Then a last single row of chain stitch goes on top of the other two layers, but in the center of the branch in order to achieve a domed look. This branch has a division in it to look more realistic. The bottom right branch is coming off of the main one and is 'separately' padded and satin stitched.

After that the satin stitch covers all of the padding using a fresh strand of the cotton floss in the #10 sharp needle. The stitches have to be angled to look life-like and give dimension. Sometimes I use a blue washout marker to mark the angles (which will get soaked out later). Below you can see the center of the bowed branch is a little yellowed, done in class 14 years ago! The left and right are what I just completed with barely visible blue washout marker designating the angles.
Even though it takes time to do all of the preparation I like padded satin stitch. What are you doing to keep yourselves busy during our stay-at-home duration?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Coronavirus UFO Stash Busting

This pandemic is the perfect time to go through my UFO box...yes, just one box...and decide what to work on to while away the days while staying home. I can wallow in my sewing room as much as I want and not feel guilty about not running errands, attending meetings and passing up my Pilates classes. It also keeps me focused and calm...something much needed during these crazy times.
I pulled out the easiest project and completed that: a silk ribbon flower kit from Camera Nitschke of  The Ribbonry. It was sort of flattened, so I fluffed it up and touched the iron tip to the pink petals to revive them. The leaves were completed already so it was a matter of mounting the flower and leaves and turning it into a pin. I had purchased enough of overdyed red silk bias ribbon to make another one, so I did. Here are both flower pins:
Next on the project list: a whitework etui by Wendy Schoen that's copyrighted 2006....14 years ago.
When I pressed it I found the originally-traced design was not visible. We must have used a washout marker of some sort in class that fades with time. I retraced it in pencil using the previously completed embroidery to guide my re-drawing of the design. The fine linen and embroidery had slightly yellowed and the old tracing was barely visible, ever-so-slightly brown. When finished I will have to soak it in plain water for a day then soak in Oxyclean to get any stains out before stitching it all up on the machine. Below is what was done in class before the project was packed away in the UFO box:
I've started the shaded eyelets (only one was completed in class): not my favorite type of eyelet. Split back stitch is used to outline the outer and inner circles.
Then the widest part of the circle if filled in with  tiny lazy daisy stitches to pad.
Straight, horizontal stitches are applied over the lazy daisies to complete the padding prior to satin stitch.
Then the eyelet is opened with an awl up to the split backstitches of the smaller, inner circle.
After changing out to a new single strand of cotton floss, the satin stitch begins on the left side horizontal and proceeds counter clockwise around the oval. Below is the completed shaded eyelet. Each one takes about 25 minutes from beginning to end.
There's a lot of work to this project: the etui itself, a covered and embroidered measuring tape and a pin disc. But while working this I work on other projects intermittently (yesterday I oiled and cleaned my 1935 Featherweight to keep her in tip top shape) to keep from getting bored. 
So keep busy, stay calm and stitch on!!