Embroidery Feed

Putting piping on a cushion

One of the classes that I teach is Machine Finishing for Embroiderers'.  It is all about how you get a good finish when you make up your work.  Now some embroidery doesn't need you to use a sewing machine to put that work together but things like cushions or anything that needs a zipper is something that does.  A shoddy finish can spoil all that hard work.

One of the things that I often get asked is how do I put piping around my cushion?  Well, first you have to ask are you using commercially bought piping or making the piping yourself?  It is a lot cheaper to make your own, if a bit fiddely, and, you can match it to the back of your cushion.  So here is a short tutorial on making and attaching the piping.  Tomorrow I will post one way you can insert a zipper and attach the back of the cushion to the front.

1.    The first thing I do with the cushion front is mark the distance I want to leave around the embroidery on the fabric.  I use tailors chalk to do this.  Then I measure how much piping I will need using this mark.  I always allow extra fabric and cord.  You can cut it off but it is hard to add it on.

2.    The next thing is to cut and join the bias strips needed to cover the cord.  Make sure these are cut on the true bias and that they are joined on the bias.

3.     Using my zipper foot I sew the cord in the bias strip to make the casing.  Not up too close, leave a little space for movement.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 5.41.39 pm

4.    Leave the ends un-sewn so you can join them to fit.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 5.41.27 pm

5.    Most instructions will say "Pin the piping into position just inside your marked line."  Now that leaves out a lot.  Just how much you need to use will have to take into account the thickness of the cord and what about the corners?

Square corners can be done but it is easier to round your corners off.  When you do this make sure your 'snip' the casing so that the piping 'walks around' that corner.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 5.41.04 pm

6.  Now  that you actually know how much piping you will need to go right around that cushion you have to join the ends of that bias strips, on the bias.  Why don't you just sew it straight across?  Doing that will restrict movement of the piping and could pull it out of shape.

7.  Put some sticky tape on the cut ends of the cord so it doesn't fray out.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 5.40.55 pm

8     Put the ends together.  Sometime if the cord is very thick or I think the ends will pull apart I will put in a hand stitch to keep them together but most commercial establishments use this end to end method without hand stitching.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 5.40.44 pm

9.     Finish by sewing the casing in place.  I then attach this to the cushion front.   Using my zipper foot I stitch  just inside the casing stitch line.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 5.40.32 pm

Now I am ready to attach the cushion back.

Talking of Children's Classes

Here I am getting ready for the next children's class and I suddenly remembered I hadn't written about the last one.  There is a reason for this.  After the last class I just collapsed.  I was down for over a week.  (The same thing happened after the applique class but this time it was only for 3 days and this time I postponed the next class so that I will have some recovery time.)  Anyway, the class was successful with everyone either finishing their piece or had got it to a point that it could be finished at home.  One student, who hadn't been before, even stitched this with a caste on her arm!

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 4.18.21 pm

The other design wasn't easy to stitch as it was designed for a more experienced stitcher.  But what I like about teaching kids is that lack of experience never is an issue when tackling a new task.  You just find another way to reach the goal if you can't do what the instructions ask.

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 4.22.23 pm

Where I had blended the colours to get the effect of the fish, they just selected a multi coloured thread that did the same job.

The ladies in the kitchen served up a delicious healthy lunch for the kids.

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 4.27.10 pm

And at the end of the second day those thread boxes looked well picked over.

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 4.29.23 pm

Looking at the files on my computer I see I have been designing these classes for 10 years now.  Might have to give someone else a chance at the job soon.

Ethnic Embroidery

These ladies in Romania have a point. 

When fashion houses use their designs for inspiration and make big profits some thing should come back to the original designers.  

This jacket was copied and sold for 30,000 EU.  You can buy an original for 500EU  from Bihor Couture, a company that work with the women who originally made the garment.

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 12.50.01 pm

I like this blouse that sells for 40EU.  It is entirely hand made and a lot more work has gone into it than the price being asked.

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 12.52.20 pmThis use of ethnic design as 'inspiration', which sometimes means a straight copy, is a problem for lots of communities today.

Stitching birds

My original inspiration for the bird designs has some from those wonderful women in Guatemala.  This woman was selling hand made items in the street.  All the work in the beading and the embroidery.

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 5.48.07 pm
Stitching all these birds has really got me looking at feathers.  Their colour, especially the turkeys.  Here are some in the markets in Guatemala.  I don't know how they fitted so many in one basket.

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 6.03.05 pm

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 5.52.41 pm

Here is our one turkey on the island.

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 6.05.13 pm

His tails feathers are a delight.

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 6.05.38 pm

The range of colours is wonderful.   What stitches can mimic this?

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 6.06.00 pm

The more I look the more fascinated I become.

Free embroidery patterns

I was checking out some DMC threads online and came across their free embroidery design pages.  There are over 300 designs and some of them are very tempting to start stitching.


Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 12.19.25 pm

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 12.01.45 pm

I have been looking for some Mexican designs and there are a number here.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 12.04.52 pm

Yet another bird.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 12.02.25 pm

And then there are the cross stitch patterns.  I have some ideas for the Children's Classes and this budgie.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 12.08.53 pm

A great resource.


So, not a lot of progress on anything.

I did undo my knitting and knitted it again, so that now I am slightly ahead of where I was before I undid it.

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 7.56.23 pm

I am experimenting with shopping bags.  All plastic bags are being withdrawn from supermarkets here in July.  I found that the patchwork fabric wasn't robust enough and that soft furnishing fabric was too robust and expensive.  I settled on some fabric from Ikea.   At the rate I am going I think I might be better off just buying them from the supermarket!

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 7.56.08 pm

Boro variation

It was last Mother's Day that my patchwork group made bookcovers, stitched with boro designs.  Gee nearly a year ago.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 5.36.31 pm

One our group, Mary, has been haunting Op shops for old fabric and threads and I love the designs she has come up with.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 5.36.46 pm

She has kept true to the original old Boro pieces, using only 2nd hand materials but these are from shops in Australia, not Japan.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 5.36.56 pm

The use of different types of fabrics changes the end result.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 5.37.08 pm

I really like what she has done.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 5.37.18 pm


 I am still searching for that.  Just when I think I am starting to recover this virus comes back and reminds me it still has the upper hand.  I have got lost in this fog.  I know I first started feeling ill back at the beginning of March, I'm still not sure if it was some new medication or the virus at this point.  But by the 19th of March I was ill.  It is now May.  That is only 8 or 9 weeks!  It seems like years.  Writting that down gives me some hope.  I keep thinking that I am going to die.  But not yet, not yet.  It is now the most perfect time of year and the island is so beautiful.

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 8.15.40 am

Even though I am not well enough I prepared a class for the Guild to teach yesterday.  I had most of the notes already prepared but I had to put the effort into preparing the kits and supplies.  I enjoy this activity.  I like to think my students will be surprised and delighted by the little extra's that I add to the kit.  I am unable to just give a list of requirements,  I always found that such a chore to get it all together.  Far nicer to get a surprise bundle.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 5.33.50 pm

So off I headed into the city.  I enjoyed teaching the class but boy I was tired when I got home.  Still it was worth the effort.