April showers has brought May flowers. Beauty is popping on the trees, shrubs and flowers. Another Spring and a rebirth of the cycle of life. Spring is taking place. What a magnificent display as we gaze across the landscape.
We also love those lovely flowers created in thread art in order to adorn our clothing and decorative items with the same beauty as that of Mother Nature. Pansies, being a Victorian flower, are known as the flowers of love. Legend has it that pansies could transfer the thoughts of sweethearts without spoken words. When near pansies, it was believed that one could hear their lover’s thoughts. They were a popular ingredient in “love potions”.
As we know, a beautiful embroidery design, after laundering, can turn into a “curl” and leave us quite dismayed. Thus, we pull out our “best friend”, the pressing cloth. My best “pressing cloths” are the proverbial old “flour sack”. Yes, you can still buy the old “flour sack” dishtowels. I found a pack at Walmart and Target. I cut each into 4 pieces, serge the edges to keep it from fraying and after laundering my T-tops, I wet the pressing cloth, wring it out tightly, lay it on the embroidery design and with a 5 second or so laying on of the iron….presto….the design is back to normal. I also give a “pressing cloth” with a gift and instructions on how to give a 5-second press after laundering. Then your recipient will NOT be surprised by the “shrinking design”!
Steps to remember to help minimize the “shrinking design” are as follows:
- LAUNDER/WASH BEFORE EMBROIDERY. Even if you are giving the item as a gift, you want to assure that you pre-wash, i.e., pre-shrink the item. Most towels, blankets and clothing items are prone to shrinkage. Pre-wash is a must. Dry on a gentle/warm cycle; use a lovely fragrant dryer sheet and the wonderful fragrance adds to the beauty of the gift. My gifts are known by the “wonderful smell”, amusing as that may sound. Scented wash beads have some lovely fragrances.
- DO NOT STRETCH IN THE HOOP. The fabric should never be stretched or distorted. Do NOT “pull as tight as a drum”, which is ill advice in my opinion. Fabric has a “memory” and thread has a “memory” and after your design is done, the fabric and thread will return to its natural state and you most likely are going to have puckering. The only exception would be Lycra which should be stretched to the fit of the body.
- STABILIZE. Use the appropriate stabilizer. There are many brands and each person seems to have their favorite. I do not believe in “double stabilizing” as I find it makes the embroidery “bullet proof”. You should be able to get the desired results with a single stabilizer, by using the appropriate stabilizer.
- THREAD TENSION. If you have a “dual machine”, for instance, one that sews as well as doing embroidery, remember to change the tension. Too tight of a tension will result in distortion of the design. Polyester thread stretches just like polyester clothing stretches. Too tight of tension will result in high stretching and after setting overnight, the thread memory will return and you will have puckering. Polyester thread is abundant and that is what I use because it is less expensive and more abundant but due to it’s stretch, it will pucker much more than Rayon thread.
Happy May and Happy stitching!