small projects

Small Buttons

Buttons are not only functional but also decorative. In fact, often they are used as decoration only.
At my grandchildren´s house, I saw a kit for making fabric buttons, and I experienced the simplicity of making them.
So I got the idea to work buttons with small elements of whitework. White and natural linen was embroidered with tendrils, small leaves, Blanket stitch eyelets, and small hearts. The pieces were cut, washed, starched, and ironed.
With the tools included in the kit, I tried to cover the button.
The linen was laid upside down over the button-making “bowl” and, using the top piece of the button form, pressed into the bowl.
Remaining fabric was folded inwards.
The back of the button form was positioned
and, with the appropriate tool, pressed into the bowl.
The result was sobering. One edge of the button was dented.
The back of the button form was not totally locked into place. The linen was thicker than the original fabric of the kit, so it did not work.
What to do now with all my embroidered linen pieces? I obtained high quality button blanks. They are available in different sizes.
The packages of the smaller button blanks include the tools. Also these button blanks have the advantage that the finished buttons can be secured either by sewing or pinning with small safety pins. In addition, a stencil is included for cutting the fabric to the necessary size.
The button-making “bowl” is transparent; this helps in positioning the embroidery.
With the included pressing tool the back of the button form was easily.
The first button was finished – evenly and smoothly covered.
Now many embroidered buttons wait for their use on waistcoats, bags, sweaters, and . . . the possibilities are endless. Fitted with small safety pins, they are easily moved from one garment to another and removed before laundering.

Blanket Stitch Eyelets – Practice Exercises

The simple Blanket stitch eyelet is a very important element of Schwalm whitework. As shown in the Blanket Stitch Eyelets article, it can be used in many creative ways. Here I present two more designs for the band with circle designs. Both are suitable for practicing blanket stitch eyelets in two different sizes. It is best to start with the larger eyelets.
The designs are transferred to the linen by ironing using a DEKA pencil.
First, the preparatory work is done per the explanations in the leaves practicing article.
Using coton à broder No. 20, the Blanket stitch eyelets are begun by bringing the needle up directly on the outline,
and then always starting from the center, stitches are placed close together one after another.
When the circle is filled, the round is closed by inserting the needle directly under the first loop and sliding the thread to the back.
In this way you get a wonderful round Blanket stitch eyelet.
Both designs look pretty washed, starched, and ironed.

Small Pointed Leaves and Tendrils – Practice Exercises

Combinations of tendrils and small pointed leaves can establish many beautiful patterns. Here I present two designs for continuing the band with circle designs. Both are suitable for practicing small pointed leaves and tendrils.
1_19-2017The designs are transferred to the linen by ironing using a DEKA pencil.
2_19-2017First, the preparatory work is done per the explanations in the leaves practicing article.
Using coton à broder No. 20, the first tendril offshoot is worked up from the tip of the leaf.
3_19-2017After finishing the tendril, the working thread is slid through the stitches on the back to come back to the base, where stitching the leaf is started.
4_19-2017Finishing the leaf, the stitching naturally merges into the second tendril offshoot.
5_19-2017The design looks pretty washed, starched, and ironed.
6_19-2017Preparing to work the second design is the same. Then the tendrils
7_19-2017and the leaf groupings are worked.
8_19-2017When finished you have another nice and quick-to-work practicing piece for small whitework elements.

A Small Band for Practicing Exercises

For practicing tendrils, forks, and leaves I have already provided some circle designs. These and some additional designs – which will be published in future articles – are perfect for decorating a band of linen.
I used a linen strip measuring 18 cm X 135 cm.

The center line and the center points of the designs are marked on the linen strip to ensure an even distribution in a straight line. I decided for a distance of 12.5 cm from center point to center point, this will result in a distance of 5 cm between the individual circles. Placement of design elements is always difficult when starting a new project that doesn’t have a pattern example. Viewing the finished band, I am satisfied with the distribution of the shapes. However, one could also choose to move them a little bit closer together.
1_18-2017The designs are transferred to the fabric by ironing and then embroidered.
2_18-2017After finishing the single shapes – ten in all – the sections for the hem are prepared. I wanted to finish the short sides with an open mitered corner. So, on along the two long edges, two threads are withdrawn. The first thread is withdrawn 1 cm inward the edge, and the second thread is withdrawn 3 cm inward the just established withdrawn-thread line.
3_18-2017The fabric is folded to the back along the outermost withdrawn-thread line.
4_18-2017It is folded again to the back so that the first fold reaches the second withdrawn-thread line.
5_18-2017The hem is pinned, basted in place, and then secured with Antique hem stitches.
6_18-2017One short side has a selvage, the other is secured with zigzag stitches.
7_18-2017With right sides together, the short sides are sewn closed.
8_18-2017The band is boiled, starched, and ironed. Ironing is done from the back, making sure to iron only one layer of the mitered corner. Then the piece is flipped over, and the remaining part is ironed. In this way, the fold will not make an impression on the front of the fabric.
9_18-2017Ironing the piece face down on a thick and soft surface (such as a terry towel) and sustaining the heat of the iron, makes the embroidery wonderfully striking.
10_18-2017The beautiful small band – established as a practicing piece for small whitework embroidery elements – can dress up any table.
11_18-2017Hanging vertically, it is a pretty decoration for small wall recesses or wooden door frames. Fastened on a window, the embroidery is especially effective.

Small Pointed Leaves – Practice Exercises (1)

Today I present two more designs, with diameters of about 7.5 cm, that are perfect for embroidering a band. These designs are also well-suited for practicing small pointed leaves. Other same-size patterns will be featured in future articles.
First, the center points of the designs are marked on the strip of linen to ensure an even distribution. I decided for a distance of 12.5 cm from center point to center point; this will result in a distance of 5 cm between the individual circles. Linen with a 13.5/cm thread count is used.
2_17-2017Transfer the designs to the linen – keeping in mind that the design ends up mirrored when ironing it to the linen.
3_17-2017Coton à broder No. 16 is used for Coral Knot stitches, No. 20 for Blanket stitches and for Chain stitches. At the outside edge, Coral Knot stitches are worked along the inner line. Chain stitches are worked a small distance outside these Coral Knot stitches. The outside Chain stitches are covered with densely worked Blanket stitches between the outline and the Coral Knot line.
4_17-2017Using coton à broder No. 20 for the Satin stitches, the leaves are worked. Please remember: Densely work the stitches following the shape of the leaf; that means the stitches do not lie quite parallel – at the center of the leaf they are slightly closer together than at the outside edge. Always turn the piece so that the needle runs horizontally from right to left. The stitch at the tip of the leaf should run straight from the middle line to the top point. So that the leaf looks truly pointed in the end, this stitch is made 1–2 mm beyond the outline.
5_17-2017The second side of the leaf is worked from the tip back to the stem, always taking the needle down at the outside edge and bringing it back up at middle line.
6_17-2017On the band, the second design is not placed directly next to its variant. Rather, alternate designs with tendrils, designs with leaves, and designs with other small elements.
7_17-2017The image above shows a section of the finished band.
8_17-2017Washed, starched, and ironed both practice designs look pretty.


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