Washing Out Persistent Outlines

Washing Out Persistent Outlines

Along the recommendation of my advisor, I dissolved curtains-full detergent in lukewarm water for my washing test

and submerged the prepared embroidery for a pre-wash.

The pencil traces can be clearly seen in the moistened fabric.

The embroidery remained in the soapy water for two days. From time to time I agitated it slightly with a wooden tool.

Then the wash started. It would be a lie to say that all colour disappeared without any intervention.
I first kept the embroidery under a jet of water. As a result, the colour gave way only minimally. I had to rub the coloured areas between my thumbs – but really only lightly and for a short time.

The lines that were not embroidered over disappeared immediately, the others dissolved after a very short time.

Dried and ironed the embroidery turned out bright white.

Encouraged by this success, I looked for a piece of linen with a design transferred in a particular way and with a particularly permanent colour

and embroidered it.

The finished embroidered piece was submerged into the soapy water, the blue colouration appears very clearly due to the outlines.

After two days of soaking, the soapy water was slightly heated, and the embroidery in it was agitated for a short time.

Then the wash started.
I had to rub the coloured areas between my thumbs. The blue colour dissolved very soon by continuing to rub. Nevertheless, I briefly boiled the embroidery in the soapy water to make the linen shrink.

What was left was impeccably pure embroidery, which radiates simple elegance after ironing.

In Germany we have a couple of different curtain detergents. So far I could not test all, but I know that DATO and Hoffmann´s Gardinenwaschmittel work.

Which special curtain detergents are available in your country? Have you performed any experiments in washing out design outlines? Please share your knowledge by leaving a comment.

An Old Traditional Method for Transferring Designs onto Linen

An Old Traditional Method for Transferring Designs onto Linen

Some time ago, an embroiderer enthusiastically told me that she accidentally discovered a detergent that easily removes pencil marks from white embroidered linen without leaving any residue.

She uses an old method for transferring the design outlines of her embroidery projects: using a #2 pencil, the design paper is blackened on the back side in the area of the outlines. With the blackened side positioned on the linen, the outlines are traced using a pen with a strong point (old pen or embossing pen), and thus it is transferred to the fabric.

This method has been in disuse more and more because the pencil lines have been very difficult to remove. Could there now be a remedy with a special detergent?

This method of design transfer sounded interesting. And since one only needs things that are normally close at hand anyway, I decided to test it.

At first I approached the matter a little tentatively and perhaps a little light-handedly. On the back of the tracing paper on which the pattern was printed, I slightly blackened the line areas with an #2 pencil.

With the blackened side down and using removable adhesive strips, the pattern is attached to the linen in the desired position. The outlines are transferred by tracing them firmly with an embossing tool or old pen (with no ink).

After removing the template, one can see that the outlines are recognizable but very weak.

But you can now easily trace over them with a #2 pencil.

If there are any flaws, you can simply erase those lines with a soft eraser.

Any eraser “crumbs” can be removed with a toothbrush.

I embroidered the pattern, even worked the filling pattern first, to see how long the outlines would last. They were easily recognizable to the end.

Nevertheless, I retraced the remaining lines so that I could better see whether they were actually being removed during the wash. It can also be clearly seen that the Coral knot stitches have absorbed the pencil marks quite a bit.

In the next post I will report how the pencil marks can be removed.

Since not everyone has the desired design outline on tracing paper, I did another test. This time it was printed on regular printer paper. With the design lying on a white background, one can see the lines on the back.

One can also hold the paper against a window or light box ­– then the lines can be seen much better.

The paper is blackened on the back side in the area of the outline. This time I wasn’t so tentative.

With the paper correctly positioned with the blackened side against the linen, the transfer begins with a pen – here with an old ballpoint pen empty of ink. I transferred the left side of the semicircle on a hard surface, the rest of the pattern on a slightly softer surface. Work was more pleasant on the latter.

After removing the template, one can see that there were hardly any differences in the intensity of the lines – all of them are clearly visible. The lines transferred on the soft surface are, however, more rounded.

The lines do not have to be redrawn – at least for the time being. One can start embroidering right away. This time, however, some lines had to be touched up during the work because they threatened to fade too much.

However, there is still a lot of pencil residue – especially under the Coral knot stitches – as can be clearly seen in the picture of the embroidery lying in the washing water.

Then I put pencil lines on various types of linen – unwashed industrial linen and washed old linen

and some of the lines are embroidered with Coral knot stitches.

Will they be easy to remove?

You will see the results in next week’s article.

Ways to Work Mitered Corners (2)

#2:
Preparing work is the same as in Ways to Work Mitered Corners (1) explained. For the sake of simplicity I repeat it here.

It is important that the hem width (the spacedistance between the withdrawn thread line for the fold and this the withdrawn thread line for securing the hem securing) is the same on both sides of the corner.

Iron your piece and lay it plain flat – right side face down.
Following the thread of the withdrawn thread line for securing the hem securing up to the edgewhere it meets the withdrawn thread line for the fold, mark the point exactlyctly the point. Do the same on the adjacent side of the corner.

Using a #2 pencil draw a diagonal line to connect both marks.

Trim the seam allowance.

Fold the seam allowance.

(One can mark the pencil line using short Running stitches to ease exact folding.)

Fold the fold.

Lay the hem in place and secure it.

Hand sew the corner closed using Blind stitches.

Both methods, done carefully, will produce perfect corners – it makes no difference whether Antique Hems stitches,

Four-Sided stitches,

or Peaholes are used.

Ways to Work Mitered Corners (1)

Sometimes people find it difficult to get the mitered corner to exactly match up to the hem layout.

Here are some tips:
It is important that the distance between the withdrawn thread line for the fold and the withdrawn thread line for securing the hem is the same on both sides of the corner.

Iron your piece and lay it flat – right side face down.
Follow the thread of the withdrawn thread line for securing the hem up to where it meets the withdrawn thread line for the fold, mark the point exactly. Do the same on the adjacent side of the corner.

Using a #2 pencil draw a diagonal line to connect both marks.

Now there are two different ways to proceed.

#1:
Fold the piece as shown in the picture below.

Insert a pin along the pencil line.

To make sure that you have folded the fabric exactly, turn the piece over to check that the pin is also lying directly on the pencil line on that side of the fabric.

Sew along the pencil line then trim the seam allowance.


Open up the seam allowance, and smooth it with your thumbnail as far as possible into the corner point.

Turn the hem corner right side out. A pair of scissors with points that are not too sharp can help to define the corner point.

Fold the raw edge along the fold line. First pin and then baste the hem in place.
Secure it using Antique Hem stitches.

Working a Peahole Hem Around a Corner

Peaholes at corners will look perfect only if full Peaholes are worked on both sides of the corner,

and not as shown in the example below.

A Peahole is made by bundling vertical fabric threads using two rows of Four-Sided stitches and then drawing together two of those bundles. So one Peahole needs two bundles, and that means a Peahole hem must have an even number of Four-Sided stitches. For short hems counting out the number of Four-Sided stitches is no problem, but it is cumbersome to count out longer hems. So, a small trick can help

Four-Sided stitches are worked from left to right, bundling usually four vertical fabric threads each stitch.
Work the two rows of Four-Sided stitches as established and stop short before reaching the corner. Let the working threads remain there.

Peaholes are worked from right to left. So, turn the piece now 180°.
This enables a start at the prepared corner to work Peaholes.

Reaching the opposite side, it is no problem to adjust the remaining Four-Sided stitches to the needed number

by working some of them over only three threads

– if more bundles are needed –

or by working some of them over five threads – if less bundles are needed.

A perfect hem arrangement is the result!