Closures of Pillowcases (5)

Gertrude Vorwerk presented an attractive and individual variant for a pillow closure. Her unusual version with a decorative ribbon arranged at the top looks very appealing and shows great creativity.

She wrote: “Belatedly on your blog with the special pillow closures, I want to show you my version. It’s from 1997 and I had no idea how to sew pillowcases. I only started embroidering in 1996, that’s what happened!

Since I didn’t know how to close the pillow – I certainly didn’t have enough fabric – I came up with the idea of ​​designing the edge like this. The blue ribbon was lying around in my gift ribbon box, it was perfect for the pillow. I think it’s wonderful that I had a similar idea back then.”

Many thanks for sending the pictures!

More embroideries by Gertrude Vorwerk can be found here and here.

Closures of Pillowcases (4)

The hand-woven linen for the sofa cushion cover 2 was only 76 cm wide. I didn’t want to cut the pillow out of the length of the linen though to save on fabric. As a result, only a minimal edge strip was available to close the pillow. A hem would not have been possible.

However, since the cut has firm selvages on both small sides, the fabric was only folded in the width of the selvage after the side seams were closed. The closure was made similar to that shown under closures of pillowcases (3).

In the area of the side seams, buttonhole stitches hold the folded selvage in position, while the punctures of the needlelace Buttonhole stitch scallops do the same for the remaining closure.

Closures of Pillowcases (3)

The embroidery of sofa cushion cover 1 is washed to remove the outlines and to shrink the fabric to its final extension. Then the linen is ironed in order to be able to measure it exactly. It is then cut to the required size. Here you can cut away different amounts of excess fabric on the short sides in order to have the embroidery placed in the middle of the front part.

The next steps for closing this pillow have already been explained in Closures of Pillowcases (1) – pictures 3 to 8.

This time, however, the pillow is not to be sewn close, but provided with needlelace scallops.

To do this, the hem edges are marked at the desired even distances (here 1.4 cm – it shouldn’t be less) and also consistently on the front and back. To do this, start in the middle and end 2 – 3 cm before reaching the side seams.

Using coton à broder thread No. 16, add simple Buttonhole stitch scallops to the edge.

The cover is ironed again and pulled over a pillow.

Finally, a cord or flat band (at least three times the width of the pillow) is slid through the scallops and pulled together. To do this, it is best to fold the band once in the middle and start on one side of the pillow by pulling the two ends through alternately.

Depending on the size in which you work the needlelace scallops,

which band to use

and how much you tighten the braid, different effects arise.

In any case, this type of closure is decorative.

The closure can be opened again at any time simply by pulling the band out. So it is no wonder that this type of closure was used very often in the Schwalm.

Sofa Cushion Cover 1 (B)

After the linen has been cut and the outines have been transferred to the fabric, the embroidery work can begin. I was too hesitant on my first attempt at design transfer using blue paper. The lines are not very distinctive. Therefore, to be on the safe side, the parts that are particularly important in terms of precise work, such as the bird’s heads and legs, are embroidered very early on, when the outlines are still clearly visible and the embroidery can be implemented very precisely.

The lines of the bird heads are traced with wrapped Chain stitches (coton à broder No. 20). These stitches have a similar effect to Coral Knot stitches, but are a bit more bulky. Here it is important that the Chain stitches are embroidered first – the wrapping can also be done later.

Beaks, bird legs and eyes, small leaves and pomegranate blossoms are embroidered with Satin stitches. Optionally, coton à broder No. 25 or two strands of 6-ply stranded cotton can be used. Stranded cotton has the advantage that the two threads lie next to each other and thus cover the area better than a thread twisted together, but the disadvantage that they shift against each other and the thread tension is not always the same. To avoid this, from time to time while embroidering you have to let the needle slide down to the fabric, bring both strands of thread away from the fabric into the same tension and then push the needle back into its embroidery position.

To taper the thick stems toward the end, start with wrapped chain stitches, then continue the line first with wide stem stitches and finally with single stem stitches (coton à broder No. 16).

The thin stems can be stitched with Coral Knot stitches or with simple Stem stitches.
All areas – apart from those within the plumage – in which threads are withdrawn are first surrounded with Coral knot stitches (coton à broder No. 16).

The plumage of the birds is depicted with different stitches: Stem stitch diamonds with Satin stitch dots or Chain stitches in the middle,

Satin stitch arches and rows of Blanket stitches indicate the wings. The tail feather is worked out with wing stitches.

One bird’s belly is worked using Wave stitches (simple thread withdrawing 3:1 and coton à broder No. 25),

the other using Honeycomb Darning stitches.

The middle parts of the bird heads are embroidered with small Wave stitches over 2 threads (simple thread withdrawing 2:1 and coton à broder No. 25).

The top of the head and neck are decorated with curved lines (coton à broder No. 16).

The middle parts of the large pomegranates (Limet thread withdrawing 3:1 and coton à broder No. 25) are embroidered with Diagonal Cross stitches, the side parts are filled with Chain stitches (coton à broder No. 16). (Chain stitches next to Coral Knots always make them appear more harmonious.)

The small pomegranates and the small leaf motifs get a 2:1 thread withdrawing.

They are filled with Cable stitches or Single Faggot stitches (coton à broder No. 30).

The large leaf motifs get an openwork thread withdrawing 2:2. They are worked out using Cable stitches (coton à broder No. 30). The leaf veins can be indicated with wrapped Chain stitches (coton à broder No. 16).

The embroidery is finished – the work can be washed.

It’s obvious that many of my stitches look a little wobbly. After laundry and careful ironing they look much better.

The second step is done, the pattern is embroidered.
You can find out how to proceed in the next post.

Sofa Cushion Cover 1 (A)

The finished pillow case should measure 40cm X 40cm. It should be worked from one piece (finished 40 cm x 80 cm). I choose 16/cm thread count natural coloured and durable pressed linen of the Übelhör linen mill. The linen will shrink about 4,9% in the warp and about 3% in the woof.
That would be about 2.40cm in width and about 2 cm in length for the desired size.
Seam allowance on both sides is 1 cm each.
The closure is made on the bottom with a 2cm wide hem with 1cm fold.
That would be:
in width 40cm + 2.4cm + 2 X 1cm = 44.4cm
in length: 80cm + 2cm + 2 X 3cm = 88cm
To be on the safe side, I add a few centimeters and cut the linen into the size of 46cm x 93cm.

Since I find both pomegranate and bird motifs interesting in Schwalm whitework, I asked various designers to make me appropriate designs. The design used here comes from Christa Waldmann and has a size of approx. 26.5cm (W) x 20cm (H). With a 40cm high cushion and central pattern positioning, about 10cm each remain free at the top and bottom. The shrink of the fabric (each about 1cm) must be added.

The linen is fold short side to short side.
For positioning the design centered, measure down from the fold 11cm. Using a coloured sewing thread, mark the top line of the design by tacking along the horizontal fabric thread there. Mark too the vertical center of the front half.

Lay the unfolded linen on a table covered with a not slipping plain material (not too soft) – for example a cotton fabric cloth. Scratch out the linen to be plain. Be careful to position the marked lines straight and to be in a right angle. Best check it using a tool. Fasten the linen using pins or removable tape.

The design transfer is made using blue print paper.

Cover the design area with blue print paper – colour side face down. Fasten the sheet using removable tape.

Position the design over the blue print paper lining up the thread markings on the linen to the guideline markings on the design paper. Secure the design using removable tape or pins.

Using a special tracing tool or a fine empty ball point pen, trace the design. Test the needed pressure before.

The first step has been taken, the pattern has been transferred to the linen.

You can find out what happens next in the upcoming article.