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 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.
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. 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 alleviate the â€œshrinking designâ€ 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 â€œwonderful smellâ€, amusing as that may sound.
- DO NOT STRETCH IN THE HOOP. The fabric should never be stretched or distorted. Do NOT â€œpull as tight as a drumâ€, which is ill advice in my opinion. Fabric has a â€œmemoryâ€ and thread has a â€œmemoryâ€ 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 â€œdouble stabilizingâ€ as I find it makes the embroidery â€œbullet proofâ€. You should be able to get the desired results with a single stabilizer, by using the appropriate stabilizer.
- THREAD TENSION. If you have a â€œdual machineâ€ i.e., 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!