Finishing florals, part 1

Remember the buttonhole-and-felt finish I was planning for Floral Lace? Well, I have finally started on them. Sort of. I decided that, as I had no idea whether it was going to work, perhaps I’d better try it out first on the Floral Lace eyelet varation I stitched on Hardanger fabric. For one thing, if it did turn out to be a disaster I wouldn’t have ruined one of the 18 “proper” models, and for another, I’d get to experiment on the slightly stiffer fabric first, which should be a bit easier than the more loosely-woven Lugana. It soon became very clear that this was A Good Idea.

The process I had in mind started with measuring how big the felt needed to be, and then measuring and cutting the felt to size. There will be 5 fabric threads between the cross stitch border and the inner edge of the buttonholing; the buttonhole stitches will be worked, as usual, over 4 threads. The felt needs to end up somewhere between those two lines. I decided on 7 fabric threads out from the cross stitch border, which on Hardanger fabric stretched in a hoop was 11cm. First lesson learned: it is extremely difficult to cut a true square from a larger piece of felt. Second lesson: when you’ve got something approximating a square of the required size, it is extremely difficult to position it accurately on the back of the stitching and keep it there while you get ready to attach it with running stitch. It’s possible, but surely there must be an easier way which needs less turning the work over and tugging on the felt to reposition it every other stitch.

The start of a finish

So in response to those first two lessons learnt I have decided that when I get on to the real thing I will cut a very rough square of felt rather bigger than needed, attach it with running stitch at 6 fabric threads from the cross stitch border, then cut the felt closely around the running stitch square. There will be a bit of felt waste, which is unfortunate, but probably worth it for not having to continually check the position of the felt and spending a lot of time getting the felt absolutely square; it’s hard enough to make sure the felt is kept flat and doesn’t pucker while I’m attaching it. For this test piece I am stuck with the cut-to-size felt, however, so I’ll try to get that out of the way as quickly as possible, and then it’s on to the buttonholing! Because the felt doesn’t quite stretch to the outer edge of the buttonhole stitch there won’t be a problem with having to bring the needle up through the felt, so I should be able to keep the edge nice and straight, and therefore easy to cut. Well, that’s the theory…

4 comments on “Finishing florals, part 1

  1. I take it something as simple as pinning the felt down (long pins) won’t work? I’m sure you’ve thought this out, and something needed to be done! Tugging on felt isn’t a Good Idea at all.

  2. Thanks for thinking with me, Serinde! I did consider that but as I like to do my buttonholing in a hoop, with the fabric stretched as tightly as possible, it sort of pre-puckered the felt whenever I tried. They may not have been long enough, or perhaps I’m just not very good with pins…
    Pulling felt is not a good idea, I agree, but it’ll have to do for this first experimental one. I’m hoping that using a larger piece of felt in the other ones will obviate the need for pulling!

  3. How about pins perpendicular to the side rather than parallel? (Shorter pins!) Perhaps not so much rucking?

  4. (Thinking is dangerous.) If the sharp points of the pins are to the centre of the work, then you also will avoid Unhappy Accidents…

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