Continuing on the the embroidered monogram on a linen guest towel, today I want to show you how to manuever around curves with padded satin stitch. If you haven’t read the articles yet on the guest towel, you might want to check out the first article on setting up the guest towel and the second article with an update on the stitching.
These are photos of the curves on the “B” monogram. Satin stitch takes curves – even tight curves – well, if you keep in mind the concept of “fanning” your stitches. I want to show you two things in this post: 1. the pictures without any markings, so you can see the stitches; and 2. the pictures of the embroidery with lines showing the change in direction on the stitching.
Here’s the curly-que tail on the back of the “B.”
Here’s the base of the back of the “B.”
Here’s the tight loop on the inside of the front of the “B.”
And the inside of the front of the “B,” from a different angle.
And this is the curl at the top of the front of the “B.”
The curly-que on the back tail of the “B” and the inside loop on the front of the “B” are the tightest curves. The principles are the same, whether you’re working on a tight curve or a gradual curve, so we’re going to look at the tight curves, since they are usually the more difficult to work around!
When you’re working around a curve – whether tight or gradual – your stitch direction changes. You want to ease your way around the curve, but in tight spots, that easing has to be done a little more dramatically!
So as you work around a curve, you fan your stitches. The stitches on the inside of the curve need to be a lot closer than the stitches on the outside. But the trick is to not overlap the stitches, no matter how close they are on the inside; otherwise you’ll lose the smooth effect of the satin stitching.
This photo shows a bit better the dramatic change in direction. The outside of the curve (especially when working a padded satin stitch, as the padding helps hide the fabric underneath) can even be spaced a bit further apart than normal, in order to compensate as you work around the tighter curve. However, if you aren’t padding your stitches, you’ll want to make sure there is complete coverage of the ground fabric.
The trick to making tight loops look good is keeping your stitches as close as possible on the inside of the loop, without allowing them to overlap, and spacing them “just far enough apart” on the outside to allow them to fan properly and to get your stitches going in the direction you want them to go!
Satin stitching on a curve is not hard – it just takes practice. One thing that might help is trying your stitches from different directions. Try coming up on the inside and going down on the outside of the loop. If this doesn’t work well for you, turn it around – go up on the outside and down on the inside. Stick with what works best for you. I bring my needle to the front of the fabric on the inside of the loop and take it down on the outside, because I think it’s easier to see exactly the stitch direction.
Another helpful trick, if you’re not padding your satin stitches, is to mark your stitch directions in pencil inside the lines. This will help guide you around the curve. If you are padding your satin stitches, you could use a contrasting color of thread – just regular sewing thread works! – and baste in some directional lines that can be pulled out when you’re finished with the curve.
Ok, I’m going to finish this project today, so I’ll post photos of the completed monogrammed towel, washed and pressed and ready for display as a class sample, soon!
If you’re taking up a monogramming project, feel free to send me a photo! I’d love to see other people’s work!
This project is in four articles, besides this article. You can find the other parts of the project through the following links:
Part I: setting up the project, transferring the design, discussion of threads
Part II: stitching, information on padded satin stitch and other stitches employed, some trouble shooting.
Part III: that’s this article!
Part IV: The finished guest towel!