Last summer, I had the best time embroidering this garden titled “Breath of Spring,” which was a project featured in one of last year’s Inspirations Magazine. I have to admit, this was one of the Most Enjoyable Projects I’ve worked on. Perhaps that’s a retrospective view – I do remember having a few frustrating moments while working on it. For example, I got quickly tired of working the bullions for the wheat. But when we’re satisfied with the outcome of a project, it’s easy to remember the whole project with intense pleasure, rather than to try recalling what we didn’t like about it, isn’t it?
A few days before Christmas this year, I set about turning this embroidered garden into its intended purpose, which, according to the original project, is as a pocket on the outside of a tote bag. I wanted to make the tote bag for my Mom for Christmas, so I gathered all my supplies, read (and re-read, and re-read again) the assembly instructions, cut the fabric, and set myself to constructing the tote bag.
Right away, I ran into a snag. The project called for a heavy fusible interfacing for the pocket, and in the assembly instructions, it said to fuse the interfacing to the pocket panel. Now, there are two pieces to the pocket, the embroidered panel, and the pocket lining. Since the instructions said to fuse the interfacing to the pocket panel, I automatically assumed they meant the embroidered panel. And they may have. I still, to this day, don’t know.
Whatever the case, I fused the heavy (very heavy – as in, stiff-like-a-board heavy) interfacing to the back of the embroidery.
You know that nagging little voice that tells you that you should probably double-check with someone before you take an irrevocable step? I heard it that day. But I didn’t heed it. Hmmm…..
After fusing the interfacing to the back of the embroidery, I trimmed the embroidered panel to size, leaving a seam allowance, and I trimmed the lining (a piece of natural linen the same color as the background of the embroidery) to size, and then I sewed both pieces together, right sides together, as instructed, leaving a four inch opening for turning it right-side-out.
And this is what I wanted to show you. I was thinking I’d allow you to experience my anxiety. Oh, we’ve all been there, I’m sure – what IF? What if I ruin it? What if the whole thing flops? …
This is the beginning of the process of turning the piece right sides out. It took forever, just to get it into a position where I could start pulling the insides out, without snagging the embroidery or pinching that fused fabric into a permanent crack…
Finally, a leaf is peeking through.
Most of the garden is out.
All of the garden is out, in one big crumpled mass.
Semi-ironed again, it’s lying on the fabric for the tote bag.
There was nary a pucker in this project when it came off the frame – that was part of its beauty. It was so crisp looking. So solidly straight and flat, even without ironing. I LOVE IT when embroidery comes out like that.
Now, no matter what I do to iron the piece, the fabric among the embroidered leaves, flowers, and grasses is ripply and bumpy….
I weep to think on it!
Ok, I don’t really weep to think on it. But it wasn’t one of my most pleasant finishing experiences, working on this.
I’m not a great lover of finishing, by the way. I think I may have mentioned this fact once or twice or ten thousand times.
This experienced confirmed it! Still, undaunted, I did continue in the construction of the bag, until I ran out of top stitching thread. My sister was out shopping that day, so a quick call was all it took to guarantee the arrival of more top stitching thread by nightfall.
With nothing else to do on the tote until then, I moved on to the next logical project:
…and I still haven’t finished the tote bag!