I know I can’t be the only one in the world who has done this with an embroidery project!
I call it dead-ending.
Dead-ending is when you have a specific plan (or two) in mind for an embroidery project, you get the project underway, and then you realize it just isn’t going to happen. At least, not the way you planned it!
The backstory to this: A while ago, I mentioned this embroidered book cover design that I planned on stitching up on a prayer book cover for my niece’s First Communion. That was the first episode of transferring the design to fabric using my printer. After the printer successfully spat out the design on linen, I also printed the embroidery design on a very nice silk dupioni.
So far so good.
The next step: setting up the foundation fabric for the embroidered book cover.
The foundation fabric for the embroidered book cover is Alba Maxima linen, which is a very nice, medium-weight linen, great for any kind of surface embroidery. I chose it because it’s white, it’s linen, it’s sturdy, and I just love stitching on it.
To set up the cover, I measured and basted in the lines that would mark the construction folds in the book cover, marking the front, the spine, the back, the folds and seam allowances.
Remember when you were a kid and had to cover your school books with brown paper? That’s pretty much the approach I took with the layout, because I want a cover that will stay in place, but that’s easy enough to slip on and off for laundering.
After all, this is for a kid, ultimately, and it will get dirty.
The whole time I was doing all the set-up, my mind was turning over how I would approach the actual embroidery.
My idea was to use either designs (the one printed on linen or the one printed on silk) as a kind of appliqué, baste it on, embroider over it, put a nice edging around the appliqué, and call it finished.
Deep down, my Other Self (that would be my Practical Self) was sending out little nagging signals, and the whole set-up process took place under the Cloud of Inhibition.
My Other-Other Self (that would be my Impractical Self) kept going…
First, I ironed a light interfacing called Misty Fuse to the back of the blue silk. I cut it out, leaving about 1/16″ of fabric outside the design edge.
I used Misty Fuse for two reasons: 1. it helps prevent fraying when you’re cutting out a piece of silk or similar fabric; 2. it makes the fabric a little stiff, but it’s still easy to stitch through.
My plan was not to iron the silk onto the linen book cover, but instead, to tack it on.
I centered the cut out silk on the book cover layout on the linen, and I thought….mmmmmmmmmm……
Maybe I’ll use the design printed on the linen instead.
So then I took the linen piece with the design on it, and decided to tack the whole thing onto the linen ground for the book cover, without trimming it first. I could stitch the design, then stitch on a nice little edging, and then trim the linen close.
I know you’re wondering at this point why I wouldn’t just use the printed linen as the fabric for the actual book cover.
There are two reasons: 1. It wasn’t really large enough for the book cover; and 2. It’s a fine linen, compared to the Alba Maxima, and I thought it might be a bit flimsy for a kid’s book cover.
I tacked on the linen.
And then I thought….. mmmmmmmmmmmmm….noooooo…
And then I removed the linen.
Then, I tacked on the silk. I used little tiny straight stitches around the perimeter, in blue, evenly spaced, and appliquéd the silk into place.
All of those little bits of set-up work happened over several days, between other projects.
Finally, I culled out some time and decided to attack the stitching.
An hour later, fingers sore and my Practical Self practically yelling at me, I stopped, assessed progress, and …
…picked it all out and removed the silk.
Several pointers from my Practical Self to my Impractical Self:
1. The design is too complex for the amount of time I can spend on it in the next two weeks. It will never get done.
2. It’s just Too Much for this type of book cover for a little kid – a book cover that’s going to get dirty, that’s going to get worn…
3. KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
And so, that project has dead-ended. Time to seek out a simpler design and start over!
Fortunately, I used Alba Maxima linen for all this, so all the set-up work is not lost. If I had used cotton, silk, or a less sturdy linen, I’d probably have to go through the set-up process all over again with a new piece of fabric. One of the many advantages of using good linen!
Please don’t tell me I’m the only one out here’s who has done this type of thing before – started a project, headed in one direction, spent valuable time on it, and finally, thanks to a good Slapping About from the Cold Dead Fish of Reality, ditched the whole thing due to its sheer impracticality? Anyone?
On the bright side, it’s a load off my mind, and I’m rather happy to turn instead to something very simple. I’ll show you what, later on!