Here’s my latest adventure with the embroidered book cover that I really should have finished a while ago.
Yep. The event is day after tomorrow – a point I realized yesterday. (Being the attentive aunt that I am, I obviously pay close attention to these things!)
So, yesterday, I spent a little bit of time getting the set-up work done for the embroidered prayerbook cover and selecting colors. Today, I’ll stitch it.
Here’s the set-up process in a nutshell, along with information on the fabric I’m using (and why), the threads, and a few tips that will make the finishing process much quicker.
I’m using DMC stranded cotton floss for the whole project.
For such a small embroidery pattern (it’s this cross, wheat and grapes embroidery pattern), you might be thinking I’ve gone overboard on the color choices.
You could be right! I call this Plan A and Plan B. For a project that’s pretty much off the cuff, I just grab out the colors that I think will work, and then some, and I go from there.
This gives me plenty of colors to work with without needing to forage later, but I may not use them all.
I ended up switching linen for the cover. I’m using linen cambric. It’s a lightweight linen with the most beautiful hand – it’s so smooth, so gorgeous!
Since it’s such a lightweight linen, it needs something behind it to help cover the book, so it’s backed with a good white cotton muslin (called Southern Belle muslin). The muslin with provide support for the stitching.
You might wonder why the linen at all? Well, because it’s beautiful! And even though it’s lightweight linen, it is naturally strong stuff. And finally, because it’s such a pleasure to stitch on!
I spray starched the linen quite well and ironed it, before tracing the pattern. Since I’m using a pencil to trace the design, I like having a nice coating of spray starch on the fabric. It ensures that the pencil will come out easily in the end.
It was very easy to trace the pattern and layout for the cover onto the linen – no light box needed!
Then, I basted the linen cambric and the white cotton together, making sure the fabric grains were aligned. When you’re working with two layers of fabric, it’s pretty important that neither is even slightly on the bias; otherwise, you’ll end up with warping and puckering.
If you’re unsure of what I mean by the grain of the fabric, here’s an article about cutting linen on the grain, which will explain everything!
So there’s the embroidery design on the linen in the middle of the book cover, the layout of which is marked by those basting stitches.
Behind the fabric above, you can see just a hint of the hoop. I’m using a 6″ embroidery hoop that’s been bound with twill tape. (I bound it with twill tape some eight or ten years ago – you only have to do it once!)
I’m not quite ready to slip the top ring of the hoop into place, though.
There! Now I am!
But you might be wondering where the pattern went…
I’ve hooped up a piece of scrap muslin on top of the linen, too. So in the hoop, I have the backing fabric (white cotton), the linen ground fabric with the pattern on it, and finally, on top of that, a piece of scrap fabric, which in this case is a small piece of white cotton muslin.
The reason for the top layer of cotton is to provide extra protection for the ground fabric – protection from dirt, from hoop rings, from oil on my hands. It also provides a little more friction to keep the fabric tension nice and taut.
You can use any scrap fabric for this top protective layer, though if you’re working on white, I’d suggest a lighter or white fabric, just in case! Old sheets and pillow cases, cleaned, work well for this.
There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to protect your ground fabric from dirt and oils and so forth, but my motivating factor here is that the less marred the fabric is, the less time it will take to prepare it for finishing into the book cover once the embroidery is complete.
With all the layers stretched taut in the hoop, I used a needle to lift the top layer away from the linen just enough to slice into it with a sharp pair of scissors.
Then I cut out a window, to expose the pattern area for stitching.
You can see a good sized frame of protective fabric there, that will help keep the linen clean, and just enough of a window to stitch in.
Now I’m ready for the fun part!
I figure it’s only about three or four hours of stitching, tops, and only that much because the large leaf is long and short stitch. Otherwise, the rest will go pretty quickly.
Yep. Famous last words.
I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Enjoy your Friday!
Book Cover Articles
You can find all the articles relating to making this book cover through the following links:
The cross, grapes, and wheat embroidery pattern
Setting up the project and choosing colors (this article)
The embroidery on the book cover
Finishing and assembling the book cover
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