Sometimes, the little things make a difference in a project. Details can add interest or make your item look more “finished”. They can show that you put a little extra thought into your crafting, and that’s always a good thing.
For this blog post, I’m taking examples from a Basin Banner club project. The small wool banners give you an opportunity to explore the details, without becoming overwhelming.
Let’s start at the beginning. The pattern designer suggests using a fusible web for the project. I have never been fond of fusing my wool projects, but many designers suggest that method. Fusing will make the wool lay flat, giving the banner a smoother finish. I like to simply pin my pieces in place, then stitch them to the background. This method gives a bit of depth to the piece and the thickness of the wool still shows.
Neither method is right or wrong, it’s a matter of personal preference. There is one note of caution, however. If the pattern calls for using a fusible, the pattern pieces are (usually) drawn in reverse (so that you can easily trace them onto the fusible product). Since you’re using wool, you can simply trace and cut the pieces as they are, then turn them over before stitching so your banner faces the same way as it is pictured. The wool is reversible, so right side and wrong side don’t come into play.
Cutting small pieces can be challenging. I learned a trick for small circles from a pattern long ago. Cut a square of fabric just a bit bigger than the circle you need. Then trim the square into a circle – so much easier than tracing and trying to precisely cut that tiny circle. I use this technique for other small shapes, like ovals or simple leaves. One other cutting tip – get a pair of Perfect Scissors! I recently got the medium size (A12671) and they are fabulous! They hold the wool in place as they slice right through it and they are sharp all the way to the tip. The handles are comfortable too!
When it comes to the stitching, you have options for your projects. I like to use six strand floss, as I can decide on how many strands to use for the pieces I am sewing. Smaller pieces only need a single strand, while two strands is my standard, and three or more strands can be used for larger pieces or when I want the stitching to show more. You also have the option of solid color floss, variegated or overdyed. Each type has its own appeal.
Use a color that matches for stitches that “hide. You can also use a lighter or darker color floss when you want to accent your stitching or to add a bit more interest to your work. Wouldn’t it be fun to stitch a variety of shapes in floss colors that are different from the fabric colors?
With multiple strands, you can custom blend colors to add interest or better match your fabrics. Use one strand of a dark shade and one strand of a light shade to make your own “variegated” floss. You can also combine single strands of two or three different colors to make something unique.
Blanket (or buttonhole) stitch is often used for wool applique. This stitch gives a smooth edge to the piece you are attaching to your background. When sewing very small pieces, I prefer to use a whip (or primitive) stitch – to hold the piece in place – as it’s harder for me to do a tidy small blanket stitch.
Here’s a portion of the finished project, showing some of the wool pieces stitched to the background. I used a light floss on the light heart, a dark floss on the dark heart and I blended a strand of each for the medium heart. I used the blanket stitch for most of the applique, but did a whip stitch on the small pot rim.
Take a minute to think about the details next time you start a project. Some of the little choices can make a big impact. Play, have fun, enjoy!
This post is compliments of Cathy Mark. Thank you so much, Cathy!
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