Washing Embroidery

The most intimidating part of embroidery is having to wash it. I’m always afraid it will be ruined somehow after all of the effort of stitching. This often leads to ‘forgetting’ this step. A terrible habit to have and one that needs work. Knowing that I’d spent a year working on Four Season: a Primative Quaker Year the 2018 SAL by Jacob de Graaf of Modern Folk Embroidery and knew it would be a piece to grace my walls for years through changes in style and taste. Skipping washing would cause immense regret later and though I’ve been washing irregularly for years, I felt a quick review of best practices in order, mostly because my soap collection and options have increased with my forays into spinnning and also because I’ve learned that soaps for plant based fibers, animal based fibers and synthetics are very different. That last has been learned in the fashion one learns things when one is just learning that there are questions to be asked and what those questions might be. This once I asked those questions. Google had lots to say, often about technique, rarely about materials, but when DMC’s embroidery washing tutorial came up I felt I’d found a trusted source. Having assumed correctly that they would cover techniques and materials and that it would be perfect for my DMC fibers on linen stitchers. There was, however, something I didn’t expect. I won’t ruin it for you. Just check them out. Even if you already wash regularly. And share them with a friend, whether they stitch or not.

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Art Deco Roses

Art Deco roses (or maybe I’m mistaken) trace the exterior of the 60″ x 80″ (1.5m x 2m) rectangular tablecloth. When it was gifted to me it came with a small pile of light and medium blue skeins of floss. It was waiting for me to finish my modern fine embroidery SAL and then while I did a bit of work on my woodland enchantress, who remains unfinished. When Mary Corbett blogged about a daisy tablecloth she was gifted and her dilemma regarding its condition, I was inspired to put needle to fabric. Yes, I should definitely start a small project and wrap up some of my larger projects, but again this is great for stitching while the kids are creating chaos all around. No counting, little chart reference, just two colors and beautiful. The stitching seems to run along like a high speed train compared to the complex stitchings I’ve been doing on 18 count Aida or 30 count linen. At least it does until I unfold it and see how much tablecloth there is all together.

iPad for comparison

Having completed two similarly sized tablecloths (grapes and floral aparantly this was finished just before I took a blogging break and has yet to make an appearance) gives me encouragement that I will eventually get there.  If vintage linens are your thing check out my vintage linens page, where you can ogle my collection of waiting projects and check out various finished or in progress linens.

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Enchantress Update


This fair lady of the woods is making her yearly appearance on the blog today.  A little cheating ahead has uncovered the top left corner.  Doesn’t seem like she’s coming along (here she is October 2017) until I remember that most of my stitching time went into my modern folk embroidery SAL.

There is already another band sampler on the schedule for spring.  I’ve got my reworking all planned out and supplies to pick up at my next guild meeting.


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Snow White Holiday

This gorgeous quilted double knit kicked the Cashmerette Turner up a notch for the holidays. As a knit that frays this required zigzagging the seams-I really need to learn how to use my serger. This fabric is less stretchy than ideal and could have benefited from the addition of a 1/4 increase at the side seams, just to make getting it on and off easier. This was my 5th Turner, but my 1st time working with double knit. I’m glad I bought enough for at least one more garment.

Sorry the lighting is terrible, but this was taken during the darkest time of year.  The alterations are the same as my previous knee length Turners. Though the cold weather has me itching to make more of the longer version.

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Languishing Pajamas-Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pajama Hack

After determining that the Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas might not be for me due to the fact that they are pajamas (With the dreaded pants) instead of a nightgown, it eventually occurred to me that I could simply lengthen the top. Out came the lovely burgundy flannel with its pink roses and tiny white flower.

Usually I get a half day (4 hours) twice a week to do appointments and projects that are more easily accomplished without small children. Sometimes I can steal half an hour during naptime when those are full of appoinments. It has , however, been as my son likes to say “crazy weeks since before Christmas”. I’ve had 2 of those days. We had holidays off from school at the beginning of the month then an appointment and a dinner party to prep meant only 1 day during the first two weeks. Full weekends meant no stealing time then. Last week School gifted me with a 2 hour delay and a previously unscheduled in service day. Three weeks into January and I hadn’t finished cutting out. My lovely cozy pajamas were languishing.

A canceled weekend trip meant I finally finished cutting out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like my son’s school week will consist of anything other than watching part of a movie between Tuesday’s 2 hour delay and early dismissal. Maybe things will be back to normal next week? Thankfully, A could go to daycare today and O had had enough of sensory bins and mommytainment. He sat down at breakfast with his wildlife adult coloring-by-number book and MP3 player (Today’s story is Frank Herbert’s DUNE.) and has refused to play games or stop for anything, but post lunch apples and cookies.

I finished sewing on the buttons, as the rain turned to freezing rain again and then to snow, thinking of how inviting these will seem this evening. These are largely by the book for view B apart from lengthening the top by 17 inches (about 43cm). The roomy style meant I only needed a small FBA (1 1/2″ added per side), which I then rotated down to toward the waist before lengthening. By following the new side seams down I gained plenty of walking room at the hem, though I should have added a little room to the back for my tush just to get the side seams to hang straight, it isn’t very noticeable and doesn’t matter since this nightgown is about comfort more than appearance. The other change I made was to alter the pocket by lowering it to a more large bust friendly position and changing the shape. Lots of versions of the Piccadilly Pajamas by Nina Lee have been popping up and the vintage details on those are lovely, though I’m not sold on the neckline. I took my cue from those pockets when reshaping mine, but carried over the piping rather than using bias tape.

Oh, I also swapped the overlap for easier buttoning, changed the button placement to suit and made horizontal rather than vertical button holes. I love my simflex gauge. These are more of the same buttons from SewGreen (Ithaca, NY) that I used on my as yet unblogged wool fumeterre skirt, only these are the slightly brighter red ones.

Vertical buttonholes are largely a result of their being quicker and thus cheaper for mass production some online source once told me.

Here it is.  My Flannel Carolyn Nightgown.  I think I’ll name her Maggie.  She feels like a Maggie to me. Now let’s see how long it takes me to forget that…

A few pattern notes.  This was my first Closet Case Pattern and it went to together well, but the directions and I didn’t get along.  Yes, I referred to the online collar and lapel tutorial, no I didn’t have any trouble making this, but somehow the directions were off putting.  Each time I read one, I felt less secure about what I was going to do than before I read it.  Things like “sew cuffs as pant cuffs p 11”  would definitely be confusing for a novice who didn’t already know how to sew piping,  sew cuffs and enclose a seam.  Part of it was just the organization.   I can’t say that there was anything wrong with these directions, but somehow the organization and wording wasn’t working for me, a rare occurrence.   One thing I really admire about this pattern, that I didn’t take advantage of this first go around is the effort that was put into making it possible to French all of the seams.  These aren’t frenched because I wanted to make adding shaping or adjusting fit easier.  I expect if I decide to use this same hack for my next nightgown those will be.

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This year’s #makenine is going to be totally different than last.  My wardrobe is no longer in crisis mode.  Last year’s make nine gives me a few TNT patterns and several wardrobe items to get me  through each season and it is time to fill the odd everyday gaps.  Things that see a lot of use, but aren’t as big of priorities.  Many of which have been waiting for years to be replaced or upgraded.  The general plan follows.  Few of these patterns are set in stone, but rather are the most likely candidates.  It looks like maybe next year might be the year of the blouse.

1-Blouse-pattern TBD, maybe more than one

2-Effie’s Reproductions -Apron [Apron]

3-Kwik Sew 3881 [Underwear]

4-Muse Patterns-Jenna Cardigan/Seamwork -Astoria/Seamwork-Elmira/Cashmerette-Appleton Top [Sweater]

5-Cashmerette-Harrison [Button front shirt]

6-Orange Lingerie-Marlborough Bra [bra]

7-Closet Case Files-Caroline Pajamas-modified as a nightgown [Nightgown]

8-Closet Case Files- Bombshell Swimsuit [Swimsuit]

9- Hand Knit Socks [Socks]


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Finished Modern Folk Embroidery 2018 SAL

Love this project for a multitude of reasons. Can’t want to see it hanging in my living room. This pattern is still available from Modern Folk Embroidery and there is a new 2019 SAL too. The instagram crew are very encouraging and people are just starting both for this year. If you know of any other SALs please feel free to share.

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