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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Heirloom heart

Welcome back to yet another fabric covered heart. This charming rendition is very simply adorned, this way the stitching speaks out more clearly. The technique used is shaped lace. Sounds hard, looks hard but it's really very, very easy. You'll need some background fabric, linen works best, a bit of cotton flat lace (both ends are straight), a lace flower (this one cut from a large panel of Guipur lace), 3 tiny blossoms from the bridal dept, an exquisite button, ribbons as wide as your sides, adhesive of choice, size 90 or 100 needle, cotton sewing thread, machine with a pin stitch (could substitute a blanket stitch if pin stitch is not available).
Trace your heart shaped box onto your background fabric with a water soluble pen. I like these better than the air soluble ones only because I've had a less than desirable experience with the air soluble (purple) ones.
You should see a blue line around the outline.
Follow the drawn shape with the lace, pinning as necessary. Your lace will almost stand up on the line. I pin on a lace shaping board. A lace shaping board is padded and will allow the pins to stick in but not through the board. In a pinch the ironing board will work too.
This step is pure magic. Enlarge the picture so you can see the header thread. It's the outer most thread on the lace edge that is not pinned down. If you have a hard time selecting the outer most thread in the lace, use a pin or a pair of tweezers. Pull on the thread, pulling up the lace to lay flat. The lace should have gathers around the inside of the upper heart curves and at the bottom in the v.
See how I have overlapped the lace and placed one pin in the corner. I trim both ends of the lace so that it follows the straight edge of the lace and created a nice v shape. Take your piece on the lace shaping board to the iron, spray with a bit of spray starch and iron dry. Please make sure your iron sole plate is spotless less you get some dirt on your work. Once the starch is dry, remove one pin at a time and reinsert so that the pin is holding the lace edge in place.
Use a very large needle. This will create the 'holes' in the linen fabric. I don't like to use wing needles because although they also create the holes in fabric, they have a tendency to cut starched fabric. The red stitching is a small sample of the pin stitch. it goes once to the side and then the long side is made up of a stitch that travels over itself, hence pulling up the fibers in the background fabric creating holes in the fabric. I also like to use an open toe embroidery foot. For me, it has a great open area in which to see where you are stitching. Another option is to use an edgestitch foot that has a guide that will travel directly along the edge of the lace.
Sew around the outside first. The straight portion of the stitch travels along the outer edge of the lace and the pin or the sideways portion of the stitch sews into the lace.
You can see the lovely stitch already sewn. Remove the pins as you come to them.

Sew along the inside also. Tip: use needle down, and around the curves inside and out, please set your pattern or stitch repeat to 2. This will sew two complete stitches after which it's best to pivot the fabric.
I stamped a sentiment with brown archival ink inside the heart. Another option is to embroider a monogram or design inside the shaped lace.
Trace your hear onto some flannel or chamois cloth. Trim this a bit larger than the drawn line.
Trim the shaped piece about 1/4" larger than the shaped lace. adhere to the underside of the top with your favorite adhesive. I used a double sided "orange" tape. Fabric Tac is another albeit liquid glue option. Attach the rose buds, the cut out lace. Finally attach a special button to the top with a glue dot or removable adhesive. This will allow the recipient to use the button later.
I covered the side with a piece of lace.
And for that special sewing buddy, you can fill the inside with some special lace, a set of buttons and maybe some sewing needles. What a wonderful treasure to make and to receive!

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