Let’s start with close-ups on the finished embroidery:
Above is the center back design digitized by Dainty Stitches on the SecrestOf website. This is called Cutwork Set 4. I’ve long been a fan of DS and purchased many of her sets. I love the artwork she chooses, her prices are more than reasonable almost cheap and her digitizing is perfect.
My only complaint, if I’m allowed to criticize, is that the design above is 4 separate motifs that have been combined but not joined. During stitching there are 3 huge jump stitches from one motif to the other. OK 3 doesn’t seem like much. It’s my past experience that kicks me. Long ago, nearly 20 years, I was stitching with a Bernette Deco 500. Long jump stitches were guaranteed to get caught by the foot when if it traveled back across the jump stitch. There was horrible racket as well as a ruined stitch out and pretty much a wadder for a planned project. My Janome 9500 has never suffered that fate because I have Embird. I examine every design using Embird. When possible I covert those jump stitches to running stitches. Sometimes changing to a running stitch will adversely affect the appearance of the stitch out. In that case I force a stop by changing the colors. Usually, I don’t want to change colors and will select a closely matching color. The machine will sense a color change, stop and allow me to clip threads. I don’t rethread. I just clip the jump stitch and then push the “Go” button.
I planned to stitch 4 (2 on each side) motifs on the front; the large central back motif and another 4 (2 on each side of the back motif) of the front designs. But I got cold feet after stitching out the central back design. I remembered how my teenage cutwork fared in the laundry. While this is machine stitched and probably much stronger, I feared that the cutwork itself was too frail for my laundry practices. In the end, I stitched the central back motif and two (one on each side) front motifs and then joined them with one of my HV Ruby’s built-in stitches.
I used a french curve to draft the lines between motifs, after the shoulder seams were stitched. I tried out several of Ruby’s stitches and finally modified E13 narrowing it to 5.0 and shortening to 6.0. On the screen and at the default settings, it has a brick-like appearance. Narrowed and shortened, it has the chain like appearance seen above. I savored the irony. When contemplating my purchase of the HV,I had agonized about the 7mm of the Viking vs the 9mm stitch width of the Bernina. It was only after stitching out and comparing similar stitches on both machines (and a little work with the ruler) that I decided the 2mm difference wasn’t enough to justify the larger expense of the Bernina. Now I’m realizing that I was agonizing over nothing since I most often narrow a stitch. I not only don’t miss the 2mm the Bernina would have stitched, I usually want the stitches even narrower. It’s quite possible that I would have equally enjoyed a machine that could only produce 5mm wide stitches.
I finished the garment (pics coming up) and then started clipping stray threads. I do clip as I go along and Ruby both pulls the threads to the backside and clips 1″ tails. But at some point I want to clips those tails next to the fabric and catch any threads I missed clipping earlier. So garment all finished, guess what I clipped?
A hole in the back above and to the left of the central motif. What to do? I did think about adding a few eyelets. But to sprinkle eyelets, I’d have to fight with various layers in various places. Part of this blouse is 1 layer. But there are facings and interfacings ; oh and seams in other parts. Eyelets might look nice, but could I successfully add all the eyelets I would think were needed?
The first thing I did was to stabilize the hole. I didn’t want to use Freycheck. Freycheck is a bold move on Batiste. I chose instead to add a patch of knit interfacing to the inside.
Then I added a small arc, on both sides of the central motif which covered the hole; and followed that by clipping the interfacing close to the stitches (not shown).
I am pleased with the final fix. To my delight, it blends well and looks intended. The back is buckling a little around the motif, because I added WSS beneath the 2nd arcs while doing the stitching. I haven’t washed that out, but the iron with it’s steam has been close enough to cause the stabiliser to shrink and create what looks like, but isn’t, drag lines.
One last thought on the embroidery. When I finished the motifs, it became necessary for me to rinse out the stabiliser before proceeding. In the heat and humidty of summer WSS will shrink, dehydrate, and become misshapen drawing the fabric into it’s contortions. So I washed and then noticed that my smoothly trimmed and stitched cutwork had developed pokies. As feared the cutwork was freying after one trip through the handwash cycle. I added Freycheck, let it dry, and then trimmed pokies. I see there are still more that need trimming. In the future, I need to remember to Freycheck before soaking out the WSS.
I like the back. The mass of mid-back wrinkles have disappeared leaving a garment that fits pretty smoothly from shoulder to hem. I do see some drag lines coming from the underarm area. I’m not sure if that’s trouble or just body- in- motion.
Extending the front darts all the way to the hem a mere 1/8″ wide has gone a long ways towards controlling the Judi_Jetson appearance I complained about earlier. I see diagonal lines but wonder are they tummey, bust or hip issues? The hip should have more than enough ease. Honest.
I think the front confirms that I took a little too much ease out from underneath the arm. I was trying to remove the armscye bubble which I wasn’t sure but may have been caused by my not stay stitching before I handled it as much as I did.
I think all the issues I’ve pointed out are slight and are not keeping me from wearing my new blouse. I was lucky enough to have 5 matching buttons in my button stash and the buttonholes stitched out without a single hicup. My Ruby makes the best buttonholes of any machine I’ve every worked with. Just beautiful. She deserves kudos and high marks for that.
Hope you enjoyed my experience with this pattern. I plan to use it when restuffing Mimie, my dressform. But that’s not the only time. This blouse fits closely but comfortably. I can see many variations. I’m happy to have it looking so good. I feel like finally, I can do some of the embellishing I love but have avoided because I didn’t have patterns which fit.