Wednesday, 24 January 2018


I completed the (short) name banner yesterday evening.

I think it took about 15 mins per letter, on average, and that doesn't count the time taken to wind a 2 bobbins with matching thread, or loading the designs on to Monster.

First, I have to cut and hoop stabiliser, making sure it is drum tight.  I use clear vinyl, because it gives the neatest edge once removed.   The hoop goes on Monster, and she stitches out a placement outline.   I use this to  find just the right bit of the fabric for that particular letter:  I wanted to ensure I had as much insect as possible showing for each letter, and that ALL the insects appeared somewhere. It's a bit wasteful on fabric, but the end result makes it worthwhile.

The fabric is cut out, and then I place it on the
hoop, wiggling it around to get the best placement.  It's secured with masking tape. Then I repeat for the backing fabric (The backing fabric I chose for this project requires less faffing about).

The hoop goes back on Monster, and she sews 2 layers of securing stitch.   Hoop comes off again so I can trim the fabric on both sides, getting as close as possible to the stitching to avoid sticky-out threads later. I have to be very careful that I don't pull the stabiliser at all, because this would reposition it. (Ask me how I know!)

Now the rest of the stitching takes place. A foundation layer goes on, and then the beautiful (and thread heavy)  satin stitch for the edging.  

Next,  it stitches 2 different layers of "bean stitching" to give (a) a neat edge and (b) to secure the satin stitching to help prevent it fraying over time.

Finally Monster sews the eyelets: outline sttch, , foundation, satin, bean stitching.

Now I have to unhoop, and carefully extract the letter from the stabiliser - I don't want to pull the edges.  I trim the edges for loose threads, and cut off any untrimmed jump stitches.  I make holes in the eyelets, and tidy those up. 

When all the letters are ready, I thread them on to the ribbon, allowing plenty of ribbon at each end
Yesterday's 4 letter name (and the 2 stars I added because a 4 letter name is a bit short for a banner) required 31,617 stitches. 

Because I used the same thread for the bobbin as well,  this means I used a little under half a reel of thread.   The fabric (for both sides in total) was probably a fat quarter's worth;  there was quite a lot of vinyl stabiliser - I couldn't use the small hoop because it's impossible to get the scissors in to trim the fabric.     The ribbon was 48 inches long, so about 1.25m or so.

I can see why people charge £4 or more a letter! 

I'm not getting paid for this,  instead I've asked for a donation to the fund to help a local lad who has severe physical disabilities and is need of some particular equipment.

I hope she likes it.

I'm really happy with how it turned out.   After my previous,  unsuccesful (read: disastrous) attempt at using vinyl stabiliser on Monster, I had given up on ever being able to do this sort of thing again. 

I'm hoping that my new clamp frame will work for this, which would make the process a little quicker and, maybe, use less stabiliser.

We'll see.  

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