This is the final post in this series and deals with the bordering stitch for my sampler. The pulled work I have been practising is for use in an up-coming project of mine, an 18th century embroidered fichu. From my recent research into some extant items, most fichus were either edged with a rolled hem, or blanket stitched into a decorative scalloped edge. It was this type of blanket stitch that I really wanted to try.
Blanket stitch is a very common embroidery stitch, and is sometimes called buttonhole stitch. These stitches are exactly the same in terms of structure.
In my reading regarding embroidered extant items, I found that sometimes a blanket stitch was used over the top of a folded raw edge, which to me sounded like a very neat way of doing it. Unfortunately, this is very hard to do over a scalloped edge and I had to abandon my attempt because it was very slow going and rather messy. It could work better if the scalloped edges were folded and basted down first though – something to try for another day!
Initially I used two strands of embroidery cotton, but this made the edging too bulky and untidy so I changed to using one strand of cotton. I also altered my technique to using a blanket stitch over the raw edge, cutting away the excess as I went along. This is an easier way to do a scalloped edge and was a lot more successful in some ways, but I still feel that cutting away the excess does not leave the edge looking as finished or clean as it could. Using one strand of embroidery thread was a good move though, as the stitches look a lot finer and less bulky.
Once I was halfway through I decided to change the direction that I worked the blanket stitch. I had been working it so that the “loops” (A & C in the diagram above) were on the inside of the work, but I switched so that they would be on the outside, that is, the side where I was cutting away the material. The loops are hard-wearing and designed to increase the stability and wear-and-tear of a buttonhole, so my reasoning was that it was probably better that they were on the outer edge of the piece. However, both ways were done in the eighteenth century. When the “loops” are on the inside of the work, the stitch can be pulled tighter to create little frays puffs on the edges of the piece. Whilst these looked incredibly untidy to me, to an eighteenth century needlewomen they mimicked the picot loops common in the bobbin lace of the time.
Here is my finished embroidery sampler:
The blanket stitching around the edge is a little wonky, and I have realised that the quality of embroidery is impacted largely by the drawing that is done on the fabric. This is all the more reason to have a well-executed design drawing before I begin on my embroidered fichu.
I am looking forward to using some of these skills now! I hope you have enjoyed following my progress.
Sources and Relevant Links
Image source: Buttonhole stitch
Blanket stitch scallops – by Rocksea & Sarah
Shaped blanket stitch scallops – by Rocksea & Sarah
Many more Pulled Work stitches – by Lynxlace. At the top of this page there is also examples of different outline stitches. At the very bottom of this page there are examples of other edging stitches, including stitching over a folded edge.