I’m sorry I left you on a cliffhanger with my vintage girl embroidery, but after blocking (twice) and painting the frame and all that jazz, I’ve kind of had to admit that I have nowhere to hang her! I thought I might be able to squeeze her in somewhere, but she just won’t fit. So, I’ll use the frame for something else and carefully pack her away until I have more space to hang her. At least I’ll know how to block her when I have to do it again!
Meanwhile, renovation on my beautiful 1950s sewing box (which I bought months ago but haven’t had the time to play with) has finally begun! That’s Dad up there using that crazy power sander on the larger flat areas – and I’ll be working on the smaller detail bits by hand in the coming weeks. It’s going to take some time to do it well, but it’s going to be so gorgeous when we’ve finished!
Thank you guys SO much for the tips you shared on blocking embroideries! I’ve given it another go with my vintage girl, and this time followed the post shared by Kim (who I just noticed is stitching along with my french knot sampler, yay!) from Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘n Thread: Damp Stretching and Blocking Embroidery.
That post basically says to do what I did with, I suspect, one important difference: using a enormous crapload of pins. The first time I blocked this girl, I pinned it as if it was knitting – the pins aren’t very closely spaced. I suppose this gave it the give it needed to bunch back up as it dried. As you can see above, this time I pinned it (dry) and used about ten thousand pins, then sprayed it as Mary suggests. It looks like the circus came to town, but it seems to have worked!
A totally awkward bathroom tile shot, but lookit how flat! It’s all dry there, but I still haven’t unpinned it yet. I’m secretly afraid that it will all go all rumply again the second I take the pins out. Next up, I have to decide how I’m going to reframe it!
Sorry, guys, I had that awesome (ahem, if I do say so myself) idea for Vintage Sundays and then it kind of got lost in the shuffle. But now we’re back on track! So, this week I want to share this amazingly beautiful embroidered girl I found at a charity shop a week or two ago. She must be from the later-1960s or maybe early 1970s, there’s no real doubt about the era on this one. Isn’t she lovely?!
She does need a little repair though! As you can see, she’s quite badly puckered there around her face and head, and there’s a few pulled stitches in her apron. No broken threads or anything, so I thought she’d be easy enough to fix up – just tighten the loose threads from the back, give her a gentle wash and blocking, and then reframe!
I started with a washing, just the same as I would anything else handmade: lukewarm water, a touch of gentle soap and left her to soak for a bit. The soak water was totally orange, which I didn’t see coming, and it did leave a light bleed mark on the fabric in one corner, but it might be hidden by the framing. Otherwise she looked pretty good, and I pinned her out crazy tight, hoping to cure that bunchiness.
Which was not entirely successful. Or at all really. Huh. Here she is still pinned to the blocking board, but now dry – the fabric still totally puckering all over the place. She looked wonderfully smooth when she was still wet and freshly pinned, but now the same as before. I’ve never blocked embroidery before, but I block knitting (successfully) all the time – is there some difference I didn’t know about?!
Is there anyone out there that can give me some advice on flattening this girl? I know she’ll smooth somewhat if I mount the embroidery more properly than it was before, but will that take care of it completely? Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated!
I’ve been listening to the Del Vikings like crazy over the last few weeks – even when my iPod is on shuffle, I basically just wait for more Del Vikings to come on. They’re the absolute kings of doo-wop, and I dare you to find a more charming and cheerful music. I double-dog-dare you not to dance, at least a little chair dancing, while you listen to their wonderful version of “A Sunday Kind of Love” from 1957.
By the way: the Del Vikings are also awesome for being formed in my hometown, Pittsburgh, PA, and for being one of the first racially integrated music groups. Badass.