November 20th, 2014
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a "wouldn't it be cool if..." thought? The 7th installment of 8 Elegant and Easy Expressions of Love was one of those thoughts!
The "wouldn't it be cool if..." thought continued with "the Peace Love and Joy flowers could be 3D".
The Peace Love and Joy Collection (PLJ) started out as a sleeping bag with jumbo flowers on it (16" point to point)...
When you have jumbo flowers you have to have smaller flowers too...
The medium sized flowers are about 10" diameter while the small ones are about 6" diameter.
What's the secret to making a 3D flower?
In the "It's a Sterling Life on Berkeley Square" collection, the center flower on the borders is a 3D stumpwork flower.
To create the stumpwork (i.e. 3D) petals, a wire is attached to the edge of the petal. Since the petals were designed to be 3D, first a wire placement line is stitched, then a tackdown, and then the satin stitch to cover the wire.
The PLJ flowers were not designed to be 3D but the satin stitch has underlay stitching - which closely resembles the tackdown stitching for stumpwork. Can you see where my mind is going here?
How to Create a 3D Peace Love and Joy Flower
Here are the steps I took to create a 3D flower using a Peace Love and Joy design.
First, I isolated one of the medium sized petals using the BERNINA Embroidery Software 7. I loaded the design into my machine and repeated it 8 times to create 8 petals in the jumbo hoop. If you have a smaller hoop, then you can stitch one or two petals at a time.
I loaded a piece of OESD Aquamesh Plus stabilizer. This is a sticky, water soluble stabilizer. Then I stitched the placement line for each petal and applied a petal appliqué shape to the top AND the bottom of the stabilizer.
For the petal that I chose, stitching starts on the bottom right corner of the petal and goes in a straight stitch all around the petal to the bottom left corner. Then it does a zig zag stitch (part of the underlay stitching).
Let the machine stitch the straight stitch, then stop stitching. Place a piece of wire (I like to use a 24 gauge round wire) just inside the edge of the appliqué shape as shown below. Turn the speed of the machine to as slow as it will go. Holding the wire in place (be very careful of your fingers by the needle - you could hold the wire in place using a piece of Scotch tape) start stitching the zig zag underlay.
When you get to the point of the petal, stop the machine with the needle in the down position and bend the wire around the needle. Continue stitching. The underlay stitching is actually a double zig zag stitch, so when it gets to the bottom right corner, the stitching will double back on itself.
Once the zig zag underlay stitching has completed, it will go straight into the satin stitch to finish the edge.
This is where I have a confession to make! On the day that I was working on this project, I had a lunch meeting away from my studio. I left a friend of mine in charge of finishing applying the wires to the petals. When I got back to the studio I was so excited that all the petals had wire, I took everything out of the hoop and trimmed away all of the excess stabilizer...
... and then realized that I had not finished stitching the detail on the petals :-(
You'll see a little bit later that I applied crystals to some of the petals and left the others plain!
To remove the little bit of water soluble stabilizer that is left around the edges of the petals, I used a paint brush dipped in water.
Now it's time to use the 3D petals - to make a quick and easy tea towel pillow. The tea towels come in some really great colors, and I have to say that this turquoise one is probably my favorite! You could use any piece of fabric - about 20" x 30" with the edges finished.
The only thing that will actually stitch onto the tea towel is the center of the flower - a 3" diameter circle. I cut a 4" square of Fusible Polymesh and fused it to the center of the wrong side of the tea towel.
Load the circle design into your machine. Stitch the placement line that shows where to position the towel in the hoop and then stitch the placement line to show where to position the center circle appliqué.
Now mark North, South, East and West on the circle - I used an extra fine Sharpie Pen, inside the circle since it will be covered with an appliqué shape.
Position the petals evenly around the circle so that the edge of each petal is 1/8" - 1/4" inside the circle. Hold each petal in place using Scotch tape.
Now restitch the circle placement line - and then remove the Scotch tape.
Because there were small gaps between each of the petals, I decided to fill these using some ribbon.
I cut 8 pieces of 5/8" wide ribbon, each 5" long and also 8 pieces of wire edge ribbon, each 3" long.
Fold the ribbon pieces in half and arrange evenly around the circle. Restitch the circle placement line.
By this time, there is enough stuff going on in the center of the flower that if you were to place only a piece of fabric over the center, there would be a noticeable dip in the center. To fill the dip and create a more pleasing result, I cut a circle of batting a little smaller than the 3" diameter appliqué circles and place this batting circle under the appliqué circles. Note that I am using 2 appliqué circles - one is fused on top of the other - as it gives better coverage than just one layer of fabric.
Finish stitching the circle design and you have a beautiful 3D Peace Love and Joy flower!
How to Insert a Zipper Option 1
I finished the pillow with a zipper. It's really easy to do given that the tea towel already has finished edges!
Option 1 uses a 14" long zipper that is applied under the edge of the towel.
Center the zipper on the right hand end of the towel (with the right side up) and align the edge of the towel with the zipper teeth as shown below. Hold in place with pins.
Now choose a decorative stitch which will be stitched all the way along the edge of the towel. Place the edge of your foot (my favorite is the BERNINA #34 Clear Foot) right on the edge of the towel.
My decorative stitch of choice is #711 with a width of 6mm and a length of 3mm (for best results using this stitch, the length is half the width). Position the needle all the way over to the right hand side.
With the zipper open, stitch along the edge of the towel...
When you get 4"-5" past the top of the zipper, lift the presser foot and close the zipper. Continue stitching to the end of the towel.
When you are finished with the first side, fold the towel so that the top and bottom edges are aligned and the left hand end of the towel is butted up against the right hand side of the zipper.
Move the needle over to the far left and stitch with the left hand edge of the presser foot against the edge of the towel. Open the zipper up for ease of stitching.
Keep the zipper closed for the last 2"-3".
Stitch across the ends of the pillow, about 3" in from the edge, and insert your pillow form and hey presto...
you have a gorgeous 3D flower pillow! The wires around the edges of the petals allow you to shape the petals to create different effects.
The wire edged pink ribbon can also be shaped to create lots of great dimension.
How to Insert a Zipper Option 2
Apparently Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, created a fashion trend with exposed zippers. Exposed zippers are super easy to insert and you can create some colorful effects with some of the chunky zippers that are available.
I folded the tea towel (with a "flat" PLJ flower stitched onto it) with the edges meeting in the center on the back and marked 3.5" in from the edge on both ends of the butted edges.
I used a piece of zipper tape - the kind where you cut off as much as you need and make sure you have plenty of zipper pulls - cut so that it is 1/2" longer than the distance between the two marked lines. Lay the zipper over the butted edges of the towel so that it is centered. There should be a 1/4" extending beyond the marked lines on each end.
In option 1, the edge of the tea towel is butted up against the zipper teeth on the top of the zipper. For option 2, the edge of the towel is butted up against the zipper teeth also, but this time on the bottom of the zipper. Stitch the zipper in place in exactly the same way.
Remark the ends of the pillow...
Here's the end with the zipper pull...
Making sure that the zipper pull is in place closing the zipper, cut away the excess zipper tape.
Be careful not to cut the towel at the same time!
The ends are ready... stitch both ends with a straight stitch.
The straight stitch is a convenient way to mark the front of the pillow as well as the back. Center a length of ribbon (about 3 x the width of the pillow) on the front, with the edge of the ribbon against the stitching line.
Hold the ribbon in place with Scotch tape.
Now place a length of ribbon on the back of the pillow in the same way...
Stitch on the top using an edge stitch foot (BERNINA #10) with the needle 2 positions to the left of the center.
The ribbon will provide a nice cover for the ends of the zipper tape...
The ends of the ribbon can be tied in a bow...
And here the two finished pillows...
Which pillow do you like best? The "flat" one or the 3D one? Leave me your answer in a comment below.
I'm going to end with a funny story about these pillows! At Quilt Market a few weeks ago, the two pillows were on display in the Brewer booth. Usually I set up my own space, but this time around I was able to hand over a suitcase full of stuff and let the Brewer staff do the setting up.
To stop the wire edged ribbon from getting totally flattened while traveling, I had used a bunch of rolled up Kleenex to stuff the ribbon loops. Whoever unpacked my suitcase apparently did not realize that the white stuff was stuffing, and not part of the pillow. Look what I found the first time I stopped by the Brewer booth to see my part of the display!
Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know which pillow you like best.
Until next time,