Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Preparing the panel

Now all the flowers are done, they need to be applied to the background fabric, but before I can do that, I need to get this ready.  I also need a means of ensuring that I put the flowers on in the right place.  As both of these are part of the same process, I'll describe them simultaneously, in the order in which I did them.

I've been thinking about how to transfer the design to the velvet, to place the flowers correctly.  I considered my usual design-on-the-back-and-tack-through method, but have decided to take a different approach this time.  I will partially be doing it by eye, but only within strict limits, and there will still be some tacking through from the back, just not of the flowers.  So what am I talking about?

I'd made a paper pattern for the panel shape when I made the toile some time ago; I hunted this out, and marked it up into a grid pattern.  I generally prefer to use metric measurements (they make the maths easier, for a start), but as the Banner very specifically is a yard (36") wide, I need to use old-fashioned Imperial measurements for it.  Each panel (top, bottom, left and right) is exactly the same: 36" along the bottom, and 18" along the top.  I drew up the grid as a series of squares (or triangles, along the edges) which are 2.25" a side.

I then cut out the linen that will form the lining on the back of the velvet.  I traced the pattern shape onto the linen, and marked the end of each grid line:

I then joined these up, to form the grid on the linen:

I also brought out the outline design for the Banner itself, and drew a similar grid onto the bottom panel:

By matching the two grids, I'll be able to position each flower quite precisely, or at least that's the plan!

With the linen marked up, it was time to cut out the velvet.  It's critical to ensure that the pile of the fabric is all running in the same direction, or the velvet can look as though it's completely different shades of red.  I'd marked arrows onto the linen, to indicate which way up the panel is to go:

I also pinned arrows onto the velvet; it doesn’t entirely matter which way the arrows point as long as I'm consistent and always have them pointing the same way, but I've made the top edge 'up', and have the arrows going in that direction:

So, with all the arrows pointing up, I cut out the velvet:

I then pre-shrank the fabrics, stitched the linen backing to the velvet front fabric, and edged them with the overlocker, for neatness and strength.

Doing this piecemeal seemed like a problem in the making, so I've actually cut out all eight panels, and attached the linen, with each one clearly marked where it's to go ('Front - Top', 'Back - Left', etc.) and lots of arrows.  This should save me the headache of trying to remember which way up things need to go later - all I have to do now is make sure all the arrows go in the same direction, and I'm sorted.

So, with the rest of the panels safely put away in my fabric cupboard, I mounted the bottom front panel onto my big frame.  Here's the linen on the back, showing the grid:

I then tacked over this, to transfer the grid to the front:

I can now position the flowers by the grid; once all the embroidery is done, I'll take out the tacking stitches.

And now - at last! - it's time to start adding the flowers.


  1. Ruth,
    I'm absolutely fascinated by this whole process. It seems so straightforward, but I never would have thought it out myself. Looking forward to you attaching the flowers.