“Play Date” Topic – Finishing Techniques

Welcome to our Finishing Techniques “play date” topic.

Let us start with a discussion about some of the ways that we can finish our stitched treasures and definitions of the terms we use for those techniques.

Some of the most common ways are:
1. Ornaments
2. Framed pictures
3. Pillows
4. Flat-folds
5. “Stand-ups”
6. Wall hanging or Bell pulls
7. Needlework Tools or Accessories

Some common ways that are considered “needlework tools or accessories” are:
1. Needle cases/books
2. Scissor fobs
3. Pincushions
4. Needleroll
5. Stitching Wallet
6. Hussifs
7. Scissor case

Other ways are:
1. Biscornu
3. Sachets
4. Cubes (called “Cube-It)
5. Book covers
6. Nametags
7. Baskets liners or bands
8. Tin covers (especially altoid tin)
9. Boxes (box itself or top)

So let’s discuss some of these terms and make sure that everyone knows what we are talking about. Let’s take them one at a time:
• Flat-fold – the easiest way to describe this is a free standing item that looks easel-shaped. When looking for the side it looks like an “A-frame”. They can be small (around 4-5”) or large (up to 10-15”). The flexibility of size is one of their advantages and they collapse flat for storage. Since they are free standing, you can place them on any type of flat surface
• “Stand-ups” – these are similar to flat-folds in that they are free standing. The easiest way to describe these is that they are a cross between a stuffed animal and something like a flat-fold. They are usually “people” or “animal” type patterns that you want to stand-up in place
• Bell Pulls – these are very much like Wall Hangings. The difference is usually the hardware used at the top and bottom of the “hanging”
• Needle case/book – usually looks like a small “book” in which to hold your needles
• Scissor fob – ornament size object from which your scissors are hung
• Needleroll – a roll in which you can store your needles. Similar to a pincushion but for needles
• Stitching Wallet – these are wallet shaped and are designed to hold stitching supplies. The easy way to think of it is a cross between a needle case/book and a wallet
• Hussif – the common definition is a “pocket sewing case”. The easiest way to think of this is a case containing sewing articles to include thread and needles
• Biscornu – as was mentioned earlier – this is a great finishing technique for square designs. It is a multi-sided “pillow” (usually 8, 12 or 15 sided)
• Sachet – small bag – usually made of embroidery fabric and stitching on both sides
• Cube – similar to a box. Usually made all of fabric and created into a cube
• Humbug – great finishing technique for ornaments that are rectangular designs. It’s a 3-sided ornament

Here are some things to consider in deciding how you want to finish your item:
• What size is your design that you want to finish? Size may limit your options
• Where do I want to put the finished item? Again, limits in where may narrow your choices
• Will it be something that is out all the time or only on “special occasions”?
• Do you need to be concerned about any “environmental” aspects?
• How much will it be handled/used on a regular basis?
• What is its “purpose”?

As we explore some “no-sew” (meaning no sewing machine required) techniques – let us discuss several types of stitches that are used for joining two pieces of canvas. Some of the most common stitches used for “joining” are:
• Binding Stitch
• Overcast Stitch

Other stitches to consider are those that are classified as “insertion stitches”. Common ones are:
• Buttonhole
• Faggoting
• Blanket Stitch
• Blanket Crossed
• Armenian Edging
• Braid Edging
• Plaited
• Twisted
• Interlaced Band Stitch (also known as Herringbone Ladder Stitch)
• Ladder Stitch

These stitches can be found in almost any stitch book (especially “The Needlepoint Book”, “The Embroidery Stitch Bible” and “The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery”).  There is a wonderful description of “two-step edge finishing” in “The Needlepoint Book” that discusses ways to use insertion stitches.

Over the next few days look for photos of examples of several of these techniques.

Please share with us photos of any examples you have.  Please share with us what your favorite technique is and why.

3 thoughts on ““Play Date” Topic – Finishing Techniques

  1. I am working on 2 Joan Thomason’s Fallen angel series. They really don’t lend themselves to framing and I don’t want them to be hanging ornaments. I will make them into “sleeve like” finishes so they can slip over a ” can of vegetables” and sit on the book shelf. I do this with Christmas pictures and Santa forms that I want to store flat during the rest of the year.
    I would be glad to share. Do you want a picture of a Santa or the angels when I get them ready to sit on the shelf?

  2. What is your favorite finishing technique? My favorites are the three-dimensional types – meaning: biscornu, flatfold, stand-ups, and needlework tools/accessories (especially humbugs, etuis, needle books/needlerolls, etc). I am currently working on two projects that I will be finishing as cubes.
    Karen Anthony

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