VIP Commission…transferring the pattern


So my pinboard which I usually use for damp-stretching my finished work has been taken over by swans (and toadstools).

Progressing with the pattern transfer. This was a lesson in trusting one’s instincts versus trusting one’s ruler. It was a draw.

Here is my prepared piece; you can see the backing cotton under the doily with tacked centre lines and circular lines attaching both together.

On goes the tissue paper pattern and I line up the centre lines. Here’s the start of my problems. Because I had tacked the two fabrics together in a rough circle, it was fooling my eyes into not seeing the actual circularity (real word?) of the doily. So I started not trusting the position of the swans when lining up the centre line. Out came the ruler. Slight adjustments were made. I pinned. I hooped.

Here I have used bog-standard sewing thread to running-stitch around the whole thing. It’s important to properly stab-stitch – insert the needle at right angles to the fabric, not at a slant otherwise the pattern goes a bit wonky. Then the bit you think will be fun but isn’t – rip out the tissue leaving the stitched outline.

You can easily see how the pattern is off centre at this point. However I was unconvinced the centre line was truly central. Until I unhooped and looked at the whole thing and realised it was definitely wonky. Sigh.

Out came the ruler again. I realised the problem. Because the doily is handmade, we are not working with a perfectly symmetrical canvas in the first place. The cutwork is different on one side to the other, and I failed to spot this so measured from what I thought was a mirror image spot on each side. And obviously my tacking lines weren’t helping my judgement. Squinting ensues. I have an internal battle between my laziness and my perfectionism. Perfectionism, of course, wins. I pull out the right swan and start again.

So the thing to realise with this is, the whole thing is a hand-work of art; so there are no nice factory-made straight edges to work off – it ultimately has come down to artistic judgement and I just have to trust myself. I’ve done the maths. This is now perfect. The hard bit is over.

I am hooped up and ready; tomorrow starts a 3-day embroidery marathon!

3 thoughts on “VIP Commission…transferring the pattern

  1. oh my what a busy girl you are! Instinct over rukers every time. Even when things measure correctly they can look wrong and it’s the look that means everything. totally loving this so far and looking forward to seeing what emerges

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