Hand Embroidery has been done for generations and with the invention of modern machine embroidery designs, anyone can sew traditional heirloom designs very quickly and easily. Heirloom sewing is a specialized sewing often used in blouses, childrens clothing, and table linen.
Cutwork and Lace Shaping – Heirloom Sewing often involves special lace placement and trims to create the Lace Shaping or Peek-A-Boo windows effect. Sewing cutwork embroidery designs involves embroidering the design, then trimming out the sturdier fabric from behind, giving you an elegant cutwork lace effect. It is basically the reverse of applique, as instead of adding applique fabric, you are cutting the base fabric away.
Modern Heirloom Designs – Many of the embroidery designs that were hand sewn in the past, can now be re-created very quickly and easily by modern machine embroidery. The stitches used in the traditional hand embroidery, like simple outlines, crosses, or satin stitches are now digitized to re-create the vintage look.
Tone on Tone Sewing – There are many beautiful “one color” or “tone on tone” embroidery designs available that you can use to sew out in soft whites, creams or ecru threads on natural linen fabrics to give the delicate “tone on tone” look. Any embroidery design can be sewn out in this “tone on tone” effect just by changing your thread colors. You can either use the same thread color to stitch out the entire design, or if it is digitized in different colors, you may like to use similar shades of the same color thread to give it a delicate subtle look. For example, try 3 pastel shades of pink for a baby girl’s project.
Use Natural Threads and Fabric – Any type of embroidery thread or fabric can be used to sew heirloom designs. However, try using 100% cotton threads and soft linen fabrics to re-create a more authentic yester-year look. If you are sewing redwork designs, you may like to use a heavier weight cotton thread and larger needle for a beautiful look
English Cotton Netting – Pre-wash your fabric. Dip in hot water, wring out excess water and dunk in straight liquid starch. Fill a bowl with just enough starch to cover fabric. Swish around and wring out excess starch. Let air dry until 80% of the moisture is gone and iron dry. Netting is perfectly stabilized and ready to use with Hope’s Heirloom Embellishment embroidery designs.
Heirloom Principals – Use a high quality 100% natural fiber fabric such as silk, linen, rayon or cotton when using heirloom techniques. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester have a memory to prevent wrinkles and are not suitable for heirloom techniques such as twin needle pintucks or wing needle stitching.
Spray Starch – Spray natural fiber fabric with starch lightly and let it soak in for 30 seconds. Iron dry. Mist fabric (do not wet fabric) again and iron dry, repeat 3 more times. Use this method to stabilize fabric before doing any embroidery or decorative stitches (such as wing needle work). The only exception is when doing pintucks.
Hooping Fabric – Place “Wash Away Wonder Tape” on the wrong side of your top hoop frame. Place a piece on all 4 sides and peel away the paper. Once you have drawn placement lines on your fabric, lay the hoop on top of fabric and the tape will keep the fabric from shifting while you finish hooping. Another good tip is to purchase a rubber mesh shelf liner at your favorite discount store. Lay underneath the bottom part of your hoop to keep it stable so it doesn’t slide over the countertop.
Creating and Removing Placement Marks – Use a blue water-soluble fabric marker (not a purple air-erasable marker) when drawing placement lines on your fabric. You can apply spray starch and heat from an iron to marked fabric without causing any damage to the fabric. Occasionally when pressing on purple air-erasable lines they may become permanent. When removing the blue marks, soak fabric in WATER ONLY. Occasionally detergent can cause a chemical reaction and the lines will not disappear.