Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016 Happy Holidays & Handkerchief Construction

Embroidered Handmade Handkerchief 2008
Pattern: Alternating Flowers Pfaff stitches 96 & 98

Happy Holidays everyone.

I hope you are having a memorable holiday this season. It's a very low key Christmas for us. No special meal, event or decorating. Mr. Sprocket, has been trying to relax as much as possible ever since learning over a week ago that he has a cracked/displaced rib as a result of his open heart surgery. It hasn't healed since his operation and it was discouraging to find out this was the source of his persistent chest pain. He hasn't wanted to do anything other than remaining sofa king, not using his arms at all to keep his pain level down and trying to get the rib to mend as soon as possible.

On Thursday night and into Friday I started to get body aches and pains, fever and night sweats. So I've been resting under my favorite blankie and taking my Dr. Peter D'Adamo supplements, especially Proberry [good for all blood types]. Today I'm feeling like I'm on the mend.

Right before I was feeling under the weather, I was working on getting my lightweight linen ready to make an inventory stack of handkerchiefs.

I have not made handkerchiefs from scratch in over eight years. It's a lengthy process just to get the handkerchiefs made and ready to embroider.

Making Handkerchiefs
There are items I make that take a lot of preparation work for something that doesn't look like you put nearly as much effort into making. Embroidered handkerchiefs are just that.

First step is purchasing six to eight yards of a lightweight linen. I get a 58" linen-rayon blend from JoAnn Fabrics. I always try to buy on sale since linens can be very expensive.

Next step is a hot wash and dry. The difficult part is ironing eight yards of fabric so I have a method. I iron about four to five feet. I then fold the ironed part twice, getting it lined up on the selvedge.

I put the folded fabric on my cutting mat, letting the remaining, unironed fabric fall off the table. Using a rotary cutter, I cut 15" [or 13"] wide strips. I then go back to the ironing board and repeat the process until I have a stack of 58" long strips 15" wide.
I then line up four to five strips on top of each other on the cutting mat and using the rotary cutter again, I make the finale cuts in the 58" strip to make 15" squares.

It's now past time to get my Pfaff Overlock machine ready to create a rolled hem around the edge of the handkerchief.

I haven't made the handkerchiefs in over eight years and I cannot for the life of me remember the settings for a rolled hem on my Pfaff. Luckily, I find the manual and the instructions for a tightly rolled hem come close. I take out the left needle, rotate the cutting blade out of the way and dial in the initial recommended settings. I only need a few adjustments.

I start on scraps of the linen fabric and the rolled hem is coming out perfect. But the big challenge is to perfect the corner turns. I try and try and try but I'm failing miserably. I can't seem to do it consistently. I have to settle for getting the corners perfect less than 50% of the time.

The rolled hem on a handkerchief.

After a bit of work, I've completed the rolled hem on 20 handkerchiefs.

20 edged handkerchiefs; 28 ready to edge.

The next step will be putting a tiny, tiny dab of fraycheck or glue on the dangling rolled hem threads, letting it dry and then cutting off the excess.

Setting up for the embroidery is another detailed process. I use a water soluble stabilizer on the back of the light weight fabric called ULTRA SOLVY. It feels like a thick plastic. I cut that into 3/4" inch strips. With a bit of moisture, I attach the stabilizer to the back four edges of the handkerchief.  Once the stabilizer is added, the handkerchief is ready to embroider.

Here are a few more examples of handkerchiefs I made for my Aunt Julie some time ago.

 Pfaff stitch 112 close; Purple blend thread.

 Pfaff stitch 119 close, Pink blend thread.

Pfaff stitch 048; Gutermann thread color 780.

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