Backing redwork

by Julie
(Perth, Western Australia)

Many years ago I did a little bit of redwork but have since lost the instructions.

I would like to know if it is necessary to do the embroidery with backing attached,such as pellon (iron on or stitched to main fabric piece)?

Maybe I can just stitch the pattern on the main fabric and just back it with a contrasting patterned fabric in order to keep costs down.

This is for my child's school, where I am a part of their fund-raising committee. I co-ordinate the Mother's Day, Father's Day and Christmas stalls where I, and a few other mums, get together and make items for the children to buy. We do most of the work ourselves and it is usually up to me to come up with the ideas.

After 6 years my time is nearly up (the Christmas stall will be my last, as my child is in his last year)and I am looking for some new ideas.

Sadly, what we think we would like doesn't usually attract the attention of the children. We have come to the opinion that they think BIG is always better value for money!

However, I'm sure that we can come up with some lovely pieces of redwork with catchy Santa caricatures or trendy angels to grab their attention.

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Backing for an embroidered lavender bag

by Kirsty
(Paris, France)

I'm quite an amateur at this kind of thing, but was going to hand embroider my grandmother's name on a piece of cottton, (then sew and stuff that to make a lavender bag).

My question is, do I need some sort of backing for the cotton I am going to embroider on? It is not particularly thin cotton, but I am concerned it might pucker or ruche if I embroider her name directly on to it. I was going to use chain stitch. Any advice gratefully received!

Carol responds...
Embroidery does not normally need a backing fabric unless you are stitching on something stretchy such as t-shirt fabric, Kirsty. In that situation an iron on stiffener can be used while you are stitching and then trimmed around the design afterwards.

If you are wanting to make your work into a lavender bag then you would not want to use a very open weave fabric or else the lavender could escape! However, you wouldn't want to use something too thick either, or you wouldn't be able to smell the lavender through it.

I recently wrote a page about embroidering names which may be of help to you. You will find it here...

Embroidering a name

To prevent the fabric from puckering I would normally suggest using an embroidery hoop to keep the fabric taut. However, if you are doing chain stitch this would mean you have to work using a "stab stitch" technique rather than pushing the needle in and out of the fabric in one movement, as the hoop would make the latter more difficult.

Another stitch you could use, that gives a similar appearance to chain stitch, is split stitch. For this you would find a hoop very helpful. This stitch is also demonstrated on the embroidering names page I linked to above.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.



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