Monday, February 20, 2017

Goldwork WIP - attaching gold kid leather

I worked a lot last week, but sadly not on my embroidery. This morning the new goldwork piece looked exactly the same as it did a week ago. All felt and not the tiniest bit of sparkle in sight.

This week I am determined to make up for it and have set my mind to work on it every day. A Goldwork Week Challenge starting today with the centre motif.

DAY 1 - Attaching gold kid leather
The centre motif is going to be covered in gilded kid leather and outlined with a fine twisted cord. This really fine, gilded leather gives a really sparkly, smooth surface. I find it can be a little overpowering at times, but think it will work well for the centre bud.

1. The leather shape is cut ever so slightly larger than the actual shape to allow for the padding underneath. When I work with 2 or 3 layers of padding will usually cut the top padding piece inside the marked line and the leather outside the marked line - by doing that the difference in size are usually just enough to make the leather sit taut and smooth over the felt.

2. The thing to remember when working with leather is that you cannot tack it like you normally would to hold in place. If you do, the tacking stitches will leave permanent holes in the leather where you stitch through it. So to hold it accurately in place you need to place 'tacking' stitches all the way across the shape so you only stitch through the fabric on either side. I use mighty big herringbone stitches.

3. Use a matching sewing thread to stitch the leather in place. I start by placing a tiny stitch over the edge at top and bottom and midway along each side. For really small shapes, I sometime pull the tacking stitches out after that, but this one is slightly bigger so I decided to keep the tacking in until the edge was stitched down all the way around.
For each stitch, the needle comes to the front through the fabric on the marked line at the edge of the shape and goes to the back through the edge of the leather. These stitches are tiny and quite close together. I use a no. 12 sharp needle for this so that the holes in the leather are as small as can be.

4. Once the entire edge is stitches down, the tacking stitches can be taken out. 

The shape ended up with a slight dent along one side... sigh. After considering pulling if off and starting again, I decided that it could probably be 'fixed' with the cord outline. 

Fine twisted cord is laid along the edge of the shape and couched in place. For each stitch, I open the twist ever so slightly so that I can place the stitches into the twist and hide them completely. 

I got all the way around and was just about to sink the tails to the back when I discovered, I had managed the damage the metal almost at the start.
Most metal threads are made by wrapping a cotton (or silk) core with metal and if you accidentally break the metal it will unravel and cotton show. It may be a little hard to see, but the arrow points to the spot were the metal has come away.

Sigh ...
               ... deep breath ...
                                           .... unpick and start again!

Second time around and the twist sits nicely around the edge. The tails are taken to the back at the tip and stitched down on the wrong side.
The centre motif is finished...

Tomorrow I will start the flowers on each side.

Happy stitching Anna x


  1. I love how your prep work is as beautiful and perfect as your finished product. Truly inspirational.

  2. Oh to have your patience Anna! Long time no see x