I find myself weathering the pandemic in the middle of Chile. Never in my life would I have thought that I'd be here, but the world has changed so much that it's impossible to know where we will be in a few years from now. One thing for sure is that we need to stop and consider our priorities. For some it will become an even faster and more technologically advanced world, for others, it will mean going back to the small town close to the land, and for others, some sort of combination of the two. I guess we as a family have chosen the third one, and in doing so we've seen that the learning curve is indeed steep and we find ourselves working from the very early hours to the small hours of the night with some relaxed times in between.
Embroidery is my relaxing time, a way to slow down and recharge. I love listening to one of my favorite books: A World Made By Hand by James Howard Kunstler. I encourage you to read it or listen to it. In the scenario painted by the author, you and I will be the tailors a very important job when trade and commerce all but disappear.
There is no chili in Chile by the way. I found that the spiciest thing here is a thing called Merken used in red meat before putting it in the barbecue. The food in Chile is in fact mild-tasting almost as the Castille region in Spain.
Where in the world is Chile?
Chile is located at the very end of South America flanked by the Andes mountains chain and Argentina to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Peru, and Bolivia to the north.
Despite being such a long country it feels like an island almost because is separated by the majestic Andes Mountains from the rest of the South American Continent.
Many people know Chile as a mining powerhouse, being the world's largest producer of important metals like copper and lithium –but what most people don't know is that Chile produces around 30% of all the fresh fruits, vegetables, and salmon sold in the world export markets today.
So yes, being a farmer is quite a popular lifestyle. You can say I am a farmer's wife and mother.
This year, I will go on the tractor I promise and of course, will be sharing my outfit, but for now, I am either a spectator or part of the cleaning and cooking crew and in between jobs I embroider or sew by hand so I thought I share with you an easy fabric border to use later.
Instructions For An Easy Handmade Fabric Border
An easy handmade fabric border is done by mixing a group of embroidery stitches to create a long-running pattern. One stitch will serve as a base for the others, one that will guide the eye upwards and one that will crown the design. The possibilities are endless and encourage you to find a design that appeals to you. Mine comes from a combination of a table cloth on an Indian painting that is more than 200 years and a weed. I am not sure the name of the weed, perhaps someone who knows can post in the comments, but it is everywhere, and it grows a very large spiky flower.
Materials I used to make this border
I'm embroidering on a Southern Classic Linen Blend I got from Fabric.com, but any fabric that contrasts with your thread will do.
Step One: Mark The Fabric
Start by drawing a line 5/8″ from the edge of your fabric.
Draw another line on top at 3/8″ then draw two lines more also at 3/8″.
Step Two: The Upside Down Double Blanket Stitch
This is one of the seventeen variations of the blanket stitch. I'm using it upside down so it resembles a stem.
Using four-thread from in your needle, knot the end and stitch your needle on the second line from the back at 5/8″ from the edge if you are going to use your fabric for a skirt, blouse, or dress.
Pull the thread out and stick the needle on the line below taking the needle out next to where you started the stitch.
Pull the thread to the right and stick the needle on the first line at 3/8″ from the first blanket stitch. Repeat the step to make another stitch next to the first one.
take the needle out on the second line make sure the thread is under the needle.
Repeat the stitch making a double blanket stitch every 3/8″.
Once you have done the whole fabric edge, you can pull the edge thread to make a fringe or wait till later when you have a plan what to do with your fabric border.
Step Three: Detach chain stitch
This is a common stitch used to make daisies and stitches to fill a space.
Draw five lines to create a bush, each line will make a branch using the detached chain stitch.
Starting at the centre follow the numbers above. Insert your needle from the back of the fabric, taking it out in the middle of the double blanket stitch, move the thread to the left.
Keep the needle straight and take the needle out and pull the thread keeping the thread under the needle.
Insert the needle once again on the tip of the detached chain to make a tip about 1/8″ in length.
I have made the bush first because I find working like this is faster, at least for me. I do like hand stitching but there are times when you need to make things more productive.
Step Four: Combining The Fern Stitch and The Straight Stitch
The fern stitch is a lovely stitch that makes a plant rather easily and speedily. We will be using it in the flat one dimensional way and the straight stitch is to make the fern taller.
Start with one fern stitch about 3/16″ tall then one straight stitch, one fern stitch, one straight stitch and finally one last fern stitch.
Stab the needle from the back of the fabric about 3/16″ from the second line.
Stick the needle in the centre of the double blanket and pull it out to the left of the first stitch. Pull the thread and stab the needle back in between the double blanket stitch pull the needle to the right of the beginning of the fern stitch.
Bring the needle to the centre once again pulling it out at the top of the fern stitch.
Make a straight stitch about 1/8″ in length.
Make another fern stitch and add another straight stitch.
Make another straight stitch,
and one final fern stitch.
Repeat this pattern until you have filled the whole border of your fabric.
Disclaimer: I have shared above the stitches to make an easy handmade fabric border, however, because I was making this border not intended for a blog post, I made something slightly different to my fabric. I embroidered all the bushes then all the ferns. I found this way I was going faster. I guess this is called muscle memory.
You will have noticed too that in my final project the ferns have only two stitches rather than three because I found that the bushes were to close together to have one in between.
Either way, you choose. The important thing is that you are happy making this border and that you enjoy slow sewing like I do.
Before you ask what I'm going to be doing with this border, we're going to be making a lovely linen dress or table cloth. Vote in the comments sections below, table cloth or linen dress to be used with this border.
I hope you find this tutorial useful and that it helps you get inspired to do some slow stitching for a change.