2012 was the year of little ones being born in my entourage; hence a year of babies gift- making. After Nino born in the spring, Conor and Michelle came in turn to bless their respective parents’ lives in the Fall 2012.
In my search for babies clothing and accessories for these two little ones (and my oh my, there are so many pretty things out there!!), I found a cute, soft fleece blanket in an off-white colour lined with a cotton material on which were printed some cartoon-like characters. The main protagonist, a little bear with the most adorable face, could be found on many articles of clothing such as hats, scarves, all-in-one and bodysuit.
Completely under the charm of the cutie bear and with the blanket already in my basket, an idea hit me. Conor’s gift came to life: I could see it with my mind’s eye… I was left to make it … Hence along with the blanket, I picked up a 6 to 9 month-old pack of bodysuit. I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that one never has enough of blankets and bodysuit with our little cherubs!
Soon after my purchase I started gathering my threads and needles to prep my work and picked up my notebook where I keep all my designs and faux-pas of everything I make. For making Conor’s gift I gathered together:
The blanket and one of the bodysuit of the pack
DMC threads complementing the colouring of the items above (DMC #839, 841 & 597)
DMC Water Soluble Canvas
Although I am very practical, I am more often than not driven by another agenda in parallel to my need for practicality. In this case, I wished to make for Conor a gift that would be his very own by embroidering his name and birth date; and by then patching his precious details onto the soft and warm blanket.
About the STITCHING:
The design of Conor’s lettering was pretty straightforward since I used the alphabet Lilipoint ref PC005, which I previously used for Nino’s gift. For the birthdate details though I did not find any suitable models. Everything I found somehow was in back-stitch and I wished to cross-stitch the numbers. To me, the date of Conor’s birth seem to be as important as his name. I ended up designing my own.
I paid great care to the size of my design for a couple of reasons. On one hand, it was important to maintain a sense of proportion between the different elements that would constitute my patch as well as the overall size of the patch once sewn onto the blanket. On the other, my counting and re-counting of my design was also driven by the wish not to waste my material, especially my DMC water-soluble canvas which is costly enough.
My second step was to cut a piece of one of the bodysuit and secure the Water-soluble canvas on the jersey fabric centering it to complement the little bear. There was no technical challenges in the cross-stitching. The nice stitching touch came later on once the patch was securely attached to the blanket with a blind hem. I chose then to have a herringbone stitch to soften the edges of all my fabric and enhance the design (see picture below).
Once my cross-stitching completed, it was time to remove the water-soluble canvas by soaking my material in lukewarm water. It dissolved itself quite well. I can only recommend not to be shy with giving a bit of time for the water-soluble to disintegrate; otherwise you may have some left over of a gooey texture that will stiffen your fabric and spoil your work. Once my work had dried, I was left to press it and to move it forward to the next stage, which was to shape my patch and sewing it.
While stitching my main concern was the colour distribution with 2 neural tones (beige & brown) and an accent colour (blue). In order to have Conor’s name standing out I used DMC 839 for C-N-R to make a bold statement. However, in order to soften the effect and to guarantee that the writing would not be too austere I introduced DMC 841 for the O & R with a hint of 597 blue to brighten it all up! I used and trusted my eyes all along to figure it all out. A plain soft and warm brown remnant dating from a prior project complimented my patch and gave the opportunity for my patch to stand out against the backdrop of the off-white blanket.
About the SEWING:
Originally I had wished for my patch to have a more organic shape than a clean-cut rectangular -or square- shape. Undeniably though such shapes are more awkward to sew on. I did not feel confident enough to trying it and time was pressing. Instead, I settled for a nice compromise where I kept the overall rectangular shape but truncated each corner to soften the effect. It’s an old and odd habit of mine and I do the same in my home!!! I dislike corners and angles; therefore my plants, mirrors or furniture are always thrown in front of them to block them from my sight!
I tacked my jersey onto my cotton and secured it with my first herringbone stitch serving two purposes at once by being highly decorative as well. I repeated then the same operation by fastening the whole patch onto the fleece with a blind hem at once, which was followed some more herringbone stitches.
Happy with the design and the overall patch, I eventually gave it to Conor. I hope that he has a good use of it!!