As I looked at the sample stitching, and considered the decided upon sleeveless top pattern, ribbons popped into my mind. It would be easy (if boring) to use the fabric with the built in decorative stitches of my HV Ruby to simulate ribbons. I cut my fabric into 2 large pieces 36″wide and 30″ long; dropped it in my bucket and poured liquid starch on top. I sloshed the fabric in the starch and added another cup of starch. Finally the fabric was thoroughly saturated with starch and I hung it up to dry while I began to test ribbons.
I narrowed my color choices to 4 and chose a dozen stitches to test as borders and ribbon centers. I tried light colors for center and dark colors for borders and then reversed. I did fetch a lovely pink to sample, but once again put it away. I also tried and discarded another light blue. I was amazed at how the thread which was a bright, vivid orange in the thread box, glowed softly as gold upon the minty fabric. A darker rust-brown, visibly color-shifted when placed upon this green-aqua fabric. Complimentary colors really do sing together.
After the above sample I limited my colors and stitches to 3 colors and 5 stitches, did a few more tests and then chose my final 2 colors and 2 stitches.
This process took place over 2 days and when finished my starched fabric was dried. Dried and stiff as corrugated board. Even my Rowenta had problems removing the creases. I pressed each side twice and then dampened the fabric and pressed each side another 4 times. I marked a horizontal line across the top and bottom of each piece so that I would start the stitches in exactly the same place each time. Then I began the long process of stitching each row.
I know from experience that this much stitching will distort the fabric. My solution is not to stitch row after row one right after the other. What I do is to alternate which end I’m stitching from and I start stitching on the center rows and work outwards. With this fabric, I’m stitching only on the darker appearing stripe. So I’m stitching every other stripe. I’m also skipping stripes, so I’m stitching every 4-th stripe. I will come back and stitch those later. This does 2 things for me. It helps minimize the distortion this much stitching will have upon the fabric. It also gives me a chance to recover if I’ve over-estimated how much thread I have. If I think I’ve got more thread than I really do, I will run out of thread and could be faced with either ripping out a bunch of threads or more likely discarding the project. But I know that by leaving all these blank stripes now, I could choose a 3rd color to use. A 3rd color stitched throughout the fabric would look like it belonged there instead of being a last-minute fix.
And so the stiching progresses…..