The People Choose

Fancy Finishes! Every month Jo hosts us over at Serendipitous Stitching for a themed blog hop. And Fancy Finishes, the theme for December, is right up my alley!

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know I do like to try my hand at some fancy finishing. Especially this year I challenged myself to do some more complicated things. For me, I agree with Jo, the blog hop hostess, that a fancy finish is anything more than a frame or pillow.

An easy fancy finish are these pin wheels from Threadwork Primitives. They are made by gathering and lacing the stitching around a round cardboard and then sandwiching some batting between the layers. The seams are joined with ladder stitch and covered by some twill tape which is embellished with pins. I think they are so pretty!

Now it’s a bit like a pillow but more fussy to assemble and that is the biscornu. I’ve made several of these by different designers but the one by Faby Reilly is definitely the fanciest with its beaded edge and rhinestone center button.

I love how biscornus come out. It surprises me how the geometry of them works so perfectly and they look complicated but aren’t really. It is a great fancy finish to try if you have a square design with an obvious center.

Now for something like a framed piece but fancier you can do a flat fold. In fact I think my first more complicated finish was this flatfold I made for a friend of mine.

I ladder stitched the two sides of each part together. It came out so perfect and beautiful. I was really surprised with how the ladder stitch worked to make a flawless edge.

Another earlier fancy finish was an unusually shaped ornament-this octagon using the Prairie Schooler Partridge pattern.

I folded the fabric in on the larger backing and then put my laced stitching on the front. I was really proud of it being the first thing like this I made. I used a similar technique on this JBW Designs needlebook:

That reminds me of another round thing…this pinball from With Thy Needle and Thread. It was not hard to do but did require some work. The two hemispheres front and back and made separately trying to stiff them each very full. Then they were stitched together with the seam covered by twill tape. This was a very satisfying thing to see finished because it just looks so nice with a good size and weight.

Some other round things that are cylinders, not spheres, are these pin drums.

Hey. If you want to learn how to make a good pin drum, you just need to follow Vonna Pfeiffer’s tutorial. Her instructions will ensure success. I love the look and display of a pindrum and am glad to have had her instructions to have them come out pretty well.

The opposite of round finishes are these flat finishes, an envelope and a purse. First is the Satin and Silk Reticule from Betsy Morgan. I did this one in 2020. Using banding made the finish not too hard but it was time consuming to get the lining in perfectly and make the point and everything line up. I am very happy with it. No, I have not put a closure on it yet.

And you’ll recognize form this year also the Italian Peacocks Purse from Giulia Punti Antichi. You can read all about the finishing of it here.

It was not the only fancy finish of the year! There was also the Amy Mitten Butterfly from her Casket Keepsakes collection. If ever there was a complex and fancy finish this was it!

I love this project so much and am so glad I had the opportunity to make it.

What I’ve found though for these and all my projects, is that finishing success comes down to good instructions…and mastery of the not-so-hard ladder stitch I mentioned for my flat fold. It is such a perfect stitch to achieve an invisible seam. I believe it is used on almost every one of these fancy finishes. And where you don’t use the ladder stitch, it seems like whip stitching/lacing through a backstitch is the key to success, as in the butterfly where that is the technique for joining the front and back of each wing (and also on a lot of Just Nan and other constructed projects). And the other key is, patience! I don’t really love finishing but I DO love the satisfaction of a job well done after spending some time on the finishing. To hold the little object I’ve made with my own hands is just so gratifying and often a week or month or year later I can hardly believe it was ME that made it. It gives a good deal of self esteem and confidence to know you could learn how to do something and then you actually try it and succeed at it! So, my friends, if you have the dexterity and the time, do not be afraid of your finishing! I admit I usually am at first, but following some good instructions, and being patient, and having good light and plenty of time, I’ve found I can do things I did not imagine I would be able to do.

5 thoughts on “The People Choose

  1. Such beautiful finishes Mary, I especially like the butterfly. If you read this before you get my email, it’s on it’s way, but I didn’t want to rush a reply to you.

  2. What beautiful finishes, all so neat. I love the butterfly and your pin drum. Wishing you a Happy New Year

  3. When I read that it was Fancy Finishes for ‘The People Choose…’, your name sprung straight to mind Mary. Your selection here did not disappoint. They are all beautiful.
    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  4. Such a selection of lovely ‘fancy’ finishes. I agree patience is the key, along with getting the fabric straight and the design centred. These things can’t be rushed. 🙂

  5. Thanks for taking part in The People’s Choice this month. You have some amazing fancy finishes! The butterfly has to be the creme de la creme though, it’s an incredible piece of art. I usually whip stitch my things together. I should try the ladder stitch for a change. And a biscornu, I need to make one of those too!

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