85F3CE96-2B73-4819-B350-FD64F4FBC6D4 .Quiltscapes.: Hand-Stitchery: Edge Finishes

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hand-Stitchery: Edge Finishes

Blanket & Buttonhole Stitches!
Edge Finishes
Snips & Snails by Doodlebug Designs, Inc. for Riley Blake Designs

Welcome to this month's Cutting Corners tutorial, sponsored by Riley Blake Designa!

Today's vintage stitchery lesson is one of the very most practical, basic stitches:  the Blanket Stitch.   It makes a great finish on applique' or the edge of a blanket (hence the name).  We'll try this simple stitch plus a couple of variations, then try her cousin, the Buttonhole Stitch.

Supplies:  
Flannel - (1 yard for single layer receiving blanket or 2 yards for double)
Needle - (long, medium/large eye, sharp point)
Yarn or crochet thread - (coordinating color)
 
Course Instructions:
Prepare fabric  by pre-washing if desired.  Press, then cut a 36" square for a receiving blanket size.  Serge or Zig-Zag edges.  If using a single layer, press edges under 1/4 to 3/8".  If you are doubling the layers, serge or zig-zag edges together and continue as follows:
Cut a length of yarn (about 30") and thread your needle.  You may want to fold over the edge of the yarn, squeeze between your thumb and finger, then push the eye of the needle over the pinched yarn to bring it through.  Tie a single knot at the bottom and trim close to the knot.

BLANKET STITCH
Step 1)  Begin by bringing thread out at the edge (A).
Blanket Stitch

Step 2)  Insert needle into fabric about 1/4" from the edge,  about 1/4" away from the first stitch (B).  Needle will be pointed toward outside edge.

Step 3)  Loop the yarn under the needle at the edge of the blanket.
Blanket Stitch

Step 4)  Pull the needle through the loop of yarn.    Blanket Stitch
Pull and adjust so both the stitch and the yarn at the edge are snug. 
Blanket Stitch

Repeat steps and continue stitches, working left to right (top to bottom) if you're right-handed.  
Blanket Stitch

To turn a corner, take 3 stitches into the same spot as pictured.  
Blanket Stitch

To tie a knot, take the yarn down into the fold just after a stitch.  Tie a knot and clip thread.  Re-thread the needle, then insert so the needle comes out just in front of the previous stitch.  
Blanket Stitch

Continue stitches around your blanket.  When you get to the first stitch, complete the stitch, then tie off the thread, hiding the knot in the fold.  
Blanket Stitch

Variation #1:  Differing lengths
Blanket Stitch
Variation #2:  Closed (V) stitches
Blanket Stitch 
Both of these versions take a bit of fiddling and adjusting, but can make a nice look overall.

BUTTONHOLE STITCH
This stitch is traditionally used by tailors to finish the raw edges of a buttonhole. Often confused with the Blanket Stitch, the buttonhole stitch has an added extra knot at the edge.  Stitches would be worked as close as possible to cover the buttonhole edge.  If we stretch it out, it looks a lot like the blanket stitch; a bit more secure, less likely to be snagged by a little toe...
Step 1)  Begin as before - bring yarn out at the edge (A).
Step 2)   Insert needle into fabric from the underside, about 1/4" from the edge,  about 1/4" away from the first stitch (B).  Needle will be pointed toward quilt center.
Buttonhole

Step 3)  Create a loop of yarn underneath the needle at the outside edge and bring the yarn under the needle where the tip comes up (C).
Buttonhole

Step 4)  Pull needle through the front of the blanket.  
Buttonhole

As you pull to bring the yarn snug, a second loop (knot) will form at the outer edge.
Buttonhole

Continue around the blanket in this manner working left to right.  
Buttonhole

Buttonhole Stitch

When you get close to the first stitch, complete the stitch, then tie off the thread, hiding the knot in the fold.
 Blanket Stitch
By the way, check this little tutorial How to roll a (tangle-free) ball of yarn.

More ideas...
Use extra scraps to make a burp cloth.  Cut 2 rectangles, about 8 to 10" x 16".  Trim in an hourglass shape, or leave as a rectangle.  Layer wrong sides together and stitch the edges together (serge or zig-zag).   Trim with blanket or buttonhole stitches.  

For those who love to crochet and don't have access to a Hem-Stitcher, stitching a blanket or buttonhole stitch along the edges is a perfect way to prepare your blanket or burp cloth for additional crocheted finishes.

Use the Blanket Stitch with floss to hand-stitch applique' for a fun primitive look. (I've tried it from time to time, but I have to admit, the blanket stitch is my go-to for applique'- by machine, that is!)  Check it out in a previous tutorial:  I ♥ Applique'.

Hope you enjoy this technique!  Let me know if you try this, or if you have any questions.  See more of my stitchery and other sewing/quilting basics tutorials right HERE.


Happy Stitching!

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