Puckering when Thread Sketching (and how to avoid it)

Puckering when thread sketching (and how to avoid it) Deborah Wirsu | free ebook | Join my free Resource Library | thread sketching online courses
The question that, without a doubt, tops the list of ‘most asked’ questions about my thread sketching, is

How do you keep your work looking so flat after all the stitching?

Although I’ve covered this topic before, I decided it was time to revisit my previous article – freshen it up a bit and bring you a new FREE eBOOK to takeaway! 

Please send my free PUCKERING WHEN THREAD SKETCHING eBook now!

I know that this is an area of great frustration for so many people, and I would really, (really!) love to help you resolve any issues you may be having. 

New thread sketching book in the ‘pipeline’

In recent weeks I’ve been busy working on a major new book – soon to be released as an eBook, hopefully followed by a print copy – on Creative Thread Sketching – a reference book of Tips, Techniques and Trouble Shooting. 

It’s not quite ready yet, but is not far off, so I want whet your appetite a little, with an edited extract of my chapters on Stabilising your work and avoiding that pesky Puckering

Stabilising and avoiding puckering is a big discussion topic …

Researching for my book led me to the realisation that stabilising and puckering is a vast field that is sometimes glossed over. 

To be honest, I couldn’t understand why – until I started writing on the topic!

I came to a number of realisations and conclusions:

  • Stabilising for thread sketching and thread painting is a huge topic and it is very difficult to address specifically all the different types of problems that people encounter. We all work differently, and therefore have different needs. 
  • There are dozens of different stabilising products available
  • There are dozens of different ways to use these products
  • There are dozens of different stitching techniques and thread sketching styles
  • New products are being released onto the market on a regular basis, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with them all.
  • In addition, there simply is no way that one stitcher needs to buy dozens of different products.

Puckering when thread sketching (and how to avoid it) Deborah Wirsu | free ebook | Join my free Resource Library | thread sketching online courses

Guidelines and Tips

Any online search on this topic brings up many results, so I am certainly not the first person to cover the subject. What I hope to bring to you are guidelines to help you work out what YOU need for your work. 

There is nothing worse than working on a beautiful thread sketch or thread painting, or some thread embellished appliqué, only to find that, as you stitch, the fabric draws up, puckers, bends, buckles or bubbles around the edges. It’s ugly, frustrating – and you don’t want it to happen!

Once this scenario has played out, there is often little that can be done, other than to discard the work and begin again. 

All the steaming, stretching and trimming in the world is not going to eliminate the unsightly curls and buckles around the edges of your work. 

You have a part to play, too!

Like anything worthwhile in life, we all need to work at thread sketching, thread painting and free motion stitching skills in order to become proficient. 

When I started out I had no idea what I was doing! Yes, I could sew from an early age, but that sewing had been mainly dressmaking and some more conventional craft work. Certainly not thread painting or free motion quilting. 

As someone who grew up with a sewing machine nearby, I was comfortable with machine stitching. Free motion stitching was a whole new field, and I certainly experienced the frustrations and disappointments that we all go through when we start out. 

Where I’m going with this idea is that you have a part to play, too. In order to improve, to find out what works for you, to become confident that you have beaten the puckering problem, you need to experiment and practice. 

Certainly, I, or any other teacher, can make suggestions, give you guidance, etc, but ultimately, you do still need to practice. 

Sorry if I’m sounding harsh! But the reality is that there is only so much that you can be shown before you need to have a go yourself. 

By making mistakes, we learn. 

I hope I can help you make a few less mistakes! 

My new 23 page Free eBook

Puckering when thread sketching (and how to avoid it) Deborah Wirsu | free ebook | Join my free Resource Library | thread sketching online courses

In my new 23 page eBook, that is yours to download free, I cover the basics of:

  • What you need to consider
  • Factors to take into account
  • Decisions you need to make
  • Things to try – as you journey through mastering the art of ‘no puckers’. 

This ebook is a condensed and edited extract from the larger book, currently being written, so although it is quite a substantial eBook, it does not cover everything. 

Please send my free PUCKERING WHEN THREAD SKETCHING eBook now!

This ebook has 12 mini-chapters:

#1 – Consider your purpose

What are you creating? This section discusses the different uses that thread sketching can be put to, and how this will affect your choice of materials and stabilisers. 

#2 – Fabric selection

A brief look at Thread Count in fabrics, and using different types of fabric.

#3 – To ‘Hoop’ or not to ‘Hoop’

Many of you know that I don’t use an embroidery hoop very often, but there are certainly times when it is the best option.

#4 – Stabilising

General guidelines to get you started.

#5 – Types of Stabilisers

An overview of the many types of stabiliser.

#6 – Select a Stabiliser to Suit your Project

Pairing up your choice of stabiliser with the purpose of your work. 

#7 – Thread Weight, Machine Needles and Tension

Guidelines on selecting the most appropriate thread and machine needles, and a discussion about tension. 

#8 – Thread Sketching a Prepared Quilt ‘Sandwich’

Ideas about how to thread sketch through several layers, including batting. 

#9 – Thread Sketching Before Making up the Quilt ‘Sandwich’

Suggestions for thread sketching before making up a quilt 

#10 – Not Using Batting?

Are you making an art work? Consider not using any batting at all. 

#11 – Work Evenly Across your Piece

This is very, very important! Read this section!

#12 – But what if I still get ‘Pull-up”?

What to do if the worst still happens (which it does to all of us, at times). 

Conclusion

Even though this free eBook is only an extract of a larger work, there are so many options for you to consider when it comes to setting up your work to avoid puckering, so this is a good place to start. 

Every piece of work you do is likely to require a slightly different approach and by exploring your options and experimenting, you will develop your own preferred methods for different types of work. 

As a general rule, if you are having problems, I suggest you err on the side of using a heavier stabiliser, and remember to stitch evenly across the entire surface of your piece, as much as you can. 

To get your own copy of this fresh new eBook – Puckering When Thread Sketching (and how to avoid it) – click the button below! 

Please send my free PUCKERING WHEN THREAD SKETCHING eBook now!

 (and keep a look out for my Creative Thread Sketching book very soon…)

Thanks for visiting! 

Thread Sketching in Action No 84 – Check the Tech

Thread Sketching in Action No 84 | Check the Tech | Deborah Wirsu | thread sketching contemporary figures | thread painting | online textile courses | Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy

Thread Sketching in Action continues this week with No 84 – Check the Tech, which is a short demonstration of the stitching process for this contemporary design featuring human figures.

The fact that this video (or any demonstration at all) nearly didn’t get off the ground this week, contributed to my reason for taking a sideways shift with the topic, as human figures are not something I’ve featured often in this series.

But a few enquiries from people led me to creating this piece today.

No 84 – Check the Tech

Thread sketching Vs Thread Painting

Due to the time constraints I faced, I decided to create a thread sketch. A smallish thread sketch like this one (which is about 7″ x 10″) is fairly quick to produce, once you’ve come up with a design. Drawing out the design on paper first, then on the fabric, probably took me almost as long as the stitching.

Thread Sketching in Action No 84 | Check the Tech | Deborah Wirsu | thread sketching contemporary figures | thread painting | online textile courses | Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy

Rather than take a formal approach with the figures, I utilised some of the same techniques that I use when stitching whimsical freestyle flowers. However, when stitching whimsical flowers, I generally don’t sketch out the design on the fabric first.

This relaxed, whimsical style is great for creating that ‘sketchy’ look that works so well!

Whimsical freestyle machine embroidered flowers | Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy | online textile art courses |

Thread painting can be a much lengthier process. Even a small thread painting can take a number of hours to complete, as, when thread painting, the entire surface of the fabric is generally filled with stitch, changing thread colours frequently, to build up the picture.

If I had elected to thread paint this picture, the figures would be filled with stitch, creating the appearance more of contemporary free machine embroidery. The background could be worked either as it has been here, or, once again, completely filled with stitch. Either method would work effectively.

Thread choice

Although the thread colour appears black in these pictures, it’s actually a dark bottle green. Many of you are aware that I try to avoid using more than small touches of pure black, as it can make a picture look very stark.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this – when black is perfect! Each creation has to be judged for what it is, and what you are trying to achieve.

Any other very dark colour, instead of the green, would have been just as effective – deep reds, browns, blues, etc.

Colour Vs Monotone or Limited palette

Thread Sketching in Action No 84 | Check the Tech | Deborah Wirsu | thread sketching contemporary figures | thread painting | online textile courses | Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy

All the time I was stitching this picture, I was undecided about adding extra colour when the stitching was complete.

Once finished, I did decide to add some colour – more out of curiosity than anything else, as I liked the picture the way it was, with the limited (almost monotone) colour.

The jury is still out for me as to which I prefer, but I’m erring towards the non-coloured version. I guess they both have their positives!

Thread Sketching in Action No 84 | Check the Tech | Deborah Wirsu | thread sketching contemporary figures | thread painting | online textile courses | Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy

Whimsical Freestyle Stitched Flowers

Whimsical freestyle machine embroidered flowers | Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy | online textile art courses |

To learn more about how I approach freestyle machine stitching Whimsical Flowers, you may be interested in my online course Freestyle Machine Thread Sketching: the Easy, Whimsical Way.

I’d love you to join in the class! With all my online classes you get lifetime access, 24/7, plus access to me should you need assistance with any aspect of the course.

Thanks for visiting! 

Free Resource Library – Tips, Techniques, eBooks and more!

Free Resource Library | Textile art tips techniques ebooks and more | Deborah Wirsu Textile Artist | Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy | Sign up here

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Thread painting | Inspired by Turner | Thread sketching in action No 82 | Deborah Wirsu Textile Artist | online thread sketching classes | online thread painting course

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Thread Sketching in Action No 81 – On Grid

Thread Sketching in Action No 81 | On Grid | Deborah Wirsu Textile Artist | online thread sketching classes | thread sketched power lines

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Fabric dyeing

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It was never my intention yesterday to do any fabric dyeing, but somehow I just got drawn to the idea. When there's a need - find a solution! I needed some fabric in specific shades of red and blue/green, so decided to quickly do a small batch - … [Continue reading]

Thread Sketching in Action No 80 – Lairy Harey

Thread Sketching with Mixed Media | Thread Sketching in Action No 80 | Lairy Harey | Deborah Wirsu Textile Artist | online thread sketching classes

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ZigZag Zazzle! – New Online Course

ZigZag Zazzle online course | http://learn.deborahwirsu.com | Creative Techniques for Regular and Free Motion ZigZag in Textile Art and Quilting

I'm excited to announce that ZigZag Zazzle! Creative Ways to Use ZigZag Stitch in Textile Art and Quilting is NOW AVAILABLE!  Using ZigZag stitch in Thread Painting, Textile Art and Quilting is a wonderful way to create unique and fabulously … [Continue reading]