Paralysis sets inI was so incredibly nervous about even starting the project. This was really one of those times when it absolutely must be right the first time, as once that material was cut, there was no going back. So I spent a LOT of time fretting and planning and thinking, until finally I just had to make a decision and do it because the event was coming up. So last week I took a deep breath and started to take the train apart.
First I removed all the lace from the hem, then looked at the placement of the lace appliques on the main section and based the size of the blanket to incorporate them. Then I cut into the train for the basic blanket shape.
EmbroideryThe baby's name, birthdate and baptism date would be embroidered onto the blanket. This was another nerve-wracking moment, since it had to be right. I confirmed the name and dates with the grandmother (couldn't ask mom, since the blanket was to be a surprise), and digitized everything with Embird. Then I carefully hooped the fabric and watched over my machine like a hawk to make sure nothing went wrong. Fortunately, my machine agreed to behave!
FinishingI had initially planned on using a pale blue blanket binding, but realized that wouldn't work with the rounded corners I had cut. So instead, I used the remaining pieces of the train to cut out strips and turn them into a ruffled edge. I cut the strips 5" wide, to give me a 2" finished ruffle. However, wouldn't you know it, I couldn't for the life of me get it to feed properly through my ruffling foot. Arrgh! Rather than spend a lot of time arguing with getting that foot to work, I figured it was time to learn how to ruffle by hand. And you know what? It was actually a LOT easier than I thought it would be. I got into a rhythm of folding and stitching, and the end result was surprisingly even.
The backing is a very soft Minky-type fleece, which meant it had stretch. To prevent it from getting baggy, I fused a knit interfacing to the back, which made it very stable and didn't affect the softness at all. I stitched the ruffle to the front, sewed the sides right-sides-together, turned it, then edgestitched to keep the ruffles nice and flat. The embroidered label was stitched on by hand.
Here's a close-up of the label.
(I've blurred out some of the embroidered stuff for privacy reasons)
Disaster StrikesI gave the blanket to the parents Friday evening, and they loved it. But about half an hour later I got a text from the mom... "I hate to say this, but the middle name is wrong." Oh no!!! Somewhere the wires got crossed in the communications with her mother. She asked if there was any way I could fix it, and I said I would do my best.
The RepairThank goodness for Peggy's Stitch Eraser! I've only had to use it a few times, but it's been a lifesaver. I unpicked the bottom edge of the blanket so I could get at the back of the embroidery, and started carefully shaving the bobbin threads. Working front and back, with tweezers and a very sharp surgical blade, I got the middle name stitching removed in a little more than half an hour. I then brushed and steamed the fabric to smooth it and even out the needle holes so they wouldn't be too noticeable.
Restitching the NameI corrected the name on the embroidery file, and very, very carefully rehooped the name area (being very careful to keep the rest of the bulk of the blanket out of the way of the hoop!) and fine-tuned the needle position, then took another deep breath and hit "start".
And it worked out just fine! Once the embroidery was done, it only took a few minutes to re-sew the edge of the blanket, turn it, and topstitch the area I had taken out.
I was amazed that there is hardly any indication that an error was made at all; you can barely see the original stitching and I'm sure that will even itself out when the blanket is cleaned for the first time.
Here's the finished, corrected blanket!