A work in progress - but how will you finish it?

You’ve doodled your fish or whatever, you’ve quilted the doodle and perhaps created a border design. Now you need to finish it off prior to making mat, wall-hanging, picture, cushion or bag. Of course you could just apply a conventional binding strip or facing. However many pieces just evolve and don’t necessarily end up with straight edges.

For this doodle you might use a facing.

But the easiest solution, I think, is to finish it off using rows of machine stitching. And to this you can add extra threads or cords…

Not all pieces will have a straight edge, so finish is important
A choice of threads you could use to finish your piece

I have a lot of embroidery threads. Stranded cotton, wool, coton á broder etc which are very useful for small pieces. Rat tail cord, knitting wools and cottons and russian braid work really well with larger pieces. There are lots of novelty cords which have somehow ended up in my stash. This is great opportunity to make use of these little treasures.

And here’s what you can do with them…

If you have a definite edge, trim close to it. If in doubt you can always sew a couple of rows of straight stitching to define the edge and then trim. Using a suitable colour thread both on top and in the bobbin, zig-zag stitch over the edge. Start sewing a little way away from one of the corners.

Don’t make this first row too tight, but do go all the way round. Take care at the corners so that you don’t mash them up to much. I usually sew nearly to the corner then do a few stitches going backward. With the needle down and centred on the corner, lift your foot, swing round 90°, possibly do two stitches back and then sew forwards again.

And so on until you get to the end. If it seems to need it, repeat the stitching all the way round again. Using small scissors trim away any loose threads.

You can use a zig-zag stitch around the edge of your piece to finish it.
If adding a braid or thread, start again away from the corner and leave a short tail of your thread/braid. Experiment with the width and the density of the machine stitching. Use the end of a stitch unpicker or even your scissors to keep the braid close to the edge. widen your zig-zag so that it catches the braid as well as the edge of your masterpiece. If you can, you might experiment with where you centre your stitching. My machine gives me up to a 9mm zig-zag. I usually use about 6mm and set the needle 2mm to the left of centre.
Finished with a combination of a light buttonhole machine stitch and a zig-zag stitch
Trim the tail of your braid with an oblique cut close to where you started.finish the braid off with a similar oblique cut. Add additional rows of stitching if desired. Here I used my machine’s light button hole (flipped horizontally) followed by another row of zig-zag.