How to Block your Embroidery
Please note that I have used this method for pure fibres like linen and cotton. I don’t have experience with synthetic/silk fabrics, so perhaps do a test sample first.
Blocking your completed stitching will remove all those marks and creases caused by the hoop and dust whilst stitching. I am going to show you how to do this step by step. I have chosen a small piece of of embroidery stitched on cotton fabric, with quite bad puckering and a hoop mark as an example so you can see the results.
One of the reasons that this piece has puckers is because there are little gaps between elements of the stitching – these tend to cause the worst areas of puckering. You can see in this close up here.
You will Need
A cork board/polystyrene board and Map pins
Wash the piece of embroidery in a mild soap powder in tepid/warm water. I like to leave it to soak for a while and then get a soft toothbrush and scrub the areas where dirt/dust has marked the fabric. Rinse thoroughly and wrap in a fluffy towel to remove excess moisture.
If you have used silk/rayon thread in your embroidery it is not recommended that you wash it as the colours may run. Some good quality silks can be washed, be sure to read the manufacturers instructions to ensure they are colorfast. If you are at all unsure about the threads you have used (sometimes the very dark reds can run in the DMC/Anchor range) then rather use this method:
Lightly spray the fabric around the embroidery (not on the embroidery itself) and block as outlined.
Try to line up your embroidery fabric with the straight edge of your cork board. Put a pin in the corner – stretch across the length and place another pin in the opposite corner. Repeat this for each corner.
Place pins along one side as shown. Whilst stretching the fabric across place pins on the opposite side. Repeat for all sides.
Adjust any areas that are not completely stretched. The piece should look like this in the photo.
Allow to dry. You can hurry this up by placing in the sun for about an hour or using a hairdryer. Remove the pins and give a light press on the back of the work if necessary. The result is a pucker/wrinkle free piece of embroidery. The stitches tend to settle nicely into place and it is now ready to mount for framing or to make up into an item of your choice. It really works – MAGIC!
Before and After.