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Monday, 21 May 2012

Fringe Benefits

The green silk antependium was dedicated yesterday, marking a period of "Ordinary Time" in the liturgical season.
It is a joyful tree of life with heart-shaped leaves arranged in a double circle around uplifted branches. The appliques are made of various weaves of silk including dupioni, hatabai and noile, on a dupioni silk background. A gold fringe complements the scalloped bottom edge. I had shownbits and pieces during the construction process .

I decided to shape the bottom in a gentle scalloped wave which dips below the quilted alpha/omega symbol. The piece is backed with the same green dupioni silk which was placed right sides together and turned through the top edge. This edge is then overcast and a casing is stitched for the hanging rod. This allows a clean, finished seam on the bottom (no binding).
On this scalloped edge, I will add a gold fringe.
When you purchase fringe, it comes with a line of chain stitching across the bottom which pulls out really easily. Many, many, (many!) years when I purchased fringe for the first time I recall being puzzled by this stitching and told the clerk no, I wanted the fringe that moved freely not one that was sewn together. She laughed and told me that the fringe comes stitched on the bottom so it stays untangled on the bolt but you take that stitching off at home. I took her at her word and immediately removed the chain stitches when I got home. Bad move. That chain stitching makes it so much easier to apply the fringe if you leave it in place during stitching and remove it afterwards. Lesson learned from experience.
Having said that...this gold fringe has been in my stash for some time, and the stitching had come off on its own. You can see it makes for slower going, as it's really easy to catch the individual strands under the needle. The fringe can be applied by enclosing it in a seam (like piping) but my favourite way is to simply topstitch it in place. I begin by turning under about 1/4" on the end of the fringe and place it on the BACK of the work, about 1" from the end. (This way the join doesn't end up on the front.) I stitch this small bit of fringe to the corner, clip my threads and then begin pinning the fringe to the front. The pins are placed lengthwise along the braid. This holds the fringe more securely than placing pins crosswise as we normally do. My thread colour is matched top and bottom to the colour of the fringe and doesn't show. I begin stitching, removing the pins as I come to them.
I stitch right up to the end, break my stitching, and clip the threads immediately. It's easy to lose those threads in the fringe if you don't take them out at the time and you won't find them again until the piece is hanging on display (!). Flip the piece over to the back, and repeat the process.
When you get to the end, stitch past where you started (so that you don't have a lump in one spot) and cut the end of the fringe allowing about 1/4" extra. Turn edge under and topstitch. The join will not be obvious.
It makes for a nice, traditional finish for the antependium - one often seen on church paraments.


  1. Beautiful Karen!! I bet those greens are gorgeous "in person"...

  2. It's lovely Karen. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Just perfect! It really looks great against all the woodwork in the first photo. I didn't even know there were so many kinds of silk!

  4. I have been waiting to see this one. You had me tantalized by the earlier pictures. This one is outstanding. So many beautiful shades of green.

  5. That is really rich and springlike! You're right, it takes a mistake to make us learn something.

  6. It is just beautiful. You are a such a creative person and your work shows the true feelings of your heart. Lovely.