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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stitch Study 3: Detached Buttonhole with Return

Disclaimer: This stitch study builds on the previous lessons of detached buttonhole (DBH) and filling shapes with DBH. To minimize any confusion over steps skipped in this tutorial, please review the previous stitch studies.

In basic DBH, if you'll recall, we always brought the thread to the back at the right side of each row and started the next row again on the left. Detached buttonhole with return makes use of that return thread and provides slightly more coverage. Otherwise, the method of stitching is very similar.

We'll start again with a block of stitching, then move on to filling shapes. In the example, I'm using size 12 pearl cotton on 30ct linen.

To begin the block, again start by backstitching a foundation row. With this stitch, this row will be worked left to right, so you end up on the right side of the block.

I made a total of 12 stitches in my foundation row. After the last stitch, bring the needle to the front of the fabric just a tiny bit below the end of the row. The thread should emerge about halfway down the total distance to be covered by your first row of DBH. In my original DBH sample, I covered 2 linen threads with each row, so this time I'm bringing the thread up just one thread down from the foundation.

Sink the needle and thread on the left side of the block, keeping the distance from the foundation row constant. This is the first return thread.

To start the first row of DBH, come up again just a bit below the
return thread on the left side.

You'll now start working detached buttonhole as usual, but instead of just stitching under the foundation row, you'll run the needle under both the foundation row and the return thread.

Proceed in this way across the block. Remember the number of DBH should equal the number of stitches in the foundation row. At the end of the first row, sink the needle, and come up again just a bit below that.

Again, bring the return thread across the front, sink it on the left, and begin the next row of DBH. That's really all there is to this stitch. Remember, as in basic DBH, to keep the number of stitches constant across the block by stitching into the first leg on one row and the next leg on alternate rows. (See the basic DBH stitch study if this is unclear.)

Here's what the stitch looks like on the reverse side. There is very little thread on the back with this variation.

Filling shapes with DBH with return should also look very familiar. Here, I've switched to size 8 pearl cotton. Again, backstitch the shape, then bring your return thread across the shape slightly below the side you're calling your foundation row.

Work the DBH through the foundation row and under the return thread.

Keep going. Notice that sometimes, especially when you're not working squarely with the grain of the fabric, that the return thread can look a bit skewed. That's OK. The DBH stitches will force it back into position. If they don't, try purposely stitching your next return thread at a slight angle to bring the rows of DBH back to the desired angle. Little tweaks here and there will not be noticeable.

If your shape has areas that separate from the main shape, like the points on the flower here, again, just work each of these as a separate shape. Notice that in my far right point (at the arrow), my DBH doesn't actually go all the way to the point. There isn't room for another row. The initial backstitching fills in the gap.

I was able to completely cover most of the other points with DBH. In this picture, you can compare the original basic DBH on the left with the DBH with return on the right. Notice the slight difference in texture. The stitches on the right are a tiny bit bigger, since we don't need as many to get coverage. There are 16 rows of DBH in total on the left, but only 13 on the right, though the petals are almost exactly the same length.

I'm slowly building toward the stitch that Megan originally requested, which is the detached buttonhole with only some edges attached to the fabric. Only a few more stitch studies to go, Megan! The next study will be on back-and-forth detached buttonhole.


Carol said...

Jeanne, these studies are wonderful. I am linking to them at the forum on needlearts which I co-host:

I hope you don't mind...

Elmsley Rose said...

back and forth buttonhole!

lookin' forward to it!

Nicely explained DBH with return, btw.

Possible extra note - can use metal thread as the return thread, and normal thread as the DBH thread, or vice versa (source : Jane Zimmerman's Elizabethan Surface Embroidery Stitches)

Elmsley Rose said...

Actually, I was thinking "up and down" not 'back and forth'.

I've seen two versions of 'up and down' - one is double detached, and one is "one knot up, one knot down". Do you know these?

Anonymous said...

Jeanne: I just discovered your blog today! Wow! I'm impressed! Your stitch studies are wonderful, and I love how you talk about color choices and your stitching adventures. I have bookmarked your blog.

Sharon QuickStitcher

JoWynn Johns said...

Thank you so much for the tutorials. I'm trying to learn Elizabethan stitches. What I haven't yet figured out how to do is to get a leaf shape in up-and-down detached buttonhole so that the rows curve along the vein line, with one side of the vein darker than the other side. Your studies are very helpful. Thanks.