"Satin Stitch"

Satin Stitch

Each line on this graph represents a fabric thread.

Satin stitches are used to make klosters. The diagram shows a way to make them. The picture shows a kloster that has been stitched and the fabric threads cut away. To make the satin stitches come up with the threaded needle at 1, go over four fabric threads,and go down at 2, at 3 repeat steps 1 and 2 for the number of stitches needed. Also note that doing the stitches this way insures no diagonal threads are going across the back of the work. This is important if you are doing Satin stitches for Hardanger klosters and buttonhole stitches for Hardanger. You can read more about Hardanger by clicking here.

How To

I like to leave a little loft in my satin stitches. By this I mean that I do not pull the thread tight. I leave a little slack in the thread. At step three or whenever the thread is on top of the fabric, I pull the thread with my ring finger. By using my ring finger, either hand, I do not pull the threads as tightly as I could with my index finger.

I am not left handed but I sew with my left hand on top of the work and my right hand underneath the hoop or frame. Seems that your dominant hand can 'see' without looking, so it is best used under the fabric and hoop or frame.

I do the tightening in one movement by catching the thread with my ring finger so that the thread is laying across the fingernail and then I lift the ring finger while watching the stitch form.  

At step 3, I do the tightening in one movement by catching the thread with my ring and finger so that the thread is laying across the fingernail, and then I lift the ring finger while watching the stitch form. It takes practice. At some time in the past I must have started doing it this way. I hadn't paid attention. But I saw a portrait of a women sewing and there it was! Me pulling the thread with my ring fingernail.'

Now try it, practice, practice, practice

Take a doodle cloth and thread then stitch using different tensions for the Satin stitch from light to strong when you pull the threaded needle back to the top of the fabric (step 3 in the diagram). You can see that the tighter the stitch the more the fabric threads 'bunch' together. If the stitch is tight and the fabric holes are open wider or larger than their nearby companion you have pulled this stitch too tight. Look for the soft round curve on top that the thread will form when this stitch is done correctly. Practice the stitch so that each one has the same loft or same round top.

I stroke my Satin stitches with my needle after the spot of embroidery is finished. I go in the direction of the stitches and get every thread smooth and straight. I also make sure that any gaps that have formed in the fabric between threads are rearranged by sticking the needle tip in and pulling the unstitched fabric thread down or up to narrow any gaps that formed between the stitched rows and the unstitched rows. These gaps are different than those discussed above, what happens is that the blocks of stitches can be pulled away from the fabric threads above or below them. The whole block of stitches moves, there are no tight stitches, just a gap that formed from the repeated push of the needle and pull of the thread.

Also, when I am stitching I watch the twist of the thread. I watch to see that the thread gets tighter not looser as I work along its length. If I find that the thread is untwisting, I finish it off by running it under the stitches on the back of my work and then thread the other end, or get a new thread. Some designers recommend threading the 'blooming' end. That is a good reference point, however I have found that the blooming end does not always mean the best end for this purpose.

I start my Satin stitches at the edge of the design or in a corner of a Kloster. My stitching tension loosens after a few stitches so I start at a corner or the beginning of a row since it seems to need a tighter stitch for me. Other stitchers find that starting in the center of the row is better for them. Try both to see what is best for you.

Laying Tools

You can follow the same method as in the diagram above and use a Laying Tool to tighten the stitch. It will accomplish the same things as I have described above.

A Stiletto or long needle can serve very well as a Laying Tool. Place the tool's point on the fabric at the place the stitch will form and hold it in place while tightening the stitch.

You need to have a slight angle at the point of the tool where it touches the fabric in order to slide the thread off the point into place smoothly and in one movement. When I was learning this stitch I felt this was really tedious and so I started carefully watching as I made these Satin stitches in order to stop having to use a Laying Tool. I still have to pay attention as I stitch Satin stitches because I can pull them too loose or too tight. ©2000 Linda Fontenot, www.AmericanFolkArts.com