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Tutorial: Joining Two Pieces of Fabric

Joining two pieces of fabric for a single cross stitched piece is never a good idea. But occasionally people find (after they are well into a project) that their fabric is too small. This can happen because they calculated the size wrong (we recommend using our fabric calculator), or because the weave is not quite what it is supposed to be. Count the number of threads there actually are per inch (don't rely on what it says there are), and/or allow plenty of margin. It's much better to spend a little more on a larger piece of fabric than to find that the fabric is too small after you have invested months or years stitching a piece. But, should the situation arise:

Joining fabric: equipment & supplies needed
1. You will need sharp sewing scissors, an iron and ironing board, a press cloth (a light-colored cotton cloth -- without a hem, preferably), and a length of Pellon sheer weight fusible interfacing (at least as long as the edge to be joined).
Joining fabric: press edges
2. Press the new fabric and the existing piece (just the unstitched part) on the appropriate iron setting (cotton or linen).
3. Trim the edges to be joined between two threads so that they are perfectly straight and there are no frayed bits.
Joining fabric: trimming aida
3a. For aida, cut in the spaces between the thick "threads".
Joining fabric: trimming linen/evenweave
3b. For linen, assuming you are stitching over two, count carefully and trim the stitched piece so that you have an odd number of threads after the last stitch. This will allow you to stitch across the join. It's worth getting this right, so count and recount. (You should have at least twenty-one threads, not three as shown here.)
Joining fabric: cut pellon strips
4. Cut two strips of Pellon an inch wide (2.5 cm) and the length of the sides you need to join.
Joining fabric: position pellon
5. Put one strip of Pellon on the ironing board with the glue side up (you can feel the dots if you have a hard time seeing which side they are on). Place one of the fabric pieces on the Pellon so that the Pellon is half covered.
Joining fabric: steam baste
6. Set the iron temperature to polyester. Steam baste with the tip of the iron: press gently JUST on the fabric, avoiding the exposed Pellon. Keep moving the iron until all the fabric is loosely bonded to the Pellon.
Joining fabric: press to bond
7. Take a damp press cloth (wet it and wring it out as thoroughly as you can) and put it just on the fabric. Press firmly for 10 seconds. Don't slide the iron around, just hold it in one spot. Redampen the press cloth and repeat until all the fabric is firmly bonded.
Joining fabric: line pieces up
8. Put the second piece of fabric on the Pellon so that it butts up to the first piece and the crosswise threads line up. You may have to pat and poke a little to make this happen. Start at one end, get a little of it lined up, and steam baste, then continue the length of the fabric.
Joining fabric: bond 2nd piece of fabric to pellon
9. Bond it firmly as before with the damp press cloth.
Joining fabric: add 2nd piece of pellon
10. Put the second piece of Pellon, glue side down, along the join on top of the fabric so that you have a Pellon-fabric sandwich. Fuse as before.
Joining fabric: poke holes in pellon
11. Now continue stitching. When you come to stitch through the Pellon, you'll be able to see the holes dimly, but you won't be able to find them with your needle from the back, so do this: when your needle is on the front of the fabric, before you take a "down" stitch, poke a hole through the Pellon where your next "up" stitch will be.
Joining fabric: poke holes in pellon
Joining fabric: carry thread across join
12. Wherever you can, carry the thread across the join, even if is a lot farther than you would normally carry. This will help strengthen the join, since the Pellon by itself is not very strong.
13. If your fabric is linen, the Pellon may tend to come loose as you stitch over it. Rebond it if this happens.

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