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Cording Question and Finishing Talk

  • Posted on December 6, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Von asked a good question in her comments about how I attach my cording and I thought others might be curious, so I thought that I would answer it here for everyone to see and then ask how others do it. She asked whether I glue or sew on my cording.

The answer is that I glue the cording onto pieces where I use mat board fronts and backs that are glued together. That way, I can run the glue right along the groove between the two pieces and seat the cording just where I want it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of using a lot of glue. I used to lace the fabric to the board and then lace the pieces together, but it is AWFULLY time consuming to do it that way and I don’t have that kind of time right now (or probably ever). I actually prefer gluing the fabric to the board now because the tacky glue sets up so quickly and allows me to get the piece stretched out nicely, mitered on the back and whatever else I need to do. I think it actually looks nicer along the edges when it’s glued. And the nicer your edges look, the thinner you can make your cording (I’m cheap on threads, what can I say? It takes A LOT of fibers to make a piece of cording!) because you just need to cover the gap. I would probably choose to lace fronts and backs together, if I had the time, for longevity. Of course, the thread could decay just as easily as the glue could let go… but that’s a whole other discussion.

If the piece has sewn edges, though, I try to sew on the cording. Note the key use of the word “try” in that sentence. I have not yet been able to invisibly attaching cording by sewing. It’s something I need to work on and read into on Judy O’Dell’s website. I think she has some good tips on how to expertly sew on cording in her finishing section. Of course, I don’t always add cording to a sewn piece, either.

Von also mentioned that she would like to learn some of my finishing “secrets.” To be honest, I don’t really have any. I haven’t been finishing for very long, so every time is a learning experience, though I think I have the mat board sandwich process down pat now. 😆 But, to be honest, it isn’t very tough. Cut your mat board, cut your batting (if desired), glue batting to board (if desired), glue stitched piece (over batting) to board, repeat with another piece of board and a coordinating fabric, glue front and back together and press under at least one (two if you have a lot of excess fabric in the middle) large book for 24 hours or so to ensure a good bond. Add cording and voila! You’re done.

Well, I guess there is more subtlety to adding the cording. Probably to the entire process, too. Cutting the mat board to exactly the right shape and size can be difficult. I use scrapbooking equipment to help with the shapes when I can. I can’t seem to cut a square or rectangle straight; I have to fudge it. Inevitably, things are always a little off, but it’s handmade, so isn’t that supposed to be part of the charm? As far as the cording, how you hide your ends, form a hanger loop, create a tassle, etc. is often up to the personal style of the finisher. If I’m going to make the tassel from the cording, I start at the bottom, sink the end in between the two layers at the middle of the bottom of the design, then run the cording around until I’m at the middle of the top of the design. Then I make a loop for the hanger, just like a roller coaster track loops, with the cording passing in front of itself and then going along its merry way, back around to the bottom, where we began. Here, I sink the other end in between the layers, just beside the starting end, glue the cording right up to that point, allow it to dry for a little while. You’ve now created a loop of excess cording between where you finished gluing it to the piece and where you sank the end. I cut this loop, unwind the cording and cut my little tassel to length.

I’ve also done the tassel where I create the cording to the exact length I need, leaving a long section of untwisted fibers after the knot that secures the cording. Using this method, when I start the cording, I don’t sink the looped end (with your cording, you always have one end that you knotted or secured that contains all of the cut ends, and one end that is looped) in between the layers and I don’t glue it down, yet. This will eventually slip over the end knot of your cording when it comes back around. I’m not sure if this makes sense? You’ll run your cording around the design, as usual, and when you get back to the center of the bottom, you should be right at the knot at the end of your cording (make sure you plan it out so that you create the hanger at the right length so that your knot is where you need it to be). Open the looped end of the cording slightly and past the knotted end through the loop. Smooth the looped end back into shape and glue it down. Now you should have the untwisted length of fibers left after your knot and this forms your tassel.

Finally, I would note that you can create your hanger slightly differently by simply wrapping the base of the hanger loop tightly with sewing thread. This gives a little more polished look to your finishing. You can do the same at the bottom of your design when you create the tassel. If you do this at the bottom and you’re creating a tassel from your cording, you wouldn’t have to sink either of your ends. You could leave an excess of cording at each end, then wrap sewing thread tightly around the base of both, then unwind the cording and cut your tassel to length.

You could also do more traditional tassel creation and attachment, but I don’t feel like going into that right now. 🙂

I could write up a tutorial sometime with pictures, if anyone wants, but I think that there are lots already out there, so I wouldn’t want to reinvent the wheel or anything…

P.S. Von, the VS Baby’s 1st Christmas ornaments DO stitch up very quickly, so I would highly recommend that you do some for your grandsons. You can crank them out in no time!

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