This is a set of instructions that I developed for a stitch-a-long on the limited edition design, Christmas Hearts by Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler. The kit included finishing instructions, but I deviated from the instructions a bit and wanted to take pictures during the process to serve as a visual aid for my fellow stitchers.
While these instructions are for a specific design, they can be applied to any bellpull finish. The pictures included below are merely thumbnails. If you want to see the full sized image, just click on it.
Please make sure you read through and understand all of the instructions before starting.
First, gather all of your materials. This includes your stitched bellpull, a contrasting fabric for any hardanger or other cutwork sections in the design (if there are any), fusible (or sewn-on) interfacing, backing fabric, pins, scissors, fabric glue (optional), sewing thread, needle and pearl cotton or floss for cording.
Baste guidelines according to the kit instructions or to how wide you wish the finished bellpull to be. I basted over 5 squares (10 fabric threads), but would recommend smaller intervals. You cannot see my stitches very well in my photo, so I included a second photo where I drew lines over my basting for added visibility.
Cut pieces of contrasting fabric to fit behind any hardanger or other cut, drawn or pulled sections of the design. I usually cut my contrasting fabric in a rough square, then lay it over the back of the piece, line it up with the hardanger section and cut, riding my scissors along the outside edge of the kloster blocks as a guide. Of course, you don’t have to be quite so exacting, but I like to minimize any possibility of showing through the fabric past the hardanger section.
Now, here is where you have a little bit of choice. If you have any pieces of contrasting fabric, you can lay them in place and skip to the next paragraph where we fuse on the interfacing, being careful to keep the contrasting fabric piece in place while doing so. I actually spread a little bit of glue along the backs of the kloster blocks and glue down the contrasting fabric to avoid the chance of any movement while fusing the interfacing.
Then, cut the interfacing. I cut the interfacing to fit about 1/4″ within the basted guidelines. If you are going to have your bellpull come to a point at the bottom, start by cutting a rectangle and then angle the bottom. Place the interfacing on the back of the bellpull and fuse according to the manufacturer’s directions.
*Note: if you choose not to use fusible interfacing, then cut your interfacing to be 1/2″ or so outside of the basted guidelines and pin it in place. You’ll sew it into place when you sew on the backing fabric.
Cut your backing fabric into a rectangle that extends 1/2″ or more beyond the basted guidelines. With the right side of your backing fabric facing the right side of your bellpull, pin the backing fabric to the stitched piece. If you used interfacing that needs to be stitched on, make sure that you pick up the interfacing when you pin, as well. Make sure you press your backing
fabric before pinning, if needed.
If you are going to attach a tassel to the bottom of your bellpull, now is the time to make your tassel and pin it in place. Keep in mind that the tassel needs to be lying between in the middle, between your backing fabric and your stitched (and interfaced) piece, with the body of the tassel on the inside, so that when you turn the whole sandwich inside out after sewing, the tassel is in the right place and not stuck inside! Alternatively, you can discreetly tack the tassel onto the piece after you are all done.
Now it’s time to drag out your sewing machine, if you are so inclined. You can also hand-stitch, if you prefer. Sew along the basted guidelines. Make sure you extend your sewing lines at the top, at least 1″ beyond to the top basted guideline. You need to have excess fabric to wrap around your bellpull hardware. Leave the top OPEN; do NOT stitch across the top.
Remove your basted guidelines, if showing. Trim all of the layers to within 1/4″ or so of the sewing line. Notch your corners at the bottom slightly, without cutting through the seam you just created, so that you can get crisper corners when you turn the piece inside out.
Carefully turn your piece inside out, poking out the corners with a pointed (but not sharp) instrument. Finger press the edges as close to the sewn edge as possible. You can then press the piece with an iron, if desired (I did).
Make sure that you lay the front side of your stitched piece down onto a towel before pressing, so that your stitches do not get crushed. I neglected to do so at times (including when I was fusing the interfacing in this example) and it not only flattens your lovely stitches, but it can also cause damage to your iron and or your stitching if beads get caught in the steam holes. 🙁
You’re now ready to attach your bellpull to your bellpull hardware. Since I had not yet painted my dowel for this piece when I created this tutorial, I pinned it in place to provide a visual reference for you. Wrap the top of the bellpull around your hardware and tack down the back flap. When tacking, carefully pierce through the entire back layer (the pieces wrapped over your hardware) and through the backing fabric only of the front piece. You do not want to pierce and/or stitch through the
front of your bellpull. You want the tacking stitches to be invisible. Take your time, as this step will require you to keep an eye on the front so that you don’t go through to the front of the piece.
If you want a really immaculate back to your bellpull, you can fold the top into itself about 1/4″ and blind stitch the top closed or fold over the top about 1/4″ and tack it down to itself before tacking the flap down.
If desired, you can make some cording or use purchased cording or ribbon to create a hanging loop. You can look at my basic cording instructions, or you can reference the instructions on Judy O’Dell’s website.
To attach the cording to the ends of your bellpull hardware, pull apart the two layers of your cording at each end just enough to slip over the ends of your hardware. For an extra fancy finish, you can even make cording and tack it around the outside edges of your bellpull.
Hang your bellpull in a prominent place in your home and enjoy!