My friend, Karen McColl, of White Rock, Vancouver was inspired by Donna’s Candle Mat. See our http://www.janome.ca/ home page for pic + Donna’s project instructions .
Karen does not have the Artistic Sewing Suite software with the cutting needles but she did adapt the project with embroidery software for her purposes: her plan was to make a bunch of little mats to give as hostess gifts to various folk we will be staying with or visiting on our vacation together to South Africa soon.
I told her I thought another great gift idea would be her embroidered soaps which she has given to me as a gift before. So she decided to pair these candle mats up with matching embroidered soaps……..yes, I DID say embroidered soaps!!! See below.
Karen used the same floral embroideries to stitch onto water soluble stabilizer for the soaps.
I had not made the embroidered soaps before so Karen shared the process with me when I visited her home recently: she used a design which does not have to be free standing (like for a lace embroidery where you wash away the stabilizer). She tells me this does not matter as you simply arrange the embroidery onto the soap once you have dipped the embroidery into water. If the embroidery comes apart a bit (which non-stand alone embroideries will do), just stick it back together onto the soap. She says you want to have some of the water soluble stabilizer left in the embroidery to act as a binding agent with the soap so the embroidery should only be dipped in water for 30 seconds. Karen prefers to use bars of Ivory soap as she knows it works well with this type of soap. Some heavily scented or oily type soaps may not work as well. And we figured that if you have a winning formula, you should probably stick to it!
Then I watched as she “smooshed” the embroidery into the surface of the soap which becomes a bit wet from the wet embroidery. The idea is to get the embroidery & wet soap surface to bind together. Press the embroidery down into the soap well. When the embroidery is positioned as you require, leave the soap bar to dry completely. This can take days or even up to a week. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the embroidery STAYS stuck to the soap despite frequent use and more water. I know as the gift she gave me a while back finally got down to embroidery with virtually no soap left behind it a few weeks ago. And the embroidery never even lifted off an edge. Neither Karen nor I fully understand how or why this is possible, but it is!
For the candle mats, Karen used water soluble stabilizer as the base & then cut away the fabric above (surface of the mat) & below (the backing fabric) before the final satin stitch was added around the edge of the mat.