String Padding

String padding is the best foundation for cutwork because it is very densely worked. Choose soft cotton string to match the dominant metal threads - i.e. yellow for gold and green for green!


First work out how much string you will need. Measure the length of the shape you need to pad, and fold the string so that you have lots of pieces the same length.  Twist the string tightly together and hold it against the widest part of the design - the string should fill the shape with a tiny bit of space on either side.  Make sure you count the lengths before you unfold the string.

Waxing the whole length of soft cotton string - run it across the surface of some beeswax at least four times until it is well coated and feels slightly sticky.  Then fold it back up.

Cast on a doubled length of matching thread within the shape.  Bring the needle up just inside the drawn outline, at the widest point. Take the needle down just inside the outline on the opposite side, catching the string within the stitch.  Make sure that you pull quite firmly on the thread so that the string bunches together tightly.

Continue to stitch along the shape placing the stitches about 4mm (1/8”) apart.  Where the shape narrows, lift the soft string up and away from the fabric.  Separate the strands and choose a few of the ones closest to the fabric.  Trim these away leaving as little excess as possible.

Make another stitch about 4mm (1/8”) along and repeat the process.  Continue in this way to the end of the shape until you have cut all the string.  At the very end of the shape, make a stitch at right angles to the others, bringing the needle up in the fabric at the tip, and taking it down through the string.

Then stitch back towards the middle, placing stitches in between so there is almost no string showing.  Repeat the process for the other end of the shape.