Now that we're all done stitching and the loose threads have been removed from the back of the piece, we just have two more things to do before it's ready to use.
First, you need to free it from the surrounding fabric. To do this, cut all the way around the piece, leaving an edge 2-3 threads wide. Then, with your fingers gently separate, or fluff, the remaining threads. It will then look like this:
Next, you need to carefully trim the loose threads as close to the buttonhole as you dare. I usually work on the back side of the fabric when I'm trimming. I also fold all but the section that I'm working on away from me. Only work on small sections as a time, and be mindful of where the tip and full cutting length of your scissors are at all times. As I mentioned before, some people secure the buttonhole with a sewing machine before they begin trimming, but that is optional.
This is the result. As you can see, there are tiny bits of fabric showing outside the stitches. It is more noticeable with the contrasting colors then it would be with white on white. It will also become less noticeable after you wash it.
The last thing you need to do is wash and iron your piece. This will remove any oils transferred from your skin and get rid of the wrinkles. Using a very mild soap (I just use a few drops of dish soap) in a sink of cold water, gently swish the piece until it is thoroughly wet. Since there shouldn't be any stains on it yet, there is no need to do more than swirl it in the soapy water.
Rinse it well under cold water and pat it with a clean towel (preferably the same color as your piece and lint free). Don't squeeze, twist or wring it out. Lay it flat to air dry a little. When it is still slightly damp, use an iron set on medium and a cover cloth to press it flat. Once you are finished, the piece should regain some of the stiffness that the fabric had originally.
If you take care of it, this piece should last long enough to become an heirloom. Wash it in this way each time it is necessary. Store it flat. Larger pieces should be stored flat or rolled loosely, never folded. Try to keep them out of direct sunlight (unless it's a sun catcher, like this piece!).
And now, I want to see your pictures! You can add a link to a photo of your piece, or request my email address.
Of course, today would be cloudy.