Wheatear stitch belongs to the chain stitch family. A combination of a chain stitch with two straight stitches repeated in a line, it resembles a stalk of wheat or barley. It is not particularly versatile but it can be combined with other stitches very effectively to create beautiful designs. Reminiscent of the wheatsheaf patterns that seemed to decorate all toasters in the 1970s, we used this simple to master style to make and decorate our very own cover.
- Blue linen or cotton, 35cm x 50cm
- Cream linen or cotton, 21cm x 37.5cm, two
- Cotton lining, 55cm x 75cm
- Lightweight wadding
- Erasable marker pen
- Embroidery hoop
- Six stranded embroidery thread, pale yellow
- Crewel needle
- Coordinating sewing thread
- Cream cotton bias binding, 1.5cm wide,
- Piping cord, 150cm
- 18cm x 29cm x 18cm high
- Measure your toaster before you start. If yours is bigger, you will need to allow extra fabric and adjust your template measurements.
Stitch a toaster cover
1 Cut a 21cm x 33cm rectangular template from card for the front and back of the toaster cover. Use a teacup as a guide to draw curved corners on the top edges. Draw around it on blue linen.
2 Draw the lines for the stalks of wheat freehand, using an erasable marker pen and referring to the picture for guidance. Begin each stalk just above the bottom edge. Place the fabric in an embroidery hoop.
3 Thread a crewel needle with four strands of embroidery thread. Starting at the top of one of the guidelines, begin the wheatear stitch, working downwards. When the ear is long enough, carry on stitching along the remainder of the line in back stitch. Repeat this process until you are happy with the design.
4 Remove the fabric from the hoop and cut out along the outline of the front section. Cut another piece, the same shape and size, from the remaining fabric for the back of the cover. Cut two more plus a 21cm x 72cm strip for the top and sides, from both the lining fabric and wadding.
5 Pin and tack the matching wadding and lining pieces together. Pin and stitch the front and back linings to the top and side lining strip. Clip the corners and cut away some of the seam allowance to reduce bulk. Cover piping cord with bias binding and cut it into two equal lengths. Pin and stitch these all around the edges of the outer front and back sections.
6 Fold 20cm of bias binding in half lengthways and stitch around the edges. Place the two ends together to form a loop, then stitch the short edges of 21cm x 37.5cm of cream fabric together, with a 1.5cm seam, sandwiching the ends of the loop inbetween.
7 Pin and stitch the outer front and back to the cream strip right sides facing. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Slip the lining inside and fold under the raw edges on the bottom by 1.5cm. Pin the two together, matching seams, and slipstitch the folded edges.
1 Draw a straight or curved vertical guideline to follow. Bring the needle up through the fabric near the top of the line, slightly to the left, and make a diagonal stitch by inserting the needle back through the fabric on the line, a little way down. Bring the needle up through the fabric again, level with the top of the first stitch but to the right of the line, then back down onto the guide in the same place as the lower part of the first stitch, creating a V shape.
2 Bring the needle to the front, on the line, a short way below the V. Without piercing the fabric, pass the needle from right to left under the two diagonal stitches. Insert the needle back into the same place it emerged and pull the thread gently to form a chain loop.
3 Bring the needle back up through the fabric just to the left of the chain and down through the base of the chain. Repeat to form the wheatear effect.