Kits are available for this project from Handcrafts Online – Biscornu class.
You can see some of my finished biscornus at my personal blog.
Biscoru Kit (see above link for details)
2 Beads or Buttons
Prepare fabric by pressing with iron – Dinky Dyes Silks are not colorfast so you will need to be extra careful pressing fabric after you stitch. If you purchased a kit, the edges of the fabric are machine stitched to prevent fraying.
Using one of the fabric squares, find the center of fabric and begin stitching design using two strands of silk and stitching over 2 fabric threads.
Count Carefully – each arm of the center medallion becomes slightly asymmetrical on this row!
If you are new to variegated threads, here are examples of different looks you can achieve depending on your stitching style. The Larger Center Motifs are stitched in either horizontal or vertical rows, completing each stitch before moving to the next. The Outer Corner Motif is stitched following the diagonal lines of the design, again completing each stitch as I go.
Once you have completed the design, you will need to backstitch a border around the design. This creates your sewing edge for assembling the biscornu.
Count 4 rows or 8 threads from the outer edge of the motif indicated by the red pin, this is the row you will do your backstitching on around the entire design, making a 90 degree turn on the corners.
NOTE: I cut a 34 inch length from the remaining silk after I had completed the cross stitch on side 1. 2 strands will be used to backstitch side one, 2 strands will be used to backstitch side 2, and the remainder will be used to assemble the biscornu.
I use a knot to secure my thread for back-stitching, secure on back through motif edge, the back-stitching needs to be strong for assembling the bisornu.
Use 1 strand of silk and back-stitch over 2 threads, even with stitching, remember to leave 4 rows or 8 cloth threads between outermost edge of design and back-stitching. Be sure that thread is well secured and that stitches are tight without distorting the fabric weave.
I used one strand of the 34″ length mentioned in the note above to backstitch along 2 sides and then another strand for the other 2 sides. Be sure you do a very good job securing the ends of the thread used for backstitching when starting and stopping!
The Next Step – Be sure that all four sides of your backstitched square are the same length – in this case my square is 75 stitches on each side. Backstitch an identical size square on the fabric for side two.
The corners of side two are what you will see on your finished biscornu. Depending on your stitching style, after you cut your length of silk for backstitching and finishing, you may have very little silk left. I have about a 40 inch, 6 strand length left. I’m going to do a portion of the corner motif inside the box for side two, positioning it the same distance from the corner as side one.
If you are very short on thread, consider these options. Do your stitching on side two using 1 strand of silk instead of 2. Use a contrasting or complimentary fiber. Put a decorative bead or button near the 4 corners instead of stitching.
Trim the 2 sides of your project leaving about 1/3 – 1/2 inch outside the backstitched line. Save two small pieces to reinforce the spot you will later attach buttons to.
It is time to sew the two sides together and form the 8 sided biscornu. Use the length of silk you put aside for this purpose – thread a needle (I prefer to use a sewing needle at this point rather than a tapestry needle) with 1 strand and knot the end.
Mark the center of side one with a pin. Secure your knotted thread to the back of side 2 along a stitched area or the backstitched line, and bring the thread up through the corner of the backstitching.
Take the first stitch by passing the needle beneath the first back stitch left of the corner on side 2 and beneath the center backstitch, indicated by the marking pin on side 1. Repeat this process buy passing the thread under the second backstitched thread to the left of the corner on side 2 and the back stitched thread just to the left of the center on side 1. You will repeat this process, whip-stitching the sides together by taking a stitch under each backstitched thread once, always making a stitch to the left of the one just completed.
The marking pin is no longer needed. Continue sewing using the backstitched line as your guide, fold the edges of cloth along the backstitched line away from the front of the stitched sides.
When you reach the corner of side one, your project should resemble this.
When you get to the corner, fold side two to the left along the backstitched line of side on and continue the same sewing process using the backstitched threads. If you wish to attach beads at this point. take an extra stitch at the corner to attach your bead – be careful if you are using beads to keep your silk from tangling around the beads as you sew.
Keep going in this fashion. Remember to attach the beads at the corner if you are using them. Do not skip any backstitched threads as you go, be sure to stitch once through each thread. You will turn corners in a zig-zag pattern. When you are stitching from the corner of side 1 to the center of side 2, you will fold side 2 along the backstitched edge of side 1. When you turn the corner at the center of side 1, you will fold side 1 along the backstitched line of side 2. The photos below illustrate the ‘zig-zag’ of the sides.
When you have all but one side sewn together it is time to stuff your project. I just use regular craft filling or fiberfil for this. You could use scented pellets or other filling if you like. I prefer my biscurnu to be nice and fat so I fill it as full as I can. To check the finished effect, pinch your project at the center to see if you like how full your project is.
Now, take those two little pieces of jobelan you saved and trim them to be just a bit bigger than your buttons. This will be placed inside the project below the center of the front and back to reinforce the area where the buttons will pull a bit on the fabric. The fuller your biscornu, the more stress will occur to your fabric when you tighten the buttons together. Some stitchers omit this step and depending on your fabric it may not be an issue, but for jobelan I think it is a good idea especially for the back side of the project if there is no stitching in the area you are attaching your button.