I think this is my least favorite part of a project......the stretching
. I use an old bias board that was intended for sewing. The thickness of the cardboard works great and the 1" squares on it are perfect to stretch things out on to get the right shape. Only problem is it's really old and has a lot of holes in it from the many many pieces that have been stretched on it. I found a new one at a craft store last spring only to find out the hard way that the blue and red lines on it ran when starch was sprayed on it. Found another one with light green lines on it thinking that ink might be better and it ran, too so I brought Ole Faithful back out. When I stretch a piece I stretch it as tight as it will go, pinning it at each corner then along the lines on the board or if it's a different shape using some of the lines to make it even. Then I spray it with a heavy spray starch and run an iron over it on the cotton setting, let it sit maybe 5 minutes, take the pins out and it keeps it shape. If there is a lot of detail in the piece I use pins to pull out the details on some of the edgings so they will show better once it's finished.
This might be the very first piece I did where I made up the pattern myself. It's been quite a while now. Recently it had been washed so I had to do the stretching process all over again. The tiny little ball you get out of the dryer it's hard to believe will ever stretch back out to the size it once was but it will, it just takes a while !!!