Before I started chapter 8 I had to spend some time printing on some fabrics to give my next few samples of work a bit of variety in look and colour.
a) I had some organza which has a purple look created by the blue and red threads in it. I embossed over this with gold embossing glitter and a heat gun. The heat made the fabric pucker which was quite an interesting result. b) I used the same technique on a less flimsy fabric using purple glitter. c) Returning to the traditional stamp and acrylic paint I stamped over a variety of fabrics. This time I used fabric medium mixed with the paint which helped to keep the fabric softer.
On starting this chapter I was not sure if I should experiment with different designs or just develop the designs I had selected in chapter 7.
I decided to experiment to begin with.
1)The first sample was based on a symmetrical design in chapter 4 used on a star anise design where the star was placed over a yellow background (p.57, design 9 bottom left of right hand page. )
After all this I cut a purple 6 point star from fabric made earlier,and bonded this over the stitching. I then added this over the stitching. After pressing this in place I then added the padding to the sample. I was a bit concerned about how well the bonded fabric would stick without stitches to hold it in place however it has lasted well. I think I could have added hand stitching too. Perhaps this is something I could continue working on later.After drawing the outline on the calico material I stitched the outline of the star onto the light gold polyester material using a purple thread. I also sewed a star shape in the centre of this using the same thread. I did this so that I could pad out the centre. As I did this I also thought it might be a good idea to pad the outline of the shape so I changed threads to closer to the fabric colour and sewed around leaving a 5mm gap. I also sewed the centre of each leg of the star going round in a decreasing line into the centre .
2) The next attempt was based on a design in chapter 4 showing 3 stars overlapping each other. (p.58. Bottom right of left hand page.)
I added bondaweb to a piece of gold webbed material and slotted this over and under blue material which I had already cut into the asymmetrical shape I was using . I then pressed this onto the background material. I machine stitched the blue cotton into place with a small running stitch. I then zigzag stitched another star overlapping the blue and gold shapes and the background material. The stitching ( literally) went loopy on me but I liked the effect so continued with it in random lines. To finish his design off I zigzagged around the blue star shape as the thread I used earlier was not as good a choice of colour as I had expected it to be and around part of the gold star too. I padded out part of the blue star and added hand stitching around the blue cotton star.
This design saw a return to the motifs I had played with in chapter 7. I had used the same format in each design I did in that chapter so I decided to alter this a bit more. I drew the outline of the asymmetrical stars on the calico backing. I bonded the centre shape (which was based on the original centre) onto the fabric. I then machine stitched over the lines I had drawn, not really knowing how this was going to turn out! I had stitched through some of the bonded centre shape, which was really off centre. I hand stitched between the machine stitches before adding padding to the diamond-shaped areas I had created. I then added machine stitches around the border of the sample so that I could add some more padding to the corners. I would say this is not my best design, I don’t think I would work on this further!
4) For attempt 4 I decided to return to type and go with my more traditional design. Using 2 layers of material I stitched the top centre piece into place using purple running stitches. I then cut away the material and zigzagged in the outer star shapes in small zigzag stitches in yellow. I padded the centre shapes. I felt the design did not look finished so I added the border stitches. Things still looked disconnected so I added the radiating lines from the stars to the borders. This looks much better.
5) So far I have only used two layers of fabric so for this attempt I used 4.
a) I was running out of the made fabric with bits and I wanted to use up what I had so I sewed to pieces together. The centre line that can be seen in the centre of the sample is the join. Perhaps I should have used purple thread instead! I cut out the shape I wanted for the top layer and bonded this to the next , purple layer. I altered the design and shapes of the stars here and joined and extra star at one end. I machine stitched two lines 5mm apart around most of the border which I threaded wool between, later on. I then added gold organza material over the bonded fabric and the ‘extra star shape. I hand sewed this into place using gold metallic treads. I had looked at Kantha stitching which is used in some parts of India to embellish cloth which is being reused. I thought this was appropriate given the bonded material was being recycled too. I added bright yellow stranded cotton to the centre star and then cut away the inner part of the organza. However I had also caught some of the bonded fabric in the scissors and it came away with the organza. Not necessarily a bad thing though as the organza stands out more against that half of the star!
b)Feeling this was needing something else I outlined two more stars with yellow thread. I then randomly machine stitched over the fabric filling as much in as I could. This was quite tricky! Once finished I felt it needed a new border so I added metallic purple threads.I think this is quite a clumsy piece and my ideas did not quite gel together.
6) Before making number six I thought about what I liked and what I did not like in the other samples to help me decide the elements of this one.
I liked the centre on sample 4 and the radiating lines.
I liked the idea of the sewn stars on sample 5 although I would do them differently!
I liked the Kantha stitches.
I liked recycling my materials as I am on a tight budget!
I wanted to try making it less symmetrical again even though previous attempts did not go well.
6 a) 6 b)
6b)Close-up of stitches.
6a) I drew three star shapes on calico and then hand stitched around this. I continued into the centre of each star using alternating colour of purples and yellow. I drew the centre motif and machine stitched it into place. Part of this covered the hand sewn stars which I knew would happen as I did not want it sitting nicely in the centre.
6b)I then padded this. Part of the seam came away at one side and I had to hand stitch it down I think I had poked too much padding into it and as the fabric is quite delicate it came apart.I was much more careful after that.
6c)I had made two little stars using fabric and thread and I was going to add these as another part of the design but I didn’t think this looked good so I have left them off for the moment!
I can see some progress in my skills in each piece and every one has been an experiment of some sort . Hopefully I have learned from these experiments, especially the errors!
As I was designing and creating the last few samples it occurred to me I was making the designs too small and intricate and I needed to try to be bigger and simpler in the design. Previously I had tried to hold on to all the elements of the original design such as the outline, having 3 to four star shapes and the centre motif ( in the centre or not!) as well as combining lots of techniques. Clearly all of this was too much and leading to disappointing results.
7) I changed my thinking when I designed this last piece. I wanted to make a piece I would be happy with before finishing this chapter otherwise I would not be able to progress with a happy heart!
I used a bluish organza material I had embossed with gold glitter as well as gold and purple material. (see a) top of page).
7i 7ii 7iii
7iv 7v 7vi
7i, ii) I bonded the organza then cut out a large star shape similar to the smaller original shapes, from it. I cut out the centre. I then bonded the large shape onto the gold material. The material had some printed shapes on the other side which have shown through in some places.
7iii) I then placed the centre shape carefully over the first one leaving spaces which could be padded.
7iv) I have consistently used running or zigzag stitch on other designs so it was time for a change! I had already drawn a large star on the back and machine stitched little stars over the outline of this. I tried to complete each star when I reached a stopping point. There are a couple of areas where this is not perfect but you can hardly see them. I did unpick two and re-sew them which worked quite well! I liked the way this design was developing.
7v)I then did running stitch around parts which I wanted to pad out. I carefully added padding to these places to finish off. I liked the effect of the star stitches and felt everything was working well together but still something was missing.
7vi)I then decided to add the hand stitched zigzags radiating from the machine stitched star in gold metallic thread. The threads were hanging from the back to be sewn in when everything else was finished. Some threads hung over the front. I liked the look of this and decided to bring the threads through to the front before cutting them off. I liked the look of this so left them. I did think about trimming some of the gold fabric away but decided as I was pleased with the results so far I would leave this.
7vi) A close-up of the stitching.
I have managed to make a sample I like! Hurrah!
I am happy! I can move on to chapter 9 with a happy heart!