Thursday, April 13, 2006

Experimental Sampler 3

Did I mention I had finished my third and final experimental sampler for City and Guilds? The brief was to create a layered piece with freestyle machine embroidery, cut out areas (scissors or burning) and then experiment with two hand stitches:
- one to be a straight stitch e.g. seeding/running, cross-stitch
- one to be a composite stitch e.g. raised chain band

After I had done my machining and worked the magic with my soldering iron (how did you guess that I would choose the soldering iron over scissors - am I that predictable?) I chose my stitches, running/seeding for its versatility and woven circles because it just clicked with the free machining pattern that I had sewn.

This was an opportunity to be as free with the stitches as much as possible and not be restricted with the choice of threads - even to choose not to use threads in the traditional sense. For some of the seeding and woven circles I used torn strips of silk habotai which I had previously dyed or painted. One beautiful piece which had shades of orange on it I painted years ago for a waistcoat for a friends boyfriend. I added some buttons which had been embellished with the chosen stitches - giving extra dimension.

The layering was created by bonding scraps of fabric onto a calico base using bondaweb (wonderunder in the USA), I then layered over the turquoise organza and chiffon by applying another layer of bondaweb. Although the bondaweb was good at attaching the sheer fabric, when cutting out the design some of the under fabric had been altered by the bondaweb. For instance, the velvet was matted and lost its lustre and softness. In future I would prefer to use a temporary glue such as 505 spray adhesive to temporarily fix the fabric before machining.

I have really enjoyed the techniques involved in completing this sampler. As I discovered with my 3D functional item* last year, I like combining machine embroidery with hand stitching. I found myself automatically limiting myself to 2 complementary colours : blue and orange, like I did for my canvas work sampler. I have really enjoyed working in this abstract manner, using thread and colour choice to lead the stitching rather than any other outside design choice.

As I like this techniques so much it has given me an idea to base my Project Spectrum postcard on - all will be revealed after my swap partner has received her postcard...

* a blog ommission which I need to rectify.


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