Thursday, August 21, 2008

New beginnings

I have started stitching again - unfortunately I have forgotten to photograph any of my efforts. A couple of weeks ago I acquired a new nephew (the 9th nephew/niece if you combine M & my tally). A couple of baby grows and a bib got duly embellished with bonded fabric appliqué with a little free machine embroidery and hand stitching thrown in. I chose fabrics from my "fabric compost" in blue and yellow and did the stitching in red. I did something similar about a year ago for a friends baby shower and got the inspiration from Angry Chicken. The ones I produced were almost as quick but with a little extra embroidery.

A more recent crafty exploit was inspired by a recent purchase I made in the Bluewater Waterstones when I visited my folks at the end of June. I should have been looking for fascinators, underwear and hosiery but in the end couldn't resist the lure of a bookshop. (BTW Mum - the Southampton JL in IMHO is way better than the Bluewater one - nicer staff and better selection - including fascinators). Anyway the book I got is the Alabama Stitch Book and it shows appliqué and reverse appliqué techniques with cotton jersey along with some good projects. Even the projects are not massively prescriptive and there is plenty of scope to do your own thing in the choice of stencil, paint, colours, thread, stitches and finishing.

I had received a request from G for a t-shirt with a crustacean on it and her birthday was approaching. I found a good source of good quality t-shirts and set about with a prototype. I found that my Pebeo spray paint was a bit too runny for jersey but it still made a reasonable design. Instead of using up another new t-shirt for the reverse appliqué fabric I rooted through my old t-shirts and found one that I no longer wore (way too short in the body). The stitching was relaxing and spent a few comfortable hours in front of the TV to complete it. I particularly liked the process of "loving your thread". Whilst it could be nerve wracking cutting the shapes of the design out it was made easy by the use of my Carrickmacross scissors (haven't regretted that purchase once). I further customised my t-shirt by restyling the neck as I am a little too blessed by Mother Nature in the chest department to wear crew neck t-shirts. I traced the neckline of a t-shirt I did like, drew it on with disappearing marker, chopped away, turned over the edge and stitched it down with one the stitches which would stretch.

The birthday t-shirt differed in that I did not customise the neck as a crew neck suits G and felt that the lobster design should dominate. I chose purple because that is a colour I associate with her (G please let me know if you are now sick of purple) and went for an orange design (ex-work sports day t-shirt). I used a more reliable paint this time which I daubed on with a sponge (although it took much longer to dry) - Jacquard Lumiere in copper. Anyway G seems pretty pleased with it and is modelling it very nicely over on her blog (and yes.... I forgot to photograph it AGAIN).

As the designs were intended to be one off I decided to cut the stencils from waxed freezer paper and iron them on before applying paint. They peeled off easily enough afterwards. The colours I used were brighter than the ones Alabama Chanin typically use but I guess that is where my own style comes in.


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