Thursday, 30 November 2017

Module 5 - Chapter 7 - Tactile Contrasts

An experimental sampler using different fabrics in different manipulative ways. Samples were arranged so that there was a strong contrast between each neighbouring patch.




Inspired by Jane Chipp, buttons were wrapped and tied into the cotton fabric. This gave a lovely creased, randomly cracked surface texture, whilst maintaining a smooth, flat, low relief surface.


Strips of cotton scrim were torn and knotted, giving an irregular, bumpy, lumpy, knobbly, but soft feel.


Narrow strips of nylon tulle netting were gathered tightly & twisted, forming frothy, bristly, rough, coarse bands, like foaming waves breaking on the shore.


Hand smocking gathers on plain cotton fabric gave a corrugated, ridged, linear, even texture with a firm feel.


Cotton scrim was hand gathered in circular patterns giving soft, fluffy, puffy bubbles that are delicate, gentle and pliable.


Strips of cotton were frayed heavily on both sides, then knotted giving a very tactile, soft fluffy surface over hard irregular knotty bumps. Choppy and foamy like rapidly flowing water over rocks.


Rows of machine stitched pin tucks created a low relief, regular grid with a very firm texture. Viewed from side-on it reminds me of rows of stylised ears of corn standing erect in a field!


My lovely little Suffolk puff jellyfish! A double layer of nylon tulle netting gave a springy texture allowing firm, bouncy, spongy movement. Doubled threads were used for the gathers & left long to give more emphasis to the loose 'tendril' threads that also have free flowing movement.


Smocking gathers on nylon tulle netting was hand stitched to manipulate the gathers, giving a firm, scratchy surface. The transparent nature of the tulle means that the stitching shows from behind, and in conjunction with the surface stitching, gives useful visual texture.


Cotton fabric was gathered tightly at irregular intervals, and in opposite directions. This gave a crumpled, erratic, organic, sinuous texture that has a tight, firm feel. It reminds me of masses of worm casts on my neglected lawn!


Cotton scrim was gathered tightly in spirals, giving soft, supple, high relief spikes. The Gaudi like, organic twists give a visual textural appearance of brambles or rose thorns, but the contrasting feel, although pointy, is soft, gentle and delicate.


Linear tucks were gathered onto straws giving a rough, tight, raised rows of wrinkled, ridged bands over dips of rippled furrows, looking almost like crops, growing in a field.


Small stones wrapped and twisted into a piece of cotton scrim gives a hard, bumpy texture contrasting with the soft, gentle characteristics of the scrim.
The transparent, open nature of the scrim means that the subtle difference in the colours of the stones can show through.


A circular, hand stitched tuck on cotton fabric gives an interesting contrast either side of the firm, upright ridge.
Inside the circle the fabric is held tight, leaving it smooth and flat, whereas irregular ripples radiate gently from the outside of the circle.


Nylon tulle netting was gathered onto strips of wire, which were attached onto the tulle with wide zig zag stitching.
The wire meant that this coarse, rough surface texture could be moulded into high peaks and low dips allowing it to be formed into a highly irregular surface.
The rows of stitching stand out in contrast to the tulle offering loopy twists of rich visual texture.


Strips of cotton were cut with pinking shears to give a zig-zagged edge, then tied in the middle to form little clusters in gentle, bow like, individual forms. Arranged loosely, thereby taking advantage of negative space, the gentle fans create high relief contrasts, like scattered seed pods, or flower heads.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Module 5 - Chapter 6 - Tucks. Pleats & Gathers

Experiments with different ways of stitching tucks into fabric.




Circular pattern tucks also look very exciting from the back.

Tucks stitched randomly from the front & the back of the fabric. Front and back images shown.


Tucks stitched on the curve. Front & back views shown. This would also be very exciting if stitched in a spiral.

Pin tucks overlapped, then tucked again with basic tucks pressed into box pleat. Tucked again in the other direction with basic tucks which were then stuffed, creating a very heavy, linear texture.

Tucks pressed flat, then tucks stitched at angles from behind, creating staggered lines.

Hand 'smocking'. This gives a lovely, neat, regular gathered pattern.
Shirring elastic threaded into the bobbin gives a much more irregular pattern. If the lines of stitching were less straight/more wobbly, I think this would give an even more randomly gathered effect.
Zig zag stitching over lengths of wire. I love this effect. The wire allows you to control the direction of the gathers.

Gathering in a zig zag pattern. I used the controlled, measured smocking technique for this which gives a lovely rippled water effect. I really like the control, regularity & uniform structure of this, but as I am basing this project on natural tree bark texture, I think a less measured, more random smocking stitches might give a more suitable result.

Again using the measured smocking stich technique of gathering, I stitched gathering threads at right angles, at regular intervals. I love the crumpled effect, but once again, because of the measured control, all 'ruffles' are of the same height. Such control is rarely seen in nature.

Swirly lines were machined gathered using the longest stitch on my machine.  I also adjusted the bobbin tension very slightly to loosen the bottom thread, making it easier to pull up the top thread to form the gathers. As this stitching was not so controlled it gave a much more random effect of big and little 'mushrooms'.

Machine stitched diagonal lines, randomly spaced were gathered giving a lovely nobbly irregular pattern.

Wavy lines of hand gathering were pulled up to create straight rows of ripples. This result surprised me, I expected a much more rippled result, similar to 050612.

Different sized spirals were hand gathered and pulled up to create the most amazing, twisted, shell like formation.

I could not do a collection of smocking/gathering samples without attempting Michele Carragher's Dragonscale from Game of Thrones. This uses North American Smocking which involves pulling up a selection of points on a gathering grid and securing with a stitch. This was great fun to do. It was then heavily pressed, according to Michele's instructions, to give the effect of dragonscale!

Tiny pebbles were embedded into cotton scrim with elastic bands. This gave lovely soft 'puffs' of fabric between the pebbles. Random threads had been withdrawn from the scrim first. This resulted in a decayed, distressed, worn effect.

Smocking hand stitched to hold and decorate gathers. I love the way the hand stitching controls the position of the gathers enabling the fanned effect.

I loved Sian's sample in the workbook showing 'blocks of machine satin stitch to decorate and also apply this multiple 'gather' onto a new backing'. I used plastic bag, organza, scrim and plain poly cotton to create my own experiment. There is a marked contrast between the less stable fabrics (ie the scrim and the light-weight plastic) and the firmer poly cotton and organza. The first two form irregular, organic gathers, whilst the poly cotton and organza gathers are more rigid, linear, and defined.

Towards the end of this chapter of work, our Stitcher's group had a visit from Claire Muir, ( She makes the most amazing machine embroidered hats and fascinators. Co-incidentally, some of her hats were made using a smocking machine. On one of them, she deeply frayed an edge of the fabric after smocking. Another was made with row upon row of wired pin tucks. I was eager to have a go at both!



Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Module 5 - Chapter 5 - Quilting, Padding & Stuffing

I used image 50302a from chapter 3 as inspiration for my quilting lines in this chapter.


Wadded Quilting with fine polyester knitted fabric (swimwear lining) over cotton wadding using running stitch.


Wadded Quilting with fine polyester knitted fabric over shredded newspaper using running stitch. Newspaper exposed at edges as design feature.


Wadded Quilting with nylon net over feathers, using running stitch.


Wadded Quilting with nylon net over threads run through the overlocker. Whole shapes have been filled with random, overlapped cross stitches.


Shaped Quilting with silk habotai over 'funky foam' shapes. Stitched with chain stitch.


Shaped Quilting with nylon net over pumpkin seeds. Stitched with rows of horizontal straight stitches. I originally used a straight running stitch for this sample, but thought the parallel rows of stitch was far more characterful and contemporary and contrasted well with the smooth rounded texture of the seeds that are visible under the net.


Padded Quilting with fine polyester knitted fabric. Stitched with twin needle on sewing machine & stuffed from the back with polyester stuffing. Think this might be slightly overstuffed as shapes have been distorted, but I guess the distortion could also be used to creative effect. This is the first time I've ever really played with the twin needle. I found that the flat area between the two rows of stitching contrasted well with the puffy, overstuffed areas.


Padded Quilting with silk organza. Stitched from the back with herringbone stitch (to give a double row of running stitches on the front), and threaded with sari silk. I really enjoyed this sample. Its very neat and precise and was much easier to control than I had imagined. 


Corded Quilting with silk habotai. Lengths of string were stitched between channels of 'twin needle' machine stitching. I have ordered a pin tuck foot for my machine as I think it would make it easier to control the direction of the string during this process.

This is the previous sample from the back. I think this is much more attractive, probably because of the contrasting shades and the contrasting textures of the rough string against the soft shiny silk. It would have probably been quite interesting to do a combination of backwards and forward facing channels.