I’m very pleased with myself. I have to thank YouTube for helping me through the more tricky bits, but actually the logic side of my brain has worked well to get this skirt to completion. It may seem simple to some of you, but for me its an achievement. So I have a new skirt, which cost less than £6.00 and was made in just a couple of days – pattern to wearing. Now back to embroidery…
Over the summer, I enjoyed 4 days of a sewing bee, led by Hannah Woodford here on the Isle of Wight; me another lady and some school girls, a diverse group which Hannah accommodated beautifully! The first day was spent tearing up magazines to create a book of ideas for our designs. I knew before I started that I wanted to make a skirt, but I was delighted to be encouraged to incorporate my stitching skills into the design. Appliqué and inlay appliqué gave my skirt a unique character and with Hannah’s help the skirt fits beautifully. Not bad for a first attempt! I also won the sewing bee and was presented with a beautiful heart pin-cushion, much to the annoyance of the school girls I think. They’d spent the time transforming old denim jackets and skirts into really up-market pieces.
Yesterday, I decided I was going to test what I had learnt and attempt another. I found a great YouTube video on how to make a pattern for an a-line skirt. It’s all cut out and ready to go. Next step is to purchase the special hidden zipper foot for my sewing machine. I found a good video about how to sew an invisible zipper too. Watch this space perhaps to see another skirt or maybe some more how to videos!
My fourth piece in the Frost series evolved from an oil pastel sketch via a flat piece of appliqué to a number of stuffed pods as I began sampling. I more or less followed the shapes and colours of the initial drawing, but gave myself some additional rules to follow in choosing the colour threads for the hard-edged appliqué which all adds to the colour dynamism. Joined with invisible thread the pods appear to float in space. This time the pods are small and light and can be easily hung on a picture hook. Out of the 4 pieces, I think I like this one best of all. I have just the space for it in my conservatory!
As you can see, having a long piece of work can be problematic for blogging as the text doesn’t wrap around easily. I do want to get across something of the scale of the piece though and so, the measurements are approximately 121cm x 21cm. For those of you who are interested, I’ve also added the sizes to the other pieces too.
It’s amazing how far you can make your scraps go. I made 17 cards out of my two samples. Here is an example of a card made from each of the techniques described in an earlier blog post.
If Frost used fabric he might have decided to mix materials. He might have decided to fray the edges. So my experiments led me to both of those things. Simple colours and shapes took along time to arrange and many drawings to satisfy the need for just the right amount of white. I had already purchased lots of fabric for this series of work and I was having a moment of guilt about doing that, especially as I’d been forced into buying yet more storage containers to keep it all in. So I discovered a remnant of white leatherette, an oddment of black silk and some red cotton. Why couldn’t I mix them together instead of sticking purely to cotton? The leatherette is beautiful to stitch into with the sewing machine – I really must use some more of it.
I carefully, but not too carefully, cut my templates and set about cutting out the fabrics and arranging and rearranging them until they were right. Sprinkling the backs of the shapes with magic bonding powder and ironing them in place, I then stitched them on to the grey background, measuring lots of times to attempt aligned edges. This kind of discipline is good for me even if it drives me to distraction. I admire you quilters for your patience and neatness! But I knew instantly what I should have done. I should have backed the pieces with proper Bondaweb to stop them fraying. But I hadn’t and I had to try and recover the piece without tearing it up in frustration. So I made a feature out of the fraying and frayed it further. On reflection it works well – softening the edges around the leatherette, adding texture and making it a textile piece and not just trying to imitate the painted surface. I’ve grown quite fond of it and it is in my favourite colour combination!