Project 6 – Stage 3 Applied Fabric Techniques


I had been pleased with the results of quite a few of the images from the last stage.  I felt some had better colour dynamics and others more movement so I decided to combine these for the appliqué sample.

I have done some appliqué before, hand and machine.  I have also successfully used Bondaweb in appliqué projects, especially machine appliqué where I feel it gives a better finished look to the work.  I am limited in time and with money so I decided not to explore Tyvek as an appliqué medium, although I have enjoyed looking at artists’s work with modern materials as part of my background reading.

I experimented with layering, cutting away and trapping bits and pieces between the layers in these two samples that also incorporated quilting:

Stitch Dissolve Distort by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey (from the course reading list) is an excellent source for techniques using all sorts of stabilising, soluble and embellishing fabrics such as vanishing muslin and fusible webbing, along with foils, glues and powders.

I reserved a copy of Kim Tittichai’s Experimental Textiles a few weeks ago but it hasn’t arrived yet.  Instead I watched a YouTube video where she showed some interesting techniques using painted Tyvek heated with both a domestic flat iron and a heat gun which produced some lovely textured bubbles and lace.  My recycling-self was intrigued to hear that Tyvek is the fabric used to make disposable overalls, like the type employed by scenes of crime officers.  I now just need to make friends with a pathologist …

For the last sample in this page I drew inspiration from these images of the organic flower shape:

DSC_0007 DSC_0008-b

and played around with the stripes and colours a bit.

I had saved some chocolate, crisp and biscuit wrappers, a mixture of the type that are just plastic and some with a foil layer.  I had a bit of fun using a hot iron on this type of plastic instead (in between sheets of baking parchment to preserve my iron).  Some of the plastic wrappers melt very easily and some take longer, but it did not seem to depend on whether there was a foil layer, they all produced some very exciting bubbly texture eventually.  I laid the textured plastic on a plain fabric backing, then over the top I laid some ruby coloured shot organza.  I gingerly tacked the layers together around the edge as I did not want to leave holes in the plastic that might show up in the finished sample.

Next I set up the darning foot, dropped the feed dog and set the sewing machine off on a ramble across the layers of fabric.  I used a large needle and was a little worried that all the stitching would begin to rip the plastic, as it was stiffer and more brittle since ironing but it seemed to remain quite resiliant.  I cut out the organic flower shapes from woven stripey cottons, salvaged from a shirt and skirt from my 1980s wardrobe.  These I applied to the background with free machine stitching without bonding first with Bondaweb.  I was a little worried that more heat might change the plastic layer and I was also in a bit of a hurry (never a good thing).

I am not particularly impressed with my free machine stitching around the flowers, it is very wiggly but it was quite hard to manipulate the sample as the background fabric is so stiff and it kept bumping up against the sides of the machine and slowing me down.  I need some more practice to make this kind of stitching a bit more even.  I have tried some Poppy Treffry-style machine appliqué before, adding text to small projects and this has usually come out quite well but it was always on a small pliable piece of fabic.

Lastly, I further embellished the smaller flowers with some more free machine sqiggles in gold coloured thread and the larger applied shapes with some hand embroidered running stitches in red and French knots in a gold embroidery thread.

I like the finished piece a lot.  There is depth with the background bubbling, swirly texture, movement with the stripes against the curves, although I tried to line up the stripes in the flowers to make the piece more cohesive, and some pleasing colours with the red against the silver and grey and a pop of gold here and there.


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