Module 2 – Chapter 8 part 2

Simple ideas for trimmings


I made a selection of ribbons using layers of fabrics and machine embroidery.

image image

Image 8.10                                    Image 8.11

Images 8.10 and 8.11 show a ribbon made from two layers of hand dyed and printed fabrics with free machine embroidery used to define the circular printed shapes.  I was pleased with the alligator skin appearance that this created.

image image

Image 8.12                                            Image 8.13

Images 8.12 and 8.13 show a ribbon made from four layers of fabric of decreasing widths stitched on top of each other.  I then free machine embroidered over three of the fabric layers.

image image

Image 8.14                                                        Image 8.15

Images 8.14 and 8.15 show a ribbon made from one strip of black fabric with programmed machine embroidery stitches.   I was not particularly pleased with this effect but, in hindsight, it may have looked better with many more rows of stitching overlapping to create a more interesting texture and to lose the regularity of the embroidery stitches.

image image

Image 8.16                                                      Image 8.17

Images 8.16 and 8.17 show a ribbon made from one strip of Shibori printed fabric with machine embroidery which follows the printed markings.  Whilst this was one of the simplest ribbons I was pleased with how effective it was.


Image 8.18

Image 8.18 shows four chords which were made as follows:

Top: one strip of fabric rolled and twisted and secured with zig-zag stitch

Second from top:  two strips of fabric rolled and twisted together and secured with zig-zag stitch

Second from bottom:  one strip of fabric rolled and stitched then knotted at intervals

Bottom:  two strips of fabric rolled and stitched then knotted at intervals




Image 8.19

The toggles in image 8.19 were all made by rolling strips of fabric and securing with thread. 

Far left: roll of monoprinted fabric rolled and secured with sewing thread.

Second from left:  roll of Shibori printed fabric rolled and secured with linen thread.

Second from right:  roll of  purchased printed fabric rolled and secured with sewing thread.  The edges were roughed up with scissors to give a frayed look.

Far right:  roll of monoprinted fabric with a length of linen fabric sandwiched in and frayed then rolled and secured with linen thread.


Image 8.20

The toggles in image 8.20 were all made by rolling triangular shaped pieces of fabric to make toggles that were thicker in the middle and tapered to the edges.  I experimented with the angles of the triangles to vary the lengths and thickness of the toggles.



Image 8.21

The toggles in image 8.21 were all made by folding fabric chords and knotting them near the fold.

Left:  this was a bundle of narrow strips of Shibori fabric twisted together and knotted.

Middle:  strip of purchased printed fabric rolled into a tubular chord and stitched then knotted

Right:  Chord made from Shibori fabric folded, machine embroidered then knotted.


Module 2 – Chapter 8 part 1

“Not what it seams”

I made a series of samples in which I used different materials and techniques to add interest to a seam.  In all of the samples I used some of my Shibori dyed fabrics.

image Image 8.1

In this sample I trapped a piece of muslin cloth which had been cut into diamond shape into the seam.  I then frayed the edges and stitched it down so that it lay flat.  I felt that the rough edges and textures worked well with the random print of the fabric to create quite an organic effect.


Image 8.2

In this sample I used quite a coarsely woven linen as an insert into the seam and frayed it to create a fringe effect.


Image 8.3

This sample was not a great success!  I inserted a strip of Tyvek into the seam having first machine embroidered it.  Having stored my welding iron in a very safe place and being unable to find it, I attempted to melt and distort sections of the Tyvec using a candle flame.  As well as being dangerous this was largely ineffective.  I do however, think that this could produce an interesting, quite industrial looking effect if executed properly.

image Sample 8.4

In this sample, knotted chord was inserted into the seam to make simple tassels.

image Image 8.5

I used a thick cotton thread to make a series of loops which I stitched into the seam and then snipped to make a fringe.  I quite liked the spidery appearance of this fringing.



Image 8.6

In this sample I inserted a length of antique lace into the seam.  I then cut it into strips and stitched these down on alternate sides of the seam and machined a line of stitching between each one in a contrasting black thread.  This was one of my favourite samples as I liked the way it resembled a fish skeleton.

image Image 8.7

The embellishment on this seam was a length of mulberry bark which a separated into strands and stitched down at intervals on top of the seam.

image Image 8.8

I inserted a length of fabric into the seam, cut it into strips and then knotted each strip to create tassels.


Image 8.9

This was my favourite sample.  I attached some wooden beads to black cotton thread and stitched the ends into the seam.  I was pleased with the way that the beads looked like berries on the end of stalks poking out of the seam.

This was an inspiring module for me.  I had always thought of seams as a simply functional way of joining two fabrics whereas this exercise showed me how they can become an opportunity for decoration.

Module 2 – Chapter 7

Traditional piecing methods

I used some of my printed papers to make some log cabin style designs.  See images 7.1 – 7.3 below.  This was a useful exercise in illustrating the need for strong contrasts between the prints in order to make the patchwork pattern stand out.  This was achieved in some of the samples where there were mainly black and white strips, but less so in the mid-tone patterned strips.

image image

Image 7.1                       Image 7.2


Image 7.3

Creating fabric samples

image image

Image 7.4                             Image 7.5

As with the paper samples, I had mixed success in positioning the strips in a way which maximised the contrast between adjacent strips.  Image 7.4 worked reasonably as it has a large strips.  Image 7.5 was less effective as many of the fabrics seemed to merge together.

image image

Image 7.6           Image 7.7

Images 7.6 and 7.7 show the front and back of the same sample.  I decided to try stitching the seams on the right side of the and then snipped the seams and tried to fray them.  As the quilting fabric had a very tight weave it was difficult to fray the edges and so I don’t think that this attempt was very effective.  I preferred the rear which had neater seams and a faded look to the prints.

image Image 7.8

Image 7.8 shows a sample where the contrasts in fabric were more effective.  I inserted strands of boucle wool into the seams to add interest.

Seminole method

I created a series of designs using the Seminole method using printed papers.  This is a patchwork method of using small strips of fabric to create intricate designs, originally used by native American Indians to create clothing.

image image

Image 7.9                 Image 7.10


Image 7.11

I realised whilst making these samples that I have used the Seminole method previously in patchwork projects, but did not know what it was called.  For example, the chequerboard pattern at the top of Image 7.11 is frequently used in many patchwork quilts.   Once again, some of the designs got a bit lost due to the similarity in tone of some of the strips.  If I were to do this exercise again, I would ensure that when creating the printed strips I would create a greater range of tones.

Creating fabric Seminole samples

image image

Image 7.12                                Image 7.13

Images 7.12 and 7.13 show samples made using the fabrics that I printed.  I was quite pleased with the overall effect of these samples as I felt that they gave a good representation of animal prints.


Image 7.14

Image 7.14 shows a sample where the mid section was set at an angle.  I had not done any piecing like this before and was pleased with the result…it looks harder than it was which is always satisfying!

image image

Image 7.15                  Image 7.16

Images 7.15 and 7.16 show some of the stages of a larger sample that I made using a made-up design.  Having sliced the sample 7.15  diagonally (image 7.16) I inserted narrow strips and re-joined the pieces.  I created a border using pieced strips with machine embroidery on them and also inserted some frayed linen in to some of the seams to add texture.  See images 7.17 and 7.18.

image  Image 7.17   


Image 7.18

I really enjoyed this exercise in Seminole piecing and can imagine using it to create interesting quilts from small scraps of fabric rather than wasting them.

Module 2 – Chapter 6

Collect patterned fabrics

I bought a selection of quilting weight fabrics printed in black and white in a variety of patterns as shown in Images 6.1 and 6.2 below.

 image image

Image 6.1             Image 6.2


Patterning fabrics

image Image 6.3

I patterned some white cotton fabric using cold water black Dylon fabric dye using tie and dye, Shibori and mono-printing techniques. 

As the photograph above shows, the contrast in tone of the tie and dye and Shibori was quite strong when the fabrics were wet, but as they dried the colour faded to a blue/grey colour.  I discussed this with Sian during my tutorial at summer school and concluded that I may get a better result by using a Procion Dye, making the dye mixture more concentrated and/or leaving the fabric in the dye for longer.  As I have not decided yet what my final piece will be for the module, I have postponed dying another batch as I may wish to use a different type of fabric.  For example, one idea I have is to make a lampshade using lightweight fabrics in which case I will die a batch of silk organza.

Tie and Dye

image image

Image 6.4                                Image 6.5

Image 6.4 shows the result of tying off small sections of fabric.  Image 6.5 shows the result of tying off one section of fabric with multiple bands.

image image

Image 6.6             Image 6.7

Image 6.7 shows the effect achieved by folding a piece of fabric into four lengthways and then tying off sections along the folded edges.

Tritik Shibori

image image

Image 6.8                                Image 6.9

Image 6.9 shows the result of hand stitched gathering in a random pattern.  I was pleased with the marbled effect that this technique achieved.

image image

Image 6.10                   Image 6.11

Images 6.10 and 6.11 show the effects of making several rows of running stitch and gathering the fabric.  Image 6.10 was hand stitched and 6.11 was machine stitched. 

image image

Image 6.12                     Image 6.13

Image 6.13 shows the effect of stitching using a long running stitch in a spiral pattern and then gathering the stitches. 

Arashi Shibori

 image image

Image 6.14                     Image 6.15

Images 6.14 and 6.15 show the effect achieved using the Arashi Shibori technique.  I wrapped a piece of fabric around a plastic tube and then bound it with cotton and then pushed the gathered sections together before applying the dye.  The second sample, 6.15 created a particularly interesting pattern which created a good representation of the patterns on a butterfly’s wing.


Monoprinting using fabric paint and Gelli plate

All of these samples were created using white cotton and black fabric paint.

image image

Image 6.16                  Image 6.17

Image 6.16 – circles drawn onto the surface of the Gelli plate using a wedge shaped rubber

Image 6.17 – marks made with wedge shaped rubber

image image

Image 6.18              Image 6.19

Image 6.18 – the edge of a piece of folded paper used to make overlapping loop shapes

Image 6.19 – this was one of the first samples I made and the paint didn’t apply smoothly on the Gelli plate and created this interesting mottled effect.  The circles were created using the end of a glue stick.

image image

Image 6.20                Image 6.21

Image 6.20 – paint was applied using a roller and then partially scraped off using a dry brush to create the lined background.  The circle shapes were created by pressing an un-peeled Satsuma onto the Gelli plate.

Image 6.21 – again, this was an early sample where the paint didn’t sit smoothly on the surface and caused this mottled effect.  The lines were created by scraping the edge of a ruler onto the plate.


Image 6.22

Image 6.22 shows the effect of printing twice onto the same piece of fabric.  The first print was not very effective and so I printed onto it a second time using a small glue stick to make circles on the Gelli plate.

I enjoyed making these prints using the Gelli plate which was a new treat that I bought at the Distant Stitch summer school.  This exercise showed me the potential for creating any pattern on fabric that I may need for a project.