Module 3 – Chapter 9

This chapter required me to use a few of the techniques used in this module in an experimental way, working from a design based on the theme of spirals.  Techniques from precious modules could also be used.

I decided to base my design on the spiral of stained glass windows that I showed in Chapter 1 (image 9.1 below) as it gave me the opportunity to use colour and shape in an exciting way.

image Image 9.1

I made a line drawing of the shapes within the window (image 9.2)

imageImage 9.2

Next I used some L-shaped mount boards to try cropping the picture in different ways in order to identify a section on which to base my sample, see images 9.3 and 9.4 below.

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Image 9.3                    Image 9.4

I decided that a long thin shape presented an interesting, abstract section.  I therefore decided to base my sample on the section shown in Image 9.4.  This section provides variety in the size of shapes which will give interest to my design work.

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Image 9.5

Image 9.5 shows a version of the design which I coloured using my theme colours of blue and yellow when I was thinking about how to make the design in stitch. 

My thoughts regarding the design were:

  • To use the multi-layered reverse appliqué technique (from Module 1) as the use of several layers of fabric could create the multi-coloured stained glass windows. 
  • To use a matt finish fabric for the top layer as this would represent the stone area around the windows
  • To use silky fabrics in vibrant colours as the layers underneath to represent the shining stained glass
  • To use the techniques of gelli-printing spirals onto the fabric (Module 3) for the top layer using a mix of white and sand coloured fabric paint to create a stone-textured finish.
  • To use hand-stitching of spiral shapes (Module 3) in neutral shades to accentuate the spiral shape and further enhance the stone-look and texture on the top layer.
  • To use machine stitching in spirals (Module 3) on top of the silk windows and use whip stitch (Module 2) to create a speckled effect representing the tiny pieces of glass in a stained glass window

Creating my fabric sample

To start creating my sample I traced the design onto a piece of tracing paper (Image 9.6) and used carbon paper to transfer this to the fabric for my top layer (Image 9.7)

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Image 9.6              Image 9.7  

Next I used a gelli-plate to print spiral shapes on to the fabric for the top layer (Image 9.8)

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Image 9.8

Next I:

  • selected some silk fabrics in jewel colours and sandwiched them behind my printed top layer
  • stitched around the edge of the piece and around the window shapes
  • cut out the fabric on top of the window shapes close to the line of stitching (image 9.9)

imageImage 9.9 – the sample when the  first layer had been cut back

I then stitched a series of lines around the window shapes, cutting the fabric each time (Image 9.10)

imageImage 9.10

To add texture to the ‘stone’ area I added rows of hand-stitching using matt finish threads such as linen and cotton in various thicknesses and  neutral tones (images 9.11 and 9.12).

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Image 9.11                    Image 9.12

 

Next I wanted to enhance the jewel-like appearance of the stained glass windows and so used free-machine embroidery all over the silk areas using silk threads in spiral designs (Image 9.13). I used different coloured threads in the bobbin and used whip stitch by loosening the bobbin tension so that it would be pulled up to the top slightly to create a speckled effect.

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Image 9.13                                Image 9.14

An unfortunate side-effect of doing this dense machine stitching was that it contracted the fabric, making the edge of the piece uneven (Image 9.15).  It was at this point that I realised I should not have trimmed the edges of the piece so early on, and maybe adding a stabilising fabric on the back of the piece would have reduced the contraction. 

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Image 9.15

My challenge next was to find a way of mounting the piece which wouldn’t lose too much off the edges, but would hide the wavy edges.  I considered two approaches:

  • making a simple mount-board frame and attaching the sample behind it
  • stitching the sample to a backing cloth and stretching it over a mount board

As the sample is long and thin I felt that it would look better if it had a frame around it to make it stand out more and so decided to use a mount frame (image 9.16)

image  Image 9.16 – framed completed sample

I am very pleased with how the sample looks now that it has been mounted as it has hidden the distorted edges.  For future projects I will remember not to trim the sides until the sample is complete so that any contraction from stitching can be coped with better.  I am pleased with the contrasts on the sample between the vibrant stained glass areas and the heavily hand-stitched sections in between. 

imageImage 9.17 – verification photo of me working on Module 3.

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