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.

image image

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.


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)


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)


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).

2016-08-13 22.08.29image 

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.

image image

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. 


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.