Module 5 – Chapter 5

 Quilting, padding and stuffing

Wadded quilting:  this is the method of quilting with which I am most familiar i.e. three layers stitched together.

Image 5.1 – cotton lawn top, cotton wadding, calico base.  Stitched in grid design using contrast thread


Image 5.2 – a scrap of eco-dyed scrim top, cotton wadding, calico base.  Stitched using contrast thread using free machine embroidery.

image Image 5.3 – brushed cotton top, double layer of cotton wadding, calico  base.  Stitched using white cotton.  This produced a very soft sample with quite high loft due to the double layer of wadding and the softness of the fabric.

image Image 5.4 – synthetic organza top, strips of sari silk as wadding, calico base.  Stitched  with white thread.  use of this semi-transparent top enabled the colour variations and folds in the silk wadding to show through.

image Image 5.5 – cotton scrim top, cotton fishing net wadding, calico base.  The netting was placed on irregularly i.e. there were thick and thin patches. This was quite heavily quilted in places with white thread in some places, and less so in others to add to the variation in the height of the loft.  I then snipped it in places to reveal the netting, which was found on the same beach as the rocks in my photographs in chapter 1.  This is one of my favourite samples.  The use of natural fibres and variety of smooth/low patches and higher patches with the net bursting through create a very exciting surface.

image Image 5.6 – Synthetic organza top, tissue paper strips as wadding, calico base.  Stitched in white thread in shapes similar to the torn paper pieces.  This produced a very flat, smooth sample.

image Image 5.7 –  synthetic organza top, strips of knotted cotton lawn as wadding, calico base.  Stitched along the length of the wadding strips and then melted in places to reveal the wadding.  The textures of this sample were quite pleasing i.e. the bumps formed by the knots, the edges of the strips poking through the top layer, and the burned edges of the synthetic top.

image Image 5.8 – cotton lawn top. cotton wadding, calico base.  Stitched in double lines (not a twin needle) with white thread  and then punched with large tapestry needle to make holes.  I was surprised at how effective the needle punch holes were.  I can imagine this technique being used in my final piece to represent pebble areas.

 Shaped quilting – for these samples I used a base fabric, added shapes made from various materials and then a top layer.

image Image 5.9 – cotton scrim top, pieces of sea-smoothed pottery (also found on the same beach) and a calico base.  Stitched with blue thread using free machine embroidery to fill the spaces around the shapes.  I chose blue thread to echo the pale willow pattern on some of the pottery.

image Image 5.10 – polythene top, map pieces as filling, calico base.   Stitched around the shapes with white thread.

image Image 5.11 – tights fabric top, slices of silk pod as filling, calico base.  Stitched using free machine embroidery to fill the space around the shapes.  I pulled the fabric tight over the silk pods to create dish-type shapes.  I quite liked the slightly alien appearance of this sample.

image Image 5.12 – nylon netting top, cords of twisted threads as filling, stiff Aida base.  Stitched along the sides of the shapes to hold them in place, and then snipped in places to further reveal some of the threads and add more texture.

image Image 5.13 – silk chiffon top, haberdashery items as filling, calico base.  Stitched in white to outline the shapes.

image Image 5.14 – synthetic organza top with large needle holes punched in it, knotted yarn filling, calico base.  Stitched in white to outline the shapes.

image Image 5.15 – plastic vegetable netting top, cotton wool filling, calico base.  Stitched in white thread.


Image 5.16 – synthetic organza top, small balls of wool fleece as filling, black cotton base.  Stitched with white thread through a twin needle to create dense areas of stitching.

Padded quilting – for these samples I used a base layer and top layer, and then added stuffing afterwards.


Image 5.17 – cotton jersey top on calico base.  I stitched these enclosed shapes and then slit the calico on the back and inserted synthetic wadding to fill the shapes, and then stitched the slits closed.  I was pleased with the beautifully smooth, rounded shapes created with this technique and with the use of a twin needle to create an outline around the shapes.


Image 5.18 – synthetic organza top on a calico base.  I stitched the leaf shape and then stuffed it from a slit in the base fabric using a mixture of cut threads.

Corded quilting


Image 5.19 – this sample has just one layer of fabric, I used calico.  The cording was created using a twin needle and a thick thread fed through the hole in the footplate of my sewing machine.  This was the first time I have used this technique and am very impressed with the simple texture that can be added to a piece of fabric in this way.

imageImage 5.20 – in this sample I combined a couple of techniques i.e. corded and shaped quilting.  I used a calico base, pale grey synthetic top and tiny balls of wool fleece as the shapes which I stitched around with cord through a twin needle.  I am pleased with the landscape-like effect that this has produced.  I had a go at trying to melt the surface of this sample with a candle which wasn’t particularly successful.  I was hoping the fabric would pucker and shrink over the filling but it just melted into holes.  I have ordered a hot air gun and will try again when it has been delivered to see if a more controllable heat source is more effective.

image Image 5.21 – in this final sample I used cotton lawn, loosened the bobbin tension and then cord quilted from both sides of the fabric.  I then unthreaded the machine and stitched through the fabric to produce needle marks.  I was very pleased with the sketch-like effect produced.

I have really enjoyed this chapter.  My introduction to textile art was through quilting.  I visited the Festival of Quilts and saw some of the workshops run by people doing strange and interesting things to fabric which made me want to know more!  Using these three methods of quilting in explorative ways, ‘with non-standard’ materials, has been very informative about how they can be used to represent different textures.


Module 5 – Chapter 4

Fabric investigation

In this chapter I explored different types of fabrics and how they respond to different treatments such as stretching, fraying and exposure to a direct flame.

I collected samples of a variety of fabrics, both natural and synthetic as shown in images 4.1 and 4.2 below.  The code  W or NW refers to whether the fabric is woven or non-woven.

image Image 4.1


From left top to bottom:  Coarse linen W, Fine linen W,  loose weave fabric (synthetic) W, silk mesh W (synthetic) , Bondaweb NW (synthetic), interfacing NW (synthetic).

From right, top to bottom: Cotton / polyester batting NW (part synthetic), wool felt NW, brushed cotton W, fine cotton lawn W, lightweight calico W.

image Image 4.2

From left top to bottom:  silk dupion W, sari silk W, cotton muslin W, sheer nylon (synthetic) W,  synthetic organza W.

From right, top to bottom: synthetic sparkly organza W, silk chiffon W, silk organza W, curtain tape W (synthetic), velcro  NW (synthetic), cotton interfacing W, pelmet stiffener NW (synthetic).

I then selected four fabrics to investigate their qualities further.

image Image 4.3

Fabric Interfacing – synthetic – non woven
Creasing Doesn’t crease easily, creases spring out when released
Stretching Doesn’t stretch along the length, pulls apart on the bias
Fraying Pulls apart to create a fibrous edge; shorter fibres exposed when frayed on the bias than sideways
Melting Melts easily, creates a hard blackened edge; Puckers when held close to heat source

image Image 4.4

Fabric Wadding – cotton/polyester mix – non woven
Creasing Doesn’t crease
Stretching Doesn’t stretch , pulls apart easily
Fraying Doesn’t fray, pulls apart to create a soft edge; the same in all directions
Melting Doesn’t melt despite some synthetic content. Smoulders and turns black.

image Image 4.5

Fabric Synthetic loose weave, woven
Creasing Doesn’t crease much
Stretching Doesn’t stretch along or across the weave, stretches a lot on bias
Fraying Frays very easily.  Edge along the bias can be frayed easily.
Melting Melts easily and creates hard edge which seals it and stops fraying.  Doesn’t pucker when held near heat.

image Image 4.6

Fabric Synthetic organza, woven
Creasing Doesn’t crease much, retains feint creases when released
Stretching Doesn’t stretch along or across the weave, stretches a lot on bias
Fraying Frays very easily.  Edge along the bias can be frayed easily.
Melting Melts easily and creates hard edge which seals it and stops fraying.  Puckers when held near heat.

Next I explored how different techniques can be applied to create a variety of edges on fabric:

image Image 4.7

From top to bottom:

  1. Synthetic loose weave, frayed and cut
  2. Synthetic interfacing, melted
  3. Cotton lawn, scallop edge machine embroidery
  4. Cotton scrim, snipped and twisted
  5. Linen, frayed and cut
  6. Synthetic yarn, knotted and twisted
  7. Synthetic organza with corded edge
  8. Silk, gathered and twisted
  9. Synthetic netting, twisted and stitched over
  10. Linen, zig-zag stitched with loops pulled from machine thread
  11. Chiffon, knotted and stuffed with yarn
  12. Wool felt, snipped and twisted
  13. Wool felt, snipped and folded

This experimentation has increased my understanding of the qualities of different types, weights and structures of fabric, and how these can be used to artistic effect.

Module 5 – Chapter 3

Texture and relief in paper

I chose four of the photographs of rocks that I had taken and edited to show the textures more clearly, and then used a selection of papers to try to translate the texture using paper.


Image 3.1

Image 3.1 shows, in the centre, my photo of smooth, cobble-like rocks with deep gaps between them.  The paper representations are, from the top clockwise: 

  1. scrunched up balls of tissue paper trapped under a sheet of tissue, and then the top layer was cut to make the gaps.
  2. waxed tissue, heavily creased and then snipped
  3. tissue paper torn into strips, twisted, then knotted and twisted again
  4. torn patches of waxed tissue layered on top of each other, with a single layer over the top

I think that samples 1 and 3 were the most effective as they had the height required to represent the cobbles, whereas 2 and 4 were 2-dimensional.

image Image 3.2

Top left is my photo rock with numerous layers of loose shale.  From the top:

  1. rolled strips of tissue trapped under a smooth sheet of tissue
  2. waxed tissue paper scrunched up, flattened and then creased sideways
  3. tissue paper folded, ripped and cut along the folds and then opened out
  4. thin strips of torn tissue paper layered on top of each other

I think sample 1 was effective in terms of having some height, but could be adapted to make it more effective by using longer rolls of tissue.  Sample 2 was probably the most effective in representing the texture of the layered rock as it had both height, and contrasts in the colours formed where the paper was layered.

image Image 3.3

Top left shows two photos of which has layers of strong block shapes between fine layers of shale.  Clockwise from the right:

  1. tissue paper torn into strips, creased along the strips short-ways
  2. Knotted linen thread trapped under creased tissue paper  so that the creases run the same way as the threads to add more height
  3. waxed tissue paper heavily creased then torn into strips

Seeing these samples on my computer screen makes me realise that a sample with a combination of all three would produce a good representation of this rock, with sample 1 representing the blocks, and samples 2 and 3 adding texture and the impression of fine layers.

image Image 3.4

In this sample I creased some waxed tissue paper and then tore it in to block shapes which I layered and trapped under another sheet.  I was very pleased with the textures, and veining,  that were created using this layering method.