Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chapter 12 - Mock up of bag with a gusset

Below are a couple of photos of a mock up of my proposed final 3D project made with white card and thick cotton thread for the shoulder strap. The elements have been taped together with sellotape. My plan is to use black fabric for the gusset, decorated possibly with overlapping flaps of fabric representing the scales of the tortoise legs.

 The shoulder strap will be made from a braid of machine stitched cords.

I really like these little 3D shapes moulded to replicate the raised protrusions found on some tortoise shells.

Next step is to try and pull all these elements together! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Module 2, Chapter 12, Stage 2: Creating a Functional, 3 Dimensional Embroidered Item

In preparation for making the final project for this module I began by returning to my monoprinted and dyed fabrics stash from earlier, picking a few to machine stitch. Below is a selection of a few of my new decorated fabrics. This time I was a lot more comfortable playing with both cable stitch and whip stitch. I also enjoyed incorporating both of these approaches to machine stitching on the same piece of fabric. I found that they complement each other rather well. The scrunched up piece of fabric on the top of the image below was especially interesting. I really like the ruched effect whip stitch can create especially when machined fast!

The next step was to create the pattern based on a section of the tortoise shell from one of my research images earlier in the module. This shape was just different enough to lift my bag design from the ordinary and expected. That it waspart of the tortoise whose shell had informed so much of my experimental work simply added to the effect for me.

Now with design and shape in hand it was time to make a pattern from which to cut the pieces of the bag. I enlarged the shape on cartridge paper, then traced it on to architect's paper, before cutting out pattern pieces from pelmet vilene and lining fabric, which was cotton canvas. I also created a window shape of the design to help me audition which sections of the combined fabrics I would use for both front and back panels.

Using Bondaweb I ironed the cotton canvas to the insides of the bag panels.

Now the real fun began! It was time to start playing and experimenting with fabric layouts to create both front and back panels of the bag. But first back to the drawing board! Covering the table with painted and decorated papers I played with some of the design ideas previously explored, only this time bearing in mind the finished object.

I knew I wanted one side to be somehow based upon or derived from the Fibonnaci design, as I had enjoyed the beauty of its geometry when experimenting with it earlier in the module.

First I choose a selection of fabrics to sew together in strips keeping a close eye on their tonality.

Next I cut the combined piece into the Fibonnaci sequence - 1-1-2-3 = 2"-2"-4"-6"

To rejoin the pieces I cut some black fabric following the Fibonnaci sequence again and sewed the strips together into a single piece. Below is the front of the fabric with seams facing outwards.

Much as I like the effect of the outward facing seams which will be ravelled back as far as possible, I also loved the effect of the back of this piece and was rather pleased with the overall effect of the stitched and decorated fabrics. I would never have thought that such a simple approach to fabric play could generate such effective work!

Next step was to take the cardboard cut out of the pattern and audition which section of the pieced fabric I would choose for the front panel. How about this?

Or this?

Back to the drawing board, or rather the cutting and pasting board to play with ideas of placement bearing quality of tonality in mind:

Which led to this: Note that the pattern piece still needs to be cut to size as well as having it's seams shredded.

For the back panel I wanted to work with the quality of value moving from light to dark. I loved the blackwork section of this module and was keen to incorporate elements which harkened back to the days of such glorious embroidery. So I started by cutting and pasting some of my decorated papers on to the mock pattern piece.

Next job was to recreate the above with fabric. Choosing my fabrics carefully I stitched them into strips before cutting them roughly into the panel shape. Bother panels will be completed by adhering the fabric to the other sides of the pelmet vilene once I have fully frayed all the seams. Otherwise there is a chance that the action of pulling at the seams and fraying the fabric will loosen the panel from its supporting vilene.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Module 2, Chapter 12, Stage 2, continued

Continuing to play and experiment with surface design for my bag, I began by adapting the method worked in an earlier chapter, but instead of stitching for shibori dyeing, I stitched with a view to gathering the painted, dyed and patched fabrics in order to generate entirely new designs through stitching.

In the first example below I began by choosing one of my log cabin samples and stitched uneven lines of running stitch before gathering. Unfortunately because I stitched with normal sewing quality polyester thread, one of the lines of stitching broke. Thinking about this I came to two conclusions - the first was to use shibori quality thread next time, and secondly ungathered sections create a more interesting finished effect.

Log cabin sample:

Log cabin, stitched:

Log cabin gathered tightly:

In the next sample I chose some commercial striped fabric and gathered it more loosely than previous sample. I then rearranged the gathers in order to imitate, at least partially the lines in the image of the tiger's markings below.

Tiger markings:

Striped fabric:

Striped fabric, gathered loosely and then rearranged in an attempt to capture the tiger markings above:

Wrapping fabric strips with thread:

Instructions from "Three Dimensional Embroidery" by Janet Edmonds

Finely woven linen in first 'failed' black dye bath, wrapped in white crochet cotton:

Next step was to coil the above wrapped fabric into a pointed shape reminiscent of peaked shapes on tortoise shell:

I really like this shape. Definite possibilities for a possible panel for my tortoise inspired bag!
So I tried it again, this time using some of my more successful dyed black fabric, wrapping the fabric with white crochet cotton. Again I really like this little sample, even better than the one above, although sewing it into a coil shape was very hard on my fingers. Will need to remember to use a thimble next time and hope that needle doesn't break!!

Still wanting to experiment with a similar shape using a different construction, this time based on Jean Draper's "Raised structure with bound points" in her brilliant book Stitch and Structure, I created these little shapes. Though they have possibilities, I think I prefer the solidity of the above shapes for my bag. Reckon they will be considerably more hard wearing! :)

All in all a good day filled with lots of experimenting. What I enjoyed most was taking some of the earlier methods used in previous chapters and samples and adapting them in a new way.  Happy to be moving forward in my ideas for my bag, and beginning to "see" it evolve........


Three Dimensional Embroidery,  Janet Edmonds

Stitch and Structure,  Jean Draper

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Module 2: Chapter 12 - Stage 2

The following pages are all from my sketchbook devoted entirely to gathering ideas for designing my functional, three dimensional embroidered item.

Working and playing with the 3D shapes in stage 1 (previous post) generated a few potential ideas. The two which seemed to hold the most interesting possibilities for working within a fairly limited colour palette were baby blocks made from pelmet vilene with each side displaying a variety of blackwork and other tonal hand and free machine embroideries; and bags. In the end I chose to work with bags, having discovered an interesting link between Native American Indian / Aboriginal medicine bags and a close relative to one of the animals I was researching, with an emphasis on the markings on his shell - the tortoise and turtle.

Native American Indian mothers sometimes make fetish medicine bags for their babies. These bags are made in the shape of animals whose attributes the mothers hope their little ones will develop. Girls fetish bags are made in the shape of turtles. Turtles are known for their long life spans. Turtles also symbolize Mother Earth, and are ancient symbols of longevity and patience. They only carry what they need - their shell.
Boys fetish bags are made in the shape of lizards. Lizards and snakes are known for their stealth and speed, qualities mothers wish for their male children. These bags function as good luck charms. When the child grows older the bags are sometimes attached to the child's belt.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Chapter 12, Stage 1

3-D shapes

The four 3-D shapes above were made from felt.
Top left is a cube.
Bottom left is a cylinder.
Bottom right was created from 3 equilateral triangles stitched together to form a pyramid.
Top right was created from 3 squares stitched together to make a triangular tunnel shape.

Looking back over sketches drawn earlier in this module I noticed the rather interesting mis-shapen 'squares' - 4 turned sideways makes a 'diamond' of sorts.

I am especially intrigued by the number of different variations possible when combining squares and rectangles together to generate composite 3 D shapes. I began experimenting and developing the following 3D shape:

I began by cutting 9 small rectangles, each measuring 1 3/4 inch by 1 1/4 inch. Since there were so many tiny pieces of fabric I decided to forgo the pleasure of hand sewing them together, much as I enjoyed stitching by hand for the initial 3 D samples, and instead seamed them together using a narrow machine zigzag.

Next step was to start combining the resulting triangles:

(i) stitched 2 triangles together, this time by hand:


(iii) 3 triangles joined together along the same seam:

Tessellated triangles: