Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

Part 3 Creating Shapes and Three-dimensional Forms – Stage 2 Developing ideas and Stage 3 Applied fabric techniques.

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Taking on board the suggestion that my samples should help to develop ideas, I chose this simple inspiration which I had started in my sketchbook:


The mosaic was torn from a magazine advertisement and I had started to copy the mosaic in torn paper on the left and tried a few ideas on the right – felt on linen, linen on felt, felt on dyed cotton sheeting.  I prefer the surface texture of the wool felt but the acrylic felt is more raised and there is something about it that makes me want to run my fingers along the curves and feel the bumps as I move from square to square.

I enlarged the scale, using only the centre of the circle and tried invisible stitched hand applique.


Initially, I wondered what possessed me to stitch the sample on the right as I hadn’t left much allowance to turn the edges under neatly but I quite enjoyed it and like the raised effect of the orange pieces on the teal background, but the mosaic design lost its appeal by enlarging such a small section of the original picture.

I then enlarged another area of the mosaic and used soft-edged machine applique.  I like the colour combination, the blue of the background and the different tones of orange hand-dyed and painted fabrics and the contrasting textures of the appliqued shapes.


The stitching is a bit scruffy – I overshot the end several times.  I was surprised to realise that I was so unfamiliar with stitching with the feed dogs up, I had developed a bad habit of keeping my foot on the pedal too long.  When free machining the fabric stays still – with the feed dogs up the fabric keeps on going!

Although I liked aspects of the sample, I still feel that some of the movement in the original inspiration is lost when enlarged to this extent.

Returning to a smaller scale, I experimented with organza, felt and evolon and a soldering iron:


This was quite interesting.  I enlarged the mosaic circle enough to make some samples but not too much so as not to lose the essence of the original magazine picture and used a soldering iron to cut free-hand tile patterns.

Top left was a double layer of organza cut on a glass surface.  The organza melted very quickly and it was difficult to control and work neatly. The evolon (bottom left) was easy and pleasurable to cut with the soldering iron.  Bottom right is a single layer of organza on acrylic felt.  I like the way the burnt edges create a shadow effect on the felt and add depth.

Having enjoyed the result of using the soldering iron on evolon, I worked on the curved shape, shown on the left:


I am very pleased with these.  I particularly like the colours on the bottom sample as indicated although as it was randomly patterned with leftovers from an earlier workshop it might be difficult to replicate.

When cutting out the shapes with the soldering iron, the little squares remain on the glass. I ironed some painted bondaweb to net on the top right sample and organza on the bottom right sample and then ironed it onto the squares stuck on the glass.  When cool the pieces peeled off the glass.  An extra layer of net was added to the top of the net sample  Both shapes were cut out with the soldering iron.

I love the shadows created by the cut out evolon pieces create if held above the paper and have tried to illustrate this by taping the cut outs down as shown below left and colouring in some of the shadows below right.

DSCF4029           DSCF4107

The cut out evolon pieces above have great potential for further development.

Using the same theme, but experimenting with other materials, I tried this shape in organza on acrylic felt which isn’t very inspiring.  I also free-stitched a grid in cotton on two layers of organza and cut away some of the squares with the soldering iron.  This is a good method.  It is easy to cut away up to the machine stitching giving good control.  The bottom right piece had an additional layer of organza, in orange, machine stitched to the reverse before cutting out.


I also experimented with Tyvek.

On the left, three layers, difficult to melt with the soldering iron.  Second from the left I like the effect of picking off the top of three layers to reveal the colour underneath.  Third from the left, a quick random stitch of two layers to see if its easier to cut up to the cotton stitching.  It is.  Far right, much easier to cut out a single layer stitched or free hand:


I feel the above was a good exploration of techniques with some interesting outcomes from a very simple start point for inspiration.


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