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The Design Process

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1 February 2011

The Design Process

This is the design I’m using to make Julie (SilkLover) a butterfly. I’ve put it up before, but that was awhile ago…
I transferred the design using 3 layers as shown in the hoop :
A layer of muslim, a layer of white satin, then a layer of thin red organza.
I learnt that
a) the muslim probably wasn’t necessary
b) having THREE layers of fabric really meant that I should have sewn them down together around the perimeter of the hoop. The hoop kept moving, sliding all over the place and scarring the organza fabric. As well as being a big nuisance to handle. It is a good reliable hoop that I was using – but it couldn’t cope with all that material, especially since oranza is a bit slippery, and so is satin.
I was left with ‘scars’ and ‘runs’ (like in a stocking) on the organza encroaching ever nearer the butterfly outline. I was running out of border. And I’ve just been through not having enough border for Roses and Pansies (solution found, and 75% done, but that’s another post – I’m way way behind in posting!)
And then Rachel Wright, of VirtuoSew Adventures came to visit over the Christmas break. She and her husband were out from England to visit Australian relatives, and did me the honour of coming to visit me in my flat!
We had a lovely, lovely time. It wasn’t long enough. My cat Jasper sat in her lap – and he doesn’t sit in MY lap! Rachel reminds me a little of a cat herself  - very feminine and graceful.
She got to see the 16thC sampler ‘in the flesh’ (the first embroiderer to do so) and she showed me one of the two main panels of “Dreams of Armana” that she’s working on.
We also brainstormed the design for the butterfly. It was loads of fun :-)
I’m not going to reveal the full design here. I’m going to describe it step by step as I do it. I know Julie is reading along, to watch her piece being created, so I want my vision for the design to be a surprise!
I went on to try what I’m going to call the ‘wing pads’ in organza over muslim, to be appliqued to the main ground.
If you look at the design at the beginning of this post, you can see them – long ovoid shapes with plenty of veins in them.
I put a wing outline (using the transfer paper ChacoPaper – good stuff) onto my newly chosen background material.
This too is very thin – Rachel said it was a form of organza, but tougher than the stuff I’d been using before. She gave me a technical explanation, having a background in weaving, upon which I have notes – but I’m too tired to look them up now!
A few chalk lines from a tailor’s chalk pencil gave me lines against which to place the pads.
(Licking the point of the pencil first gives a better line, I’ve found)

When I placed the cut-out wings onto the outline, I found that leaving out two of the side pads looked better (there were originally two on each side of the main one).
But then, I found I’d made a terrible mistake.
I hadn’t read up on applique before starting this, and I haven’t done it before. I didn’t leave any border on each pad. So I sewed them down using tiny stitches across the cut edge of the organza, down onto the copper cloth.
I found that again, I was getting little ‘runs’ in the purple organza, same as I had with the red. (And I have a new swear word in my vocabulary).
They didn’t matter so much – they were tiny, from where the needle entered the organza (I was using a 12 Sharp), and the copper metallic veins distracted the eye.
But then they started to come away from the sewn edges.
I did a good patch up darning job on one which looked fine, then saw more coming up, and thought …… this just isn’t going to work.
So I’ve started anew.
The first thing I did (for a change from stitching as much as anything), was to colour in a copy of the design.
I used blues, although I’m actually using brown/orange thread to fill it in.
I’ve managed to do a fair bit of work on it. Photos and details next post……. :-)
I’ve just figured out today that I do have to make and applique on the wingpads before any more stitching to fill in the rest, otherwise they are going to be awfully fiddly and difficult to insert ‘within’ the stitching.
So…..back to wingpads. Luckily, I have the more of the blue-shot-red=purple silk that I used for RosesandPansies. That should do just fine, especially if I include a hem on them this time!

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Anonymous Rachel said...

We had a great visit with you, Megan, and it was lovely to talk about embroidery with someone who does it!

It will be fun to see how the Butterfly develops - we spent a lot of time talking about it and thinking about it, but with embroidery sometimes all the thinking in the world doesn't prepare you for putting needle to fabric. As you know!

I've shown the copper fabric to my Dad (the real textiles expert of the family) and he's as intrigued as I was!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011  
Blogger Flora said...

I am waiting to see how the butterfly is going to look. You are putting in a lot of hard work.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011  
Anonymous Yvette Stanton said...

Really interesting read, Megan. And the tip about licking the tailor's chalk point is WONDERFUL - I'll certainly be trying that, seeing as I have a hate relationship with tailor's chalk. I always hope and wish it would work, but it never does.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011  

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