I was recently in the fabric journal swap, which I joined with every intention of testing out a method of sewing art which a friend talked to me about ages ago.
It has been an amazingly beautiful method to play with - and I wanted to share it with you so that you can have a go.
I apologise in advance for the huge amount of photos but it is far easier to explain visually don't you think
Firstly......here is a fairy themed piece I made for sharalee
And now the how to.......
So firstly heres what you are going to need.
A sewing machine with the ability to use a free motion function, a free motion foot, some organza fabric in different shades, some sateen (make sure you test its burn factor, to assess take a small bit and try to light it with a match - if it melts easily then you cant use it). A backing piece of fabric (this can be anything - your not going to see it) sissors and cotton (a main colour and a black) a soldering iron, some decorative bits (buttons, jewels etc)
So to begin you need to cut out bits of sateen and layer up onto your backing fabric. This can be as random as you like.
Then take sections of organza and layer up again. You will have fun doing this and seeing the different shades you can make. It reminds of tissue paper or water colour painting
Pin up round the outside. Notice how blocky this looks at the moment (wait for the magic)
Ok now we are going to talk machines and the importance of having a free quilting function. WHen you free quilt you need to be able to turn off / lower your tracks. This is so that you can be in control of the fabric.
and OFF notice that I have also attatched my free motion foot and I have chosen a stitch where the needle position stays central.
So now we have our machine up and ready, lets secure all that fabric down by hemming round the outside using your colour thread
Ok, now you can trip off all the floaty bits. If I was you, I would leave a little border in case you want to use your piece later on and need to turn the edges. Keep your trimmed organza !!!!
Once you are all trimmed we can think about design. Now Im liking doing silhouettes at the mo, but Ive also done some very simple applique work. Whatever you do - draw out your design on some plain paper first and then draw onto the BACK of your piece.
Back to your machine, and with the BACK facing up, and using a black thread - use your machine to "draw around the outline". In my honest opinion when you are free motion stitching - the faster you can get your needle going up and down - the better. THIS DOES NOT MEAN you have to move fast, in fact go as slow as you like as there are no treads controlling you, but the faster needle speed means that you get nice curves and no big long stitches.
Now when you turn your piece up the right way, you can clearly see where your main picture is going to go, and where you can avoid in the next stage
Back to your pen and paper, and this is just to get you to practise "drawing free hand", create a relationship between your hands, your eyes and free and easy swirls and closed shapes. It is really important that you have a good few closed spaces of varying sizes - all will become obvious later on.
Over to your machine - and PLAY !!!, get the colour thread on and just go for it, all over the place. Doodle till the cows come home, and having outlined your main silhouette - you know exactly where not to go. You will notice after a while that as the swirls and doodles force the fabrics to lie closer together - the blending starts to happen and it all gets a little magic (see I said there was magic)
NOw we can do some scribbling. Your going to use your needle like you would a pen and literally scribble into your silhouette using the black thread
Coming on huh !!!
Now remember those bits of trimmed organza, Im going to use them and a little bit of patterned fabric to make my wing. These little floaty bits of fabric provide interesting movement to your final piece. They could be tails, curtains, rainbows..... oh Ill let you tell me what you make . Can you see ive used the same scribble method to sew the wing down
Right - Sewing machine can go away go have a cup of tea and a slice of cake and raid your husbands shed for the soldering iron
Now these things get seriously hot - and each one is different. I start by heating mine up to its hottest and then adjusting it as I go. Basically you want it to melt the organza, not set fire to the whole thing, and preferably not burn holes through the whole piece.
This is where it will have really paid off for you to test your Sateen, as if it is burnable you are going to be hugely disappointed SO CHECK IT RIGHT xxx
What you want to try to do, is use your soldering iron a little bit like a pencil, and "draw" around the inside edge of all of your "closed shapes" which you made in the colour thread. After each one, use your nail or a pair of tweezers to lift up the organza bits from the centre of the shapes and pull it away. This is seriously addictive and makes me go ooooo and ahhhh every time.
Now I could stop there and show you where weve got to - but hold your suspense people !!!
I managed to find a rather fabulous machine in ALDI (do you have that in the states ?) Anyhow it is like a soldering iron but you use it to press gemstones into fabric. Essentially it heats up the stone, melting the glue on the reverse so that it sticks to the fabric. But if you don't have one of those, you could always use a little super glue. So...... get bedazzling !
And with a twingling button eye - my piece is complete
Below are the fabric journal pieces I made for the swap. I would love love love to hear if you play with this technique - please post your photos in the thread and let me see