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Archive for the ‘embroidery’ Category

softly

For our recent ad in Notebook magazine, Lincraft used my hand-painted cushion project.  Detailed instructions available here.   With a little more explanation below.

Wash and dry your fabric before starting.

To hand paint dye on fabric you need to use it in a concentrated form.  We are rebelling from the packet instructions.  Yeehar!  Make up the concentrated dye – but then don’t dilute it – use it in the concentrated form, so the dye can really sink into the fibres and stay where it should go.

You will get some bleeding – which is to be encouraged and that adds an excellent softness to your design, but you can restrict the bleeding somewhat by painting on to the fabric dry (not wetting it as the packet suggests).   The bird (above) was painted on to dry fabric)

This dot effect was made by painting on to wet fabric – for as much bleed as possible.

I painted lots of circles, then filled in the gaps between the circles to give it a white dot effect.  The irregularities give added visual texture.

Once you have painted the cushions – let them dry and then wash them by hand and in the washing machine to take out any excess dye.  When they are finished you might like to embellish your design with some embroidery thread – picking out the sillouette or adding detail, and if you are inclined – add some more detail in the form of appliqued shapes.

Of course you can use any cushion insert, but there is nothing quite like sinking into a down pillow.  Down pillows can be fluffed up to look good again any time (unlike fibrefill) and are – I think – an investment well worth making.

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wabi-sabi skirt

The wabi-sabi skirt is finished.

One of the really fun things about my job is getting to explore the possibilities of projects beyond the basics and let you know how to do it yourself.  This skirt – like all of my projects will be available as a free “how to sheet” in store at Lincraft and online – but here you get a sneak peek at things as they are progressing,  close-ups and more detail than can be provided on an A5 sheet.  Yay!

For those of you who need general details or can’t wait that long:

Skirt pattern : – McCalls #3341 made in dark denim – front and back only – don’t worry cutting out the waistband.

Fabric for front applique was a linen/cotton blend, dyed with Dylon dye in Amazon green and cut into a semi-circle using a dinner-plate as a guide.

Embroidered in Silver, Red, Pink, Green, Beige, Cream and lavender.

Bound top and bottom with Sullivans 25mm wide Poly Cotton bias binding instead of a more traditional waistband and turned hem.

When the official ‘how to sheet” is available I’ll let you know.

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wabi sabi

Wabi-sabi – the japanese term for perfect imperfection  is one of those things that is so hard to define in western terms.  It is the beauty that lies in the small details that make an object, experience or way of living absolutely unique.  It is often the flaws that make a thing different from it’s neighbour, and yet, in crafting it is easy to slip into the habit of striving for ‘perfection”.  Making something look like it came from the shops and feeling like we have failed if there is something awry should never happen.  There is always a way to celebrate a flaw, improve on it and make something with more texture, richness or personality.

I feel strongly, that when so much of what is available is cheap and plentiful we should strive to celebrate the beauty that is inherent in a handmade object.  The fact that the soul shines out of it and that a part of the creator will always rest in the stitches or details that were so carefully chosen, is a kind of magic.

These days it is a choice to make a new skirt – and not a necessity for most of us.  We don’t need another scarf, we just need to bring home that luscious yarn we found in the store and want to justify the purchase and enjoy the wearing of it.

I dyed some fabric.

Beautiful cotton/linen. And did it roughly, letting the imperfections present themselves fully, then cut a semi circle to sew to the hem of an a-line skirt – which will be finished another day.

I wanted the mottled fabric to add texture beneath the running-stitch embroidery which celebrates the human touch, and the care in the stitching of the fabric to the skirt.  Intentional and a statement that imperfection is beautiful.  Beautiful to me because I chose it.

Wabi sabi.

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