Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Using Fabric Scraps

Todays project makes good use of strips and scraps of fabric but it isn't 'string piecing' or 'quilt as you go', or foundation piecing. Instead I have used up all those strips and small pieces to make Morris Dancing tatters.

Tatters are part of the costume for Morris dancers who dance Border Morris. The strips of fabric are attached to a coat or shirt. I have used an old and tatty lab coat with the sleeves removed. The aim is to use enough fabric to cover the white background but not so much that it gets too heavy and hot to move around in.

NB. Thankyou Chyfly for your comment, see below. For some reason I haven't been able to answer your comment but if you ever find any photos or information about the Barge tatters coats I would be very interested in seeing them. I  have tried googling it but nothing so far.

sewing on 10 inch long fabric strips in rows

The finished Tatters
There is a lot of African Fabric on this set of tatters. It's left over from an African fabric quilt I made about 7 years ago for our bed. There is also poly cotton fabric from Samoa where I was Artist-in-Residence at an art workshop in 2014, there is left-over quilting fabric and bits of old kimono. Each piece of fabric has its own story and I'm the only one who knows it - a bit like a scrap- quilt really.

detail of African Fabric quilt
The fabrics on this quilt are a mixture of fabrics collected when I taught at a Quilt Festival in South Africa,  scavenged from clothing which we wore back in the 1970's when we lived in Kenya, and fabric bought here or donated by an African friend who lives in Auckland. This quilt has been on our bed for quite a few years now and the fabrics are starting to fade.  In the detail shot there is one splotchy fabric which has really changed color. Considering the high UV levels in New Zealand, it is not looking too bad.

At the end of the day yesterday I had completed 4 doorstops as examples for my beginners sewing - doorstop class. I think I like the green and the photo transfer one the best.
My next job is to make a fabric covered book as a sample for the Visual Diary book-making class.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Photo Transfers, commissions and door stops!

I have got out of the habit of writing on my blog, mainly because I started it as a quilting blog and as I began to diversify I wasn't sure whether people would be interested in the wider range of creative things that I do which range from theatre costumes, quilts and embroidery to paper collage, hand made books and occasionally basket making, painting and other stuff I can't think of right now!

So I thought maybe I would write about some of the other things I do which aren't always strictly textiles. Each year I do an annual commission as a Christmas gift from a private client. One year I made wool felt embroidered flowery cushions, another year I made a collage picture frame.

This is the fourth year that I have done this commission and this year I made a 2 metre long table runner and incorporated photo transfers of greetings cards (as requested by the client).

detail to show photo transfers of cards
The good thing about doing this commission is that each year I get to try out something new. This year is the first time I have made a quilt.

I wanted to make the whole table runner in linen but at short notice, I could only get the type of photo transfer paper which works on white fabrics. I had to transfer the images onto white cotton then piece the images into the linen. I also didn't want to put the heat-set images too close to the centre of the table runner in case they could be damaged by hot dishes. I'd hate the images to get stuck on the bottom of plates. I did warn the client not to put really hot dishes on the images.

When the project was finished I had a lot of cut out images left over from the cards. I'm currently working on a 'complete beginners' sewing project for a shop in Wellington called Nancy's Stitch Studio. I have been making class samples for a class to make a simple triangular doorstop using some of the lovely new heavy weight linen fabrics that are available right now.

The date set for the class is   August 14. 1.30-3.30pm Triangle Doorstop

After that I decided I would make a doorstop using the left-over photo collage paper and the already cut out card images.

cut outs from greetings cards

placed on white sheet to be scanned and printed onto photo transfer paper

Images are cut from the background and collaged onto doorstop piece

The backing is peeled from the images , here are 2 sides of the doorstop

Students in the two hour beginners class at Nancy's Stitch studio will make the initial doorstop out of a heavy linen fabric similar to the doorstop in the first image, but I wanted to show them that they could do something a little different with the pattern later. I'm quite proud of the photo transfer doorstop and I liked the way that the drill fabric accepted the photo transfers without feeling too plasticky. The only problem I had was that the white drill scorched slightly while I was transferring the images which might have been due to the dressing in the fabric.

If you have any suggestions for websites with interesting use of photo transfer images please leave a comment. Thanks, Clare