Module 6: Fabric Manipulation
All the theory is done ... hooray! Now to focus on stitching.
The Portfolio evidence in this and future Modules is mainly a collection of evidence. Notes about different methods of manipulation, in the form of Mind Maps; leaflets from Exhibitions & Museums, etc; cost analysis for samples (materials & tools used); Health & Safety, etc.
Every module has its highlights and this one was, perhaps my favourite one of all. The focus was using Machine Embroidery and using various techniques to manipulate fabrics, plus, the first example of design work for assessment!
I had preempted this by completing a basic workshop using free machine embroidery techniques and just knew I was going to love it. Also, I used to demonstrate Bobbin Lacemaking at Knitting & Stitching shows and had the opportunity to meet Jenny Rayment at a show in Harrogate (England), who is the Mistress of calico. Look her up and wonder at the amazing ways she uses this fabric!
I highly recommend these two books:
The Art of Manipulating Fabric (Paperback) by Collette Wolff (Author)
Tucks, Textures and Pleats (Spiral-bound) by Jen Rayment (Author)
The first few exercises focused on getting to know what is possible using free machine embroidery, that is, dropping the feed dogs on your sewing machine and using the needle as a pencil to draw on the fabric. What a wonderful discovery this was for me. I found it very awkward and difficult when I did a one day workshop, but later realised that it was the way we were taught. Trying out the exercises in this module gave me the opportunity to find my own way.
In sample 1, straight stitches were used on a fabric I had coloured with Inktense pencils & blocks*. I also added snippet of fabric for interest.
* These are super cool pigment pencils, which can be used wet or dry. The blocks have the advantage that they can be used on their side. Try adding water after you have coloured the fabric, or add dry pencil to wet fabric! I also use Aloe Vera gel to mix with pigment scraped from the blocks/pencils. This stops the colours from bleeding into one another if you want neat edges.
Sample 2 used zig-zag stitches
I chose a shimmery pink fabric that has loose fringe-like threads on the surface to use as a base fabric under the geometric patterned top layer. Parts of the top layer were cut away to reveal the fabric underneath. I think it is a good contrast to the top fabric, but I am not sure about the geometric shapes in relation to my stitching. It was a fun piece to make. Don't forget, that this was all new to me at the time and ... I loved the process.
Here are some pages from a mini book of samples made on water soluble fabric (WSF). I drew various grids, then tried to recreate these in thread. When the WSF is washed a way, you are left with little lacy scraps. This gave lots of ideas for one of my later projects, which was to be assessed.
The second part of the stitched samples was to manipulate fabrics in various ways. If you take a look at the books I mentioned above, you will find lots of ideas and applications. I have included my samples here of pleats & tucks, together with evaluation notes.
The final samples were experiments with burning & melting fabrics. Margaret Beale uses these techniques to great effect in her work. Check out: http://www.fusingfabric.co.uk/. My experiments were merely to discover what happened to a range of fabrics when different types of heat was applied. I recorded my findings in a table.
Last, but not least, was to design my first assessed piece of work. I will look at this in Part 2 ... coming soon.
Do you think you would enjoy manipulating fabrics? Have a play and let me know what you achieved.
Thanks for reading. x