• Madwomanstitches

Module 8: Transparent Fabrics & More Machine Techniques Part 1


I so loved this Module. Free machine embroidery has become an amazing and wonderful technique for me and is useful for many different applications and approaches to all multi media and textile work.

When I first read this module, I booked myself onto a basic workshop, but was very disappointed in the results and wasn't offered a real insight into problem-solving. All through the day, I had problems with stitching. I didn't have a machine that allowed me to drop the feed dogs and had to use a darning plate to cover them. If you have never seen or used one, they come in different types of plastic and metal

and look similar to this:

It wasn't properly explained how to alter the tension and the class was so big, I hardly got any teacher time. I was so frustrated. Then I came across some videos online, which truly inspired me. I decided to get a new machine that allowed me to have more control over how I wanted to sew, including the ability to drop the feed dogs! I watched the videos and tried a few small experiments and soon began to have more success. The videos 'Stitch The Sketch' were made by a wonderful American artist: Clara Narty. She inspired me to create things that I am so happy with and develop my techniques in ways that enabled me to excel in this field. You can find her first video here and there are over 50 videos to check out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vlBuGNLBxE&t=12s

I began by trying to emulate her designs and was really happy with the results. here is one of Clara's designs, but sketched and stitched by me and then my own design, which also included adding colour with Inktense pencils; hand embroidery and trapunto work (stuffing from the back)!

The module itself involved using transparent and water soluble fabrics; free machine embroidery; bobbin work (machine stitching using decorative threads & yarns in the bobbin); experiments with different foot attachments; applique and free motion quilting.

Water soluble fabrics (WSF) come in various guises, including those that are transparent and look like plastic and spun-bound versions. There are also hot and cold water solubles. I bought some different types and experimented with them.

here are some examples using just machine thread and WSF:

This butterfly was my first experiment and, although not brilliant, it hold together after washing! This image shows the excess WSF cut away and is ready for rinsing.

The finished butterfly with beads added.

My next experiment was a little better and involved making 2 layers:

Once I had decided on an image, I drew it roughly onto the WSF. I then stretched a double layer in an embroidery hoop and stitched the shape; ensuring that lots of stitches overlapped each other so that, when rinsed, it didn't fall apart. I also over-stitched the edge of the design to give a more solid outline. You can see this clearly in the flower. After stitching, I cut away any excess WSF and rinsed the pieces several times in hot/cold water depending on the type of WSF. I stretched the pieces out with pins on a cork board covered with layers of kitchen roll, and left to dry.

This next piece was a great way of using up scraps of fabric. Lots of scraps were snipped into little pieces and layers between 2 pieces of WSF. I used quite a few pins to hold roughly in place until I have stitched a few lines.

Here you can see the fabric scraps stitched in between 2 layers of WSF, ready to trim and rinse. This time, I didn't want to rinse out all the glue as I wanted to mould it into a 3D shape.

I left it moulded over a bowl to dry and here is the finished result:

I went on to design this Spring scene:

Here are some other experiments using transparent fabrics such as tulle and organza, together with WSF:

Finally, for this episode, I booked myself onto another workshop, where I could broaden my experiences even more. Cas Holmes is a sell known textile artist and taught a brilliant weekend workshop in Wales. She uses found materials, paper, printing, stencils, acrylic paints; dyes & inks; fabric scraps; free machine embroidery and wallpaper paste holds everything together ready for stitching!

These are just a few images from the work that I created that weekend:

You can read about Cas' work here: https://casholmes.wordpress.com/

Until next time! I hope you find something here to inspire you. Have you tried using WSF and if so, what did you like / not like?

#watersolublefabric #freemachineembroidery #transparent #organza #tulle #darningplate #darningfoot #droppedfeeddogs

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