• Madwomanstitches

3rd Assessed Piece: 3D Object - Construction

This piece was so much fun to create, but I couldn't have done it without the help of my lovely hubby, who is an engineer!

So, firstly, my design brief:

To design a 3D Object for my craft room that will demonstrate a range of textile ability. I designed a lampshade to create atmospheric shadows on the walls, but still give good light. The light bulb must be low wattage and LED so that heat will not be a problem.

Creating a personal design brief is important. It provides a focus for the work and a list of criteria to help with the design and construction.

The construction of the light shade consisted of several elements. The outer shade; inner shade and a collar. I began by making the 'fronds' for the outer shade. I made enlarged drawings from my original sketches and used these to trace the patterns onto water soluble stabiliser (WSS). I used the type that is transparent and looks like plastic. There were 4 designs and I made 12 fronds all together.

The WSS was tacked in place onto between 3 and 5 layers of various fabrics. This included: organza, polyester, lace and chiffon in black, grey and white. I chose fabrics that were man-made and could be melted away with a soldering iron. Once the layers were stitched together, I began free machine stitching the design using both straight and zigzag stitches:

Here the fronds are ready for trimming and rinsing. It's best to trim away as much of the fabric and WSS as possible. I trimmed quite close to the stitching. When dry, I used a soldering iron to carefully seal all the edges.

Once dry, I began to cut away some layers of fabric to create the original design elements and to make the fronds more translucent. I also added some hand embroidery in silver thread.

The next stage involved adding some wire so that I would be able to shape the fronds. I hand stitched the wire rods onto the back of each frond with a central vein. Initially, I used stainless steel welding rods, which seemed alright at first, but later, I discovered that they were too springy and didn't hold the shape I wanted. I replaced them with a softer copper wire stripped from electrical cable. They needed colouring with a Sharpie pen to make them less noticeable, but the result was much more pleasing. Some of the fronds didn't have a central vein, which created a problem. I realised that these fronds would show a central wire, so I needed to stitch it to the edges. The copper wire was too thick for this, so I used a double thickness of a finer wire.

Finally, I added beads at the tips to create a tassel effect. The small square beads are haematite.

The next stage was to prepare the inner shade:

After making a template using card, I copied the shape onto WSS, ready for stitching. The first part was a double layer of pale sliver-grey organza. The outline was stitched first and then an appliqued layer of lace and a silver background stitch. The shapes were completed with a silver-grey outline.

A close-up of the applique and background stitching:

Once washed and dried, the inner shade was stitched together and a stainless steel ring (courtesy of my hubby) attached to the bottom:

Lastly, a beaded fringe was stitched to add a little glamour!

My lovely hubby adapted an old light fitting by welding a ring of perforated stainless steel to it.

This was just what I needed to stitch the fabric to. I made a collar for the top of the inner shade and stitched them together, before attaching to the light fitting and finally adding the fronds for the top layer.

So, finally it was done and ready to hang in place. A rather long blog today, but necessary as the process was a long one!

Please let me know what you think. Would you make a 3-D item like this and use any of the techniques mentioned? The process of design development and construction involves a lot of problem solving and a determined effort to get to the end. I hope this inspires you to design something for yourself.

#3D #3dimensional #lightshade #LED #atmospheric #fossils #freemachineembroidery #transparent #watersolublefabric