Friday, 26 February 2010

Fabric test: silk matka

Following the linen test, I also needed to try the same design on my other proposed fabric, so I could compare the two. The second test is on a raw silk fabric called matka; this is what I used recently for Kate's Crow, though in this case I'm back to the parchment/sandy colour I used for the calligraphy cushions.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'd ironed the Spirograph design transfer onto a piece of cream linen. I used this to back the matka; not only does this strengthen the fabric, it also allows me to transfer the design to the front using running stitches.

Here's half the Spirograph design stitched through to the front fabric. You may have to look closely!

It was clearer in real life, though to be honest not much. This was actually the third thread I tried - both the others (a gold-yellow and a brown) looked fine on the reel but were almost invisible once against the fabric, and had to be unpicked. This terracotta shade stood out just enough to be usable but not enough to be really obvious under the goldwork coming along next.

And the goldwork was what I now did. This was exactly the same as for the linen version: a single passing thread couched down with a gold-coloured sewing thread. So not to give myself too much of a headache trying to follow the running-stitched lines I decided to do this in two lots, so here's the first batch all nicely couched:

This is just half the design, though, so I went over the rest of it in the running stitches next:

That's next to impossible to see, so here's a close-up that's a little clearer, if not much:

You'll just have to take my word for it that the running stitches were there, and I went over them too with the gold passing thread, giving the final piece:

This method certainly works, but I'm hardly making life easy for myself with it. Stitching through from the back almost doubles the work, and unless I choose a really strong colour for the tacking thread, which I don't want to do or I'll have to pick all of it out again once the goldwork is done, which is even more work, it's not easy to see against this background.

Both it and the linen test need to be damp stretched and then stretched onto some mount board (the goldwork isn't couched closely enough to work well without being under some tension). I've already decided which fabric I'm going to use, though. Which one would you go for?


  1. My personal preference is for the greater contrast offered by the linen. A surprising choice for me and I am a dedicated fan of silk!

  2. Linen is always my first choice :)
    But since this is golgwork silk seems to be more appropriate if in a more contrasting colour silk