Monday, 27 February 2012

Shell sections

The shell sections are actually quite stiff, as they're two layers of fabric, a layer of felt, heavy machine stitching and a lot of beads, but still not stiff enough - they need to be mounted on something.

The finished sections need to curve, so card is no use as it'll just bend, so hunting through cupboards (I'm trying to do this project from stash, remember), turned up some heavy weight Vilene.  I don't think it's quite pelmet weight, but it should do.

I cut out Vilene shapes to match each of the nine shell sections, each one the same size as the stitched area:

They were each placed on the underside of the matching shell section:

The fabric hem was folded over and stretched over the Vilene shape, using herringbone stitch in a linen thread:

I tried to pull the fabric sections taught but not too tight, as I didn't want them to be pulled out of shape.

Here's the same section from the front:

And all nine sections, mounted onto the Vilene:

Next, the backs of the sections need to be covered.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Beading completed

In between scrubbing the kitchen after the builders, I've been stitching a few beads on here and there, and have now added the beads to all the sections of the shell form.  There were a lot more than you'd think - a lot more than I thought, at least!

Here's the final section, with all its beads:

It's in a 30cm (12") hoop, which given an idea of the scale.  It also shows the colours rather nicely, though not the sparkle from the silver beads and machine stitching.

Here are all nine sections:

Each one needs to be cut out, but to try and prevent fraying and to keep the silk dupion background fabric and the cotton lawn lining together, I zigzag machine stitched rouund the edge of each one, leaving a small margin:

Once that was done, I could cut them all out:

I've kept all the silk offcuts for use in appliqué or something in the future.  I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away!

Next, I need to mount them on something, to stiffen them a bit.

For anyone who's interested, the extension is coming along fine, and I'm now half way through the build (two weeks out of four).  Apart from a frozen water pipe in the first week it all seems to be going as well as could be hoped and is all on schedule.  The basic blockwork structure is up and the roof joists in place, so the coming week should see the roof finished and a start made on the interior.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

News roundup

Bringing you up to date on a few odds and ends:

The local paper, the Sunderland Echo, ran a feature on me, published last Friday, which was quite exciting.  I did an interview and a photographer came to take pictures!  I would link to the piece so you could read it, but I can't find it on the Echo's (rather poor) website anywhere.  If it turns up, I'll let you know.

I thought the photographer might want pics of me sewing, and indeed she did.  As the current beading project is quite unrepresentative of my work, I started a new goldwork project specially, though in the event those photos weren't used, so I needn't have bothered!  I'll write more about that project at a later date.

And I've got the builders in.  I'm getting a small extension built, replacing an old, poky and dilapidated utility room with a new, larger one, featuring such such modern conveniences as windows, plus a brand new shower room/cloak room.  They just started work yesterday, and while it's all quite exciting, it's also very messy.  They're nice lads and they're doing their best to be tidy, but building work is just inherently dirty.  I'm not sure I'm going to get much sewing done for the next few weeks, as I'll be spending much of my free time scrubbing things clean!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Recycled runner

Mum and I like going to antique fairs, on the lookout for bargains!  There don't seem to be as much in the way of textiles as there used to be there, but it's always fun to see what we can find.

At the last fair we went to, I bought a hand-embroidered linen table runner for just £1.  It's an unbleached linen, and I would guess the design is from the 1970s, though if anyone recognises it, do let us all know!

The design at each end is the same, and here it is in close up:

However, I've arranged the photos carefully to show you the good end.  The runner as a whole was absolutely filthy, and was badly stained at one end.  I washed it well and did my best to get the stains out, but not only did I not entirely succeed, where some of them had been went into holes:

There didn't seem much point in trying to get the remaining marks out as not only might that cause more damage, but there wasn't anything to be done about the holes that had appeared already, so it was now useless as a runner (I have standards!).  Most of it was fine, however, so I decided to use what I could and make a cushion cover out of it.

I got a rectangular pad, but it was too long to centre the design on, so I did my best to get all the feather filling at one end, and machine stitched a line to hold it about 8cm (3") in:

The line of stitching's a bit wobbly as it wasn't the easiest thing to manoeuvre through the sewing machine!

I cut off the damaged end, and cut the remaining fabric into sections - one for the front, and two which will overlap for the back:

I want to use as much as possible of the embroidery, so I'm using the undamaged part from the damaged end on the back.

I overlocked the cut edges, and hemmed the edges of the overlapping back sections using bright pink thread and a fancy stitch on my machine:

Pinned, tacked, machined round the edges and turned right side out - from the back, showing the overlap I'll use to insert the cushion pad (no zips!):

And from the front:

And with the cushion pad in, on the armchair:

Nice and comfy!