Thursday, December 5, 2013

Making WAVE curtains adapting pleated headed tape ...

I've recently been adapting woven pocket-pleat heading tape for making a pair of 'wave curtains' (see my Stitcherydoodaa blog for details). Conventionally, this is the sort of tape you find on a pair of readymade curtains (image at left) where you pull the heading cords up & immediately a row of 'pencil' pleats' appears across the top of the curtain. Hooks are then placed in any of the pockets to hang the curtains - minor adjustments made to curtain length by varying the position of the hooks in either the upper, middle or lower hook-pocket rows.

Here's my results:

Prepare the curtains as per normal or buy ready-mades - total width of curtains a matter of personal choice but at least a minimum of the pole. If using pencil-pleated tape, ensure the tape's edge is stitched as close as possible to the top of the curtain & just fold under the ends of the tape at either edge as the cords will not be pulled up. The lower edge of the tape should also be stitched down so that the heading tape will now only be a stiffening/support.

Using a total even number of hooks (basic metal ones) per curtain, equally space them across the upper edge pockets of the heading - this will ultimately produce the 'wave' fold when the hooks are in the rings (see image right).

To complete the 'wave' effect, please refer to the instructions detailed in 'Dressing a Window' (click to read it).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Decorating = Finishing outstanding jobs !! ...

For the past week or so I've been involved preparing for the decorator (buying etc etc) which has led into finishing a few outstanding sewing jobs. They are all being updated on the Stitcherydoodaa Blog ... above shows a cuff-link style button made for the patchwork waistcoat.

As decorating is underway for several rooms, I'm now spending some time making a variety of window coverings & curtains - these will also be on view in a few weeks time when completed.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Honesty image comes alive! ...

This morning I'm looking through some previously 'unused experiments' & found these at left - so saves me having to repeat the processes!

They capture exactly what I'm trying to acheive & by using along with yesterday's sample, have created the one below:

Immediately I finished it, it seemed perfect as a solution for the starting point for an image/design (Honesty) begun a few years ago:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2 experiments that went well! ...

I've been experimenting with a heat gun as well as using unconventional "fabric" - here are the results of 2 exciting experiments.

The orange one (result of heat) will possibly be added to an earlier 'cell' (see "Project:Cell" when you've clicked here) & the blue one (painted) will be continued with further enhancement(s). In both samples, it's the textures I primarily like as they are achieving the result I'm after.

Friday, October 18, 2013

X-ray cells !! ...

I've begun my first experiments & sample techniques using 'transparency, illusion & movement (implied or otherwise)' as an initial 'topical' starting point. They were several areas I was interested in a few years ago but unfortunately got 'side-tracked' & was unable to continue with this line of thoughts. Now resurrecting it (especially as it's a suitable topic for my 'cells' project - click if you want to see more), I intend to continue from where I left off. I've quite a few new ideas to play with as well as some from those I left 'mid-stream'. Here's a few experimental 'quick' designs I'm playing with:

This one relates to 'illusion' & is the result of working on a 'plastic carrier bag'. I like the crazing & central imagery & is a very similar effect to the one titled 'An Alien? I made.

An initial section of the above has been 'computer enhanced' (right) & now appears to resemble an X-ray. I shall be working on this more at the weekend (hopefully if time permits) & possibly taking it further to another stage.

Although only an experiment, I am going to call it 'Fossil X-Ray' as that's exactly what it reminds me of ... but more on this later !!

The next series of 'experiments' will involve 'transparency & movement'. Here a fabric swatch from 'yesterday practical work' (an off-cut coloured with water colour pencils) have been revolved through 360 degrees showing the effect of sunlight & shade on the colours & fabrics involved. Again, over the weekend, I'm hoping to work on this some more with other finishings.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cells computer enhanced ...

After buying a few things!! from the Knitting & Stitching Show, I've worked up the earlier 'paper' sample & experimented with a few computer enhanced images (one above & others at right in the listings 'Thoughts' & 'Sketches') .... all along the lines of 'transparency'.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cells: Structure experiments ...

One of my initial designs last week used coloured tissue paper glued onto black paper. After drying, it was enhanced with waxed crayons & ink.

Apart from 'transparency', I'm also experimenting with 'light & movement'.

With this in mind, I confirmed particular lighting conditions enhanced 'hidden' colours & movement displayed them (ie. appearing & disappearing).

I then wanted to 'extend' the design. First thoughts were to provide the appearance of 'looking into' the first design. I added strips of pre-printed paper above & below, then hand-made slightly textured paper (with inked edges) to the sides.

Next, to continue the extended cell structure, I added other paper 'panels' above & below the existing one:
At the top edge (in pink), handmade paper on cotton scrim - the fabric edges created 'banding'.
At the lower edge(for more banding) another of my paper & scrim off-cuts (visible to the left) & one of the previously made 'nucleus' shapes (in waxed crayon on paper).

Although 'in the hand', the sample looks a little clumsy, on screen it has achieved exactly what I'm trying to do 'in my head'.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cell structure design experiments ...

Here's some more mixed paper ideas I've completed in between the other ones!

Ink on card whilst on frozen block (close-up section to the right)

Handmade paper dried on nylon mesh 
(close-up section to the right)

Above sheet with waxed flourescent crayon & black ink applied after (close-up section to the right)

Handmade paper with black ink layer, wax crayon then reapplied ink.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cells: Step 2 - Adding backing layers & creating a final shape ...

I've cut away the excess backing paper & fabric to create a nucleus shape as well as cut some holes randomly around the edges - primarily to convey a cellular structure as well as form areas to hold stitching (I've decided to use stitching to continue with this 'cell sample').

To further create transparency for the nucleus (as well as a cellular  background), I've chosen to use a black nylon net - 2 pieces in my 'stashes' being the ideal size! By using 2 layers (with the nucleus sandwiched between as if 'in suspension'), I can also take advantage of the moire effect (later) for the stitching.

Close-up of the above, tacked into position with red thread.

To enable ease of stitching this 'nucleus', a further 'just right' piece of charcoal polyester chiffon was positioned underneath the sample. The size of it was now starting to generated an idea of a 'suspended transparent circular form'. With this in mind, I decided to put it into my large embroidery hoop (a) to tighten it (b) to enable hand stitching of the centre sandwiched plastic 'nucleus' - initially to decoratively attach it in place. (To see this final stage, click here.)

Before this next stage begins, I now need to investigate specific 'cell structure' so I'm off to the library to see if there are any books for reference.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cells: Step 1 (contd) - Using hand made paper ...

Here's a few other designs I'm working on - all with a 'cell-like structure' theme. (Incidentally, these are all elements of design & techniques that I have wanted to experiment with for some time & I'm using any opportunity to include them in my work.)
  • Nucleus: After unpicking some alterations, I had a pile of threads in front of me (below left) & thought them perfect for adding to another handmade paper sample (below right). (I don't know what the scientific term is for each 'image' but in my eye they represented what I wanted them to be.) Placing the threads strategically in position, the result quickly became a 'cell structure' & I was reminded of 'petrie dishes' at school & wanted to also include this type of viewing medium within the design. As I also wanted to symbolise 'inspection & looking inwards', the idea of using clear plastic as an additional medium came to mind. I later glued this on the front of the work & another made paper group (with fabric backing) behind the pieces (this can be seen here)

  • Virus: I next came across 2 inked paper samples - again in colours I thought appropriate for my corresponding cellular forms. One paper (below left), I inked over & then ripped (to show the paper's under structure with its white edge) into short lengths. These were then stuck in positions on the other piece & finally positioned on a handmade white thicker textured card (also can be seen here).

  • Cell division: Another cellular form I wanted to experiment with is the one below left - dried glue on card which results in the cell-like structures appearing. After painting with ink, these are more visible & under certain lighting, show clearly (below right) in a different colour & somewhat reflective.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cells: Step 1 - Using hand made paper ...

A great day in the studio yesterday has resulted in some wonderful designs for "Project:Cell" - an idea I have for a particular project (read more about this here) where I want to represent specific 'cells & their structures'. To do this I'm going to first work with a selection of paper & thought of initially looking in my existing 'store' to find if I already had something to use. (In the past, whenever I tried new techniques, I usually made extra or loads for later - then I've got it ready to hand!)

I soon came across  some handmade paper samples from a few years ago which at the time were unsuitable for something else. Looking at them now, I liked the way in which each piece (a total of 7, all in use below) had dried - its colouring, it texture & the resulting delicate & fragile nature of each piece. It symbolised the 'cells' I wanted to show & were ideally suited for "cell structure". After playing around with a few delicate 'bits' of this paper, here's the result:

Paper samples positioned on table
My working table is covered in white plastic & perfect as a 'plain canvas' to look at initial ideas. After placing them quickly down, their 'bitty' image was fitting together perfectly. I then thought about a background for them & rummaging in my paper's box, came across some woodchip wallpaper - also perfect for use as the 'hidden' wood chips were showing as 'cells' too. Using wallpaper paste, I glued them all in place (with a few minor changes) & as the paste is drying, I've noticed the paper is starting to crinkle & become more cell-like.
Same samples now on 'woodchip' paper
Watching the paper over the afternoon, I'm noticing the paper is becoming more 'cellular/knobbly' as the paste softens the paper - I'll have to wait until it's perfectly dry to see the final effect.
Close-up resembles 'cells'
For the rest of the afternoon, I've also worked on some other paper samples I found - these are also viewable at Project:Cell

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

40s Humpty (Pouffe) : Renovation update 3 ...

The 'Humpty' has now been laced with its outers:

First the lower panel was laced with a black Russia braid through the eyelets. Each side panel was then laced through its lower edge with an off-white cord (one for each edge & through further Russia braid), returning through the seams on the side's upright edges. These were left (to appear near the Humpty's upper corners) until the upper lacing was complete.

Another off-white cord was then laced through the upper rings & through the upper edge of the side panels (also through Russia braid) - each edge of the Humpty having a separate cord.

A central cord was tied around the Humpty's middle.

Ends & lacings were then adjusted to centralise all panels.

The loose ends were knotted on the upper corners, cords cut & ends frayed.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

40s Humpty (Pouffe) : Renovation update 2 ...

Here's the outer 'bag' (left) now clean & with rings repaired - image left shows detail (if you want to read more about the making of this item, please click here @ Stitcherydoodaa.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

40s Humpty (Pouffe) : Renovation update 1 ...

The inside 'seat' has been brushed, cleaned & "freshened" using Fabreze spray. The outer panels have all been washed & although they all shrank (I'm hoping won't make too much of a difference in its renewal as when originally made, shrinkage was allowed for).

By the way, the inner 'seat' (above) was made using an authentic 'Humpty' pattern & was filled with an extensive range of cut-up odd fabric scraps, tights, pop socks and anything else I came across to use. Cut into very small 'packing' pieces, the "innerds" resulted in a very heavy seating and perfect for its use - a highly recommended way of using old textiles & better than just throwing them away!

Here's the outer 'bag', washed & ready for repair of the brass rings (hopefully I'll be able to find the spares!)

(Pattern & instructions for making the original 'Humpty' are here: originals)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oakham Treasures ...

Last week I visited Oakham Treasures & indeed ... what a treasure! Highly recommended for a few hours especially if you have 1950s & thereabouts memories you want to revisit!!!

In connection with imagery I want to investigate & further develop, I wanted to look at 'actuals' which I don't have in my own collection. Unsure if I could find what I was looking for, I went along & found everything - some examples here:
Haberdashery shelving
Chemists displays
Tinned & packet grocery displays

Saturday, July 20, 2013

How I'm Restoring my '40s Pouffe ...

Today I've started to clean my '40s pouffe - it has to be unassembled first to get to the individual sections. I made this over 10 years ago & overall surprised generally how clean it has kept. I intend to restore it to its original condition - providing fffurther instructions here should you also like to make one of these 'seats'. (By the way, it is influenced by 1940's Make-Do-&-Mend' & so is its inside!)

The outer covering (below left) is laced by 4 central tucked bands (below right) which is held in place with a centrally tied 'rope'.

The cords were cut away/unlaced around the upper section & the underneath panel (below) then the outer 'corset' was removed.

The individual pieces can now be cleaned & repaired as the entire outer 'bag' (below) has a zip to insert the inner seat (as per Pouffe here). 

Monday, July 8, 2013

40s Pouffe repair ...

This is the 1940s-style pouffe made a few years ago & mentioned earlier in my blog. The outer 'skirt' is detachable both for cleaning (more pix if you click here) & this is what will be happening soon.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Waistcoat back ...

Close-up of the first stages of embroidery for the waistcoat back - simple pre-programmed stitches using my 1970s Elna (a brilliant machine & wish they were still made!). I'll be starting the fronts next - again using these set of 3 stitches. When the fronts are finished, I can then go to the next stage(s).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waistcoat pinning & tacking close-ups ...

 A fabric patchwork mosaic in the process:

Back pieces pinned
Back pieces tacked
Front pieces tacked