Stitch Workshop – Week Two

Last week I learned how to use a sewing machine; how to wind a bobbin, how to thread the machine, to change the foot and the needle, how to open up the machine so that any jammed thread could be fixed, and how to set the length and width for each of the different stitches. This was especially useful to me because usually, when I;m faced with a sewing machine I become rather dramatic and insist that I can’t use them because they scare me; but after last week’s introduction, I am now able to use the sewing machine completely and freely (while feeling like a sewing ninja).

This week I was going to tackle free machine embroidery, appliqué, painting onto bonda wed and precision stitch. This sounded like a lot to be tackling in one day, which sounded pretty good to me. I want the day to be packed with amazing new things I could learn and get lost in, because I’m really loving these sewing work shops.

With the drawing that I made yesterday, I was going to take parts from the image that I would turn into a work of stitch. The first thing I was shown was how to use the bonda wed for appliqué. The image or shape would be drawn onto the bonda wed, and then the bonda web would be placed on the back of the fabric, with the rough side down (the waxy side) and then ironed. Once the bonda web was stuck to the fabric it was time to cut, and try (because it takes a long while and many tries) to pull the backing of the bond wed, off the fabric so that the fabric could then be attached to a backing fabric. Then it was on to the embroidery.

Free embroidery on the sewing machine, over applique.

Free embroidery on the sewing machine, over appliqué.

As I said earlier, I was pretty much feeling like a sewing ninja at this point. I was in love with the free machine stitching and how I could guide the fabric in anyway to create the most amazing and beautiful lines. Looking to my drawing from yesterday, I used the embroidery as an outline, as well as to add in all the little details of the drawing. I loved how my work looked like one intricate and textured line drawing.

Drawing from another thing I learned last week, using different/textured threads in my sewing. This was done by winding the textured thread around an empty bobbin, and then sewing with the fabric upside-down so that the textured thread that was acting as a bobbin would be on to top side of the fabric once the stitching was complete. I used this method of textured thread for some of the shading that was in my original drawing, which would then come into my appliquéd drawing.

close up of two machine embroidery on applique.

close up of machine embroidery on appliqué.

Applique and free machine embroidery.

Appliqué and free machine embroidery.

Close up of textured thread, applique and free machine embroidery.

Close up of textured thread, appliqué and free machine embroidery.

I then used different coloured  threads for the section on the left hand side of the appliquéd parts. I tried very much to use mark-making again, I stitched in long and short lines, and then for the parts that were darker and needed shading, I attempted cross-hatching with the machine and I was extremely pleased that it worked, and that it looked good.

I said earlier that I was going to tackle painting onto bonda web. This is pretty much like it sounds. Using green, blue and white material paints, I painted in lines and strokes on the rough side of the bonda web, waited for it to dry, and then cut shapes out of it. This next bit was similar to the applique I had done earlier. The bonda web was placed onto the fabric with the rough side down, and then carefully ironed so that it would stick to the fabric. The backing of the bonda web would then be peeled off, again taking ages because the edges are so difficult to separate, and then the waxy bit would be left on the fabric, along with the paint.

Painted bonda web on calico.

Painted bonda web on calico.

After this, a demonstration of precision stitching was given. This involved following the outline of a shape or image, so that the stitch was nigh on perfect. I used the precision stitching over the painted bonda web, giving it a practically perfect stitched edge, before swapping the foot over and going back to the machine embroidery! my new favourite way of stitching (until probably next week when I see something new, like dis-solvable!).

I loved today. The lesson was packed full of all the things I’d want to learn in a sewing workshop, giving full instructed direction and demonstrations of how to do everything that was asked of us, which I was really happy about otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it, and the lesson was really informative, in that I will be able to take everything I have learned from today an apply it into other areas of my artwork, and continue to develop them.


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