Fabric Manipulation

Colour Project – Black, Part 5

An attempt to stitch on Romeo (a soluble fabric stabiliser for machine embroidery) using the flower stitcher attachment on my sewing machine. Free stitching was all the machine would do – so badly in need of a service…I feel like my arm is cut off when my sewing machine is at the repair shop…

Fortunately, the copy of The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff  I ordered has just arrived.  I googled smocking techniques when I was making some samples on white and found this fantastic book. You could easily spend a year just working through the techniques and ideas in this book. Here are a few…

Yo Yos or Suffolk Puffs. Smaller stitches gather to create a larger hole, larger stitches, a smaller hole. These are 4.5cm diameter and were rather fiddly to make.

The gorgeous scarf (right) which every time I wear I hear  “I love your scarf, did you make it?”  I bought in Thailand. It has 235 x 2cm pieces! I’ve been told Suffolk puffs were created in the 1930s to use up fabric scraps.

My samples above right are ruffled puffs.


The sewing machine is back and sewing beautifully!

Here are a few samples of using shirring elastic in the bobbin case. (left) straight rows, (right) crazy stitching. Must remember to over-stitch at the beginning and end or the elastic pulls out!

These two samples are North American Smocking – a grid-regulated system of pulled stitches alternating with slack stitches that invisibly reshapes the fabric into an intricate composition of folds. Lattice pattern (left) and Flower pattern (right). This is quite difficult to see well enough to do on black fabric. I will try these again in a different colour.

Simple hand smocking, (left) straight and loosely gathered. This is in a cotton lawn and looks best with light coming through. (right) wavy horizontal and vertical stitching and gathered.

Machine shirring, stitched both horizontally and vertically. (left) a heavy satin, (right) light loose weave iron on fabric stabilizer.

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