Fabrications – Gilded Gardens

Gilded Gardens

Spring has arrived in the Blue Ridge Mountains and spotted the landscape with majestic purple crocuses, golden yellow daffodils, and soft white cherry blossoms. All of this beauty followed me into the studio, so out came the threads, fibers, yarns, and colorful fabrics.

This multi-layered project is not for the faint of heart. However, if you hang in there, you will be rewarded with a beautiful piece of art that is worthy of your signature and a frame. Mine is actually destined to be a pillow, but you could use the following techniques for a quilt, a handbag, or any number of other items.

Additionally, you could break the project down into smaller parts and use a few flowers and leaves rather than the large number that I’ve included. I also found that each stage of work looked complete in and of itself, so you could stop at any point you desired.

For this fiber play, you will need some flannel and several background fabrics that are hand dyed, hand painted, or have the same look as these do. You will also need embroidery weight threads, perle cottons, roving, yarns, and embroidery floss (silk or cotton).

Perle Cottons

Perle Cottons


Assorted Yarns

I used silk cords and beads as well, but these are optional. You may have some other wonderful fibers on hand that you would like to use in this project.

Silk Cords

Silk Cords

The first stage of construction involves building your background. After deciding on the size you would like your finished project to be, cut a piece of flannel a little larger than your measurements. Then begin cutting pieces of fabric to fill the space. You can back your fabrics with a fusible or with a heavy stabilizer. If you choose a fusible backing, iron your pieces onto the flannel. If you choose a stabilizer, attach your pieces by using a little basting glue or a spray adhesive such as 505.

Fabric Placement

Most everything about this project is free form. Relax and enjoy each stage, setting precision aside for another day. If there are small gaps here and there, don’t worry about it. These will be covered with a flower, a leaf, or some other decoration.

When all of your background fabrics are in place, you might like to add one more layer of interfacing/stabilizer to the back. I used a light weight stabilizer that I applied to the flannel with a basting spray. The purpose of the flannel and stabilizers is to provide stability for all the stitching that will cover the surface. Also, if you decide to hand or machine felt some of your pieces (a later stage of this project), both of these backings give the fibers something with which to mesh.

In part two, we will fill the background with flowers and leaves and begin the next stage: thread work.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


  1. Corina said,

    March 22, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I can not thank you enough for sharing all this wonderful experience with us! I just recommended today your blog to all my friends! I just wait for the second part, I am going to try it!

  2. fembellish said,

    March 22, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    You are very welcome, Corina. Thanks for sharing my blog with our friends, and I hope you enjoy the project.

  3. Susan said,

    March 22, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    You have a very interesting blog. You do things I don’t do, but it’s fun to see *how* you do them. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Dianne said,

    March 23, 2007 at 8:52 am

    You are so generous sharing your talent with your readers. I love your blog, and visit quite often!! Thankyou!!

  5. March 29, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    […] of my garden quilt project (thank´s to Fembellish Journal and the nice tutorials on how to make gilded gardens) are some leaves, and for one I used this week stitch, Knotted Cretan. I first had to learn how […]

  6. tikkunknitter said,

    January 31, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    What wonderful work! Makes me want to take out my Bernina and get back to sewing.
    Would you be interested in contributing an embellished leaf to the TikkunTree Project, a community art project for peace in the mid-east? Please do get in touch!

  7. November 18, 2008 at 3:55 am

    […] dem Embellisher gestalten 2 – Teil 1 – Teil 2 – Teil 3 – Teil 4 – Teil […]

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