Fabrications – Gilded Gardens (part two)

Gilded Gardens 2

In part one, we completed the background for our flower garden. We are now ready to fill our garden with some flowers and leaves.

Any fabrics that have a hand dyed or hand painted look will work well here. Also, commercial prints of large flowers would be usable. The print I used for most of my flowers had a tie-dyed floral design that allowed me to take advantage of the circular centers. I do recommend using several different colors for the sake of visual interest. Since many of these will be covered with other embellishments by the time you are finished, your fabric choices aren’t that critical.

First, back your fabrics with a fusible or with a stabilizer. Which one you choose will determine how you apply them to the backing. Next, cut out some free form leaf shapes in various sizes. The number is up to you.

Cut Leaves

Next, cut out some free form flowers in all different sizes. You may like to vary the shapes.

Cut Flowers

Now, place the leaves and flowers on your background, and arrange them in whatever way they appear pleasing to you. If you used a fusible, now is the time to press the shapes to your background. If your shapes were stabilized, you can apply them with basting glue, spray adhesive, or whatever way you normally apply your appliqu├ęs.

Basting Glue

The next step involves felting wool roving onto the main leaf shapes. You can skip this step if you like. I wanted some additional texture on my four center leaves. This step can be accomplished by machine needle felting or by hand felting. (Hand felting tools are available at most craft stores.) Simply take a small amount of green roving and place it on top of your leaf shape. Needle punch around the shape until the roving appears secure.

Felting the Leaves

The basic structure of your flower garden is now complete. Take a second look at it from a distance to make sure you are happy with the placements. If you think more leaves or flowers are needed, this is the time to add them.

Placement Completed

We now move on to the next stage and it is here that the fun begins. Set up your sewing machine for free motion embroidery, making sure the feed dogs are in the down position. There will be two main layers of thread work. For the first layer, I used 35 weight cotton thread. You can use any embroidery or quilting thread you like. Do use several different colors that compliment each other.

Begin with any flower or leaf and stitch around its edges.

Stitch Down Shapes

Continue doing this until every flower and leaf have been stitched down.

Stitchdown Complete

Next, choose one shape at time and think about how you would like to embellish it with stitches. Begin by stitching around its edges a second and third time and then veering out with the needle and stitching some spirals, scrolls, or circles.

Spirals, Scrolls, Circles

Thread Work 1

You may also like to do some echo quilting around the shape.

Threadwork 2

Be as creative as you like. And remember, even little stitches do not apply here. No flower, vine, or leaf is identical to another, so your stitches don’t have to be either. In fact, uneven stitches in this piece only serve to enhance its beauty. Life is good, isn’t it?

In part three, we will move on to the second layer of thread work, using perle cottons and various techniques for applying them to the surface of our work. It will be fun, I promise!

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured