Fabrications – Sand In My Shoes (part two)

Batiks serve as the perfect fabrics for making these little flowers since they are tightly woven and quite colorful.

Once you have completed the free motion stitching on each of the circles, remove the Solvy from you hoop. Clip around each flower, leaving all the loose extended threads in place.

Circles Clipped from Solvy

Place each flower circle on a terry towel and spray with water to remove the Solvy. Spraying rather than soaking works well here because some of the melted Solvy remains in the fabric, adding a little stiffness to the bubbly texture.

Sprayed Circles

When you circles are semidry, center the small circles on top of the large circles. If you have used an assortment of colors, you may like to mix and match until you are pleased with the results.

Layered Flowers

Apply beads or buttons to embellish the flower centers. I used “tye dye” glass beads.

Tye Dye Beads

Take each flower and scrunch it into a little ball. Gently open the ball and shape it back into a flower.

Scrunched Flower

Allow to dry completely, and your flowers will be ready to add colorful embellishment wherever you place them.
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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – Sand In My Shoes

Batiks always make me think of summer vacations at the beach. If you’re like me, you probably have lots of batik scraps from past projects. Here’s a great way to transform them into beautifully embellished flowers.

For this project you will need some regular Solvy, a heavy variegated cotton thread (I used Valdani #35 “Autumn”), colorful beads, an embroidery hoop, circular templates, and assorted batik fabrics.

Supplies

First, mark large and small circles on your batiks. I used a mechanical pencil, which makes a very thin cutting line. For templates, I used metal eyelet charms that I found in the scrap booking department of my local craft store. These charms are quite thin, making them very useful around the studio. My large circle measured 1 3/4″ and my small circle measured 1 1/4″.

Circle Templates

Cut the circles out and press to flatten if necessary.

Cut Batik Circles

Hoop you Solvy and lightly spray the back of the individual large circles. Position them in the hoop.

Hooped Solvy

Set up your sewing machine for free motion work. Use a coordinating color and similar weight of thread in the bobbin. Drop the feed dogs and attach a closed free motion foot. Free motion stitch each of the circles, using meandering and circular motions. Allow the thread work to extend beyond the edges of your circles. Fill each circle with stitching, creating a bubbled texture.

Free Motion Stitched Large Circles

Repeat this process for the small circles.

Free Motion Stitched Small Circles

Your completed stitching should look something like this. Notice that the thread work extends well beyond each circle.

Free Motion Thread Work

We’ll finish these little batik blooms in part two.

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Rene
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part five)

I was asked a question about heat tools. When I’m working with organza or other synthetic sheers, I usually use a stencil cutter for cutouts or edge finishing. Some people use a wood burning tool. Both of these accomplish the same end. I recently purchased the Creative Versa-Tool by Walnut Hollow, and I must say this is one nice toy! You’ll probably be seeing it used in my blog entries soon.

Leaf one and two left me with lots of pretty little scraps that I decided to use in leaf three. I cut a circle of copper organza and placed a piece of Heat n’ Bond Lite (minus the paper backing) on top of it. I then cut the scraps into various random shapes and placed them on top of the Heat n’ Bond. I topped these layers with copper tulle and moved the group to a Teflon pressing sheet.

Scrap Sandwich

Next, I placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the layers and pressed on a wool setting for about 7-8 seconds.

I then prepared my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with a variegated rayon thread. The rest of leaf three was worked in the same manner as leaf two. First, I free motion stitched the surface. I then marked the outline of an oak leaf with a chalk marker and hooped the organza circle.

Hooped Organza; Chalk Outline

I stitched around the chalk outline eight times, building up thread.

Stitched Outline

Completed Stitching

Using sharp craft scissors, I carefully cut the leaf out, leaving a tiny bit of organza showing around the edges. I then used a heat tool (stencil cutter) to finish the edges.

The trapped scraps gave this leaf wonderful shading and texture. Additionally, I could make any number of these leaves, and they would all have a different appearance.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part four)

The second leaf I crafted was the largest of the four. I began by cutting a circle from a very sheer print (either nylon or polyester) and placing it in my 7″ embroidery hoop. I cut a strip of variegated “Harvest” organza ribbon (1 1/2″ wide), lightly sprayed the back with 505, and positioned it on the sheer background fabric.

Hooped Sheer Fabric

I continued cutting strips of ribbon and placing them in the hoop until the center was completely covered.

Organza Ribbon Strips

Next, I set up my sewing machine for free motion work, dropping the feed dogs and attaching a closed free motion foot. For my top thread, I chose Superior Halo #369. Halo is a thick decorative thread for bobbin or serger work , but it can also be used as an upper thread if you insert a large-eyed needle such as a jeans/denim #100/16, loosen your upper tension, and sew at a slow speed.

Using a simple meandering stitch, I free motion stitched the entire ribbon area.

Superior Halo Thread

Meandering Free Motion Work

This time I transferred the leaf outline to the fabric by tracing around a template with chalk. Contact paper would have worked just as well, but sometimes I like to mix things up a little.

Chalk Outline

With the same thread and machine settings, I free motion stitched the chalk outline. I made about eight passes in order to build up the thread.

Stitched Leaf Outline

I then cut around the thread outline with my nice sharp craft scissors and finished the edges with a heat tool (see previous post).

Edges Finished with Heat Tool

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Rene
Time Treasure

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part three)

I wanted some dimensional leaves for the surface of my nameless quilt, so I pulled out some sheer fabrics in the autumn color range. As I moved the fabrics around, a nest of threads began to build around my fingers. Most of the threads were organza and chiffon. I thought they looked interesting, so I cut the little cluster away from their sources and decided to use them in my first leaf.

For the bottom layer, I cut a circle of copper organza. I then placed a piece of Heat n’ Bond Lite in the center. Actually, it was a piece of Heat n’ Bond that had separated from its paper backing. Next came the thread nest, which was topped with a piece of copper tulle.

Organza, Thread, and Tulle Sandwich

I set the layers on a Teflon pressing sheet, placed a piece of parchment paper on top, and then ironed the sandwiched items on a wool setting for about 8 seconds.

Next, I set up my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with a #40 variegated rayon. To secure the layers and add a little extra decoration, I free motion stitched some wavy lines back and forth, filling the entire sandwiched area.

Free Motion Stitching

I then positioned the stitched organza in a round embroidery hoop. Back in my hand quilting days, I would sometimes use contact paper to make removable templates. I used this same technique for the maple leaf shape.

Contact Paper Template

After positioning the leaf, I stitched around the template about 8 times, allowing the thread to build up.

Leaf Outline Stitching

Thread Buildup

I then cut around the stitching and used a heat tool (stencil cutter) to finish the edges. When using a heat tool, always work in a well ventilated area. For more information on this technique, see In Bloom, Part Three.

Completed Leaf

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Rene
Time Treasured

Fiber Folio – Colorforms Nouveau (part three)

The collection grows. I keep thinking of more shapes that I would like to use in future projects and adding them to my little box.

Angelina Colorform Collection

As I looked at the orange triangles, I thought about what cute fish they would make, so fish they became! Angelina really lends itself to ocean scenes owing to its luminosity. This project takes on a different look from every angle as the various fibers catch the light.

You will find the digitized triangle file in the Fem-Gratis box on the left sidebar. Of course, you can make the shapes without the aide of an embroidery machine.

First, I chose three water fabrics and cut them with wavy edges. I then arranged the Angelina scraps to see how I liked the basic composition.

Water Fabrics and Angelina Scraps

Next, I cut a piece of chiffon on the bias and layered it in the center. I then placed some dark green and light blue tulle (cut with wavy edges) over the entire piece. If you look closely at the introductory picture above, you can see the various shading effects that this produced.

Chiffon, Angelina, and Tulle Layers

When I was happy with the placements, I used a little temporary spray adhesive (505) on the backs of the different pieces and repositioned them.Using 35 weight cotton thread (Valdani Mediterrana), I free motion quilted the water areas.

Free Motion Water Quilting

I then switched to Valdani Midnight Sea and stitched small round loops on the ocean bottom, creating the look of seaweed.

Free Motion Stitched Seaweed

With the same color, I thread painted a few sea plants.

Thread Painted Sea Plants

I tacked the orange triangles down with a dab of fabric glue to keep them in place as I worked.

Tacked Down “Fish” Triangles

The edges were worked with a free motion zig zag stitch using Sulky Holoshimmer thread. When the edges were complete, I worked the fish tails and then the stripes on the bodies. That completed the machine work.

Fish Detail

I chose some metallic colored beads for the eyes and for some of the bead work on the lower reef.

Fish Bead Work

I also used bugle beads on the reef along with a copper star for a star fish.

Reef Bead Work

For bubbles, I applied clear glass beads. And with that, the project was complete.

Glass Bead Bubbles

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fiber Folio – Colorforms Nouveau (part two)

After cutting out some newly digitized shapes this afternoon, I noticed that the Angelina scraps looked so pretty together. So I arranged them as a background for a colorform flower.

Angelina Scrap Arrangement

Next, I covered the Angelina arrangement with a piece of parchment paper and pressed it for about three seconds (on silk setting). Angelina scraps can always be refused to each other. To attach the arrangement to the backing fabric, I sprayed the Angelina with 606 spray on fusible web (on the back). After is dried, I positioned it on the backing fabric, covered it with parchment paper, and pressed it.

Using white rayon thread, I added some decorative stitches to various areas around the center.

Decorative Stitches

I then prepared my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with green Sulky Holoshimmer thread. I used a viney leaf motif to quilt the area covered with lime green Angelina.

Free Motion Stitching with Holoshimmer

For the remaining areas, I used Sulky Sliver Metallic thread (wonderful stuff!!).

Sulky Sliver

The center motif was created with 5 fan shapes and one small circle, which were attached with fabric glue. I further embellished the flower motif with beads.

To complete the design, I free motion stitched the outer edges with Sulky Sliver.

You will find another colorform stitch file (fjleaves.dst) to download for your personal use in the Fem-Gratis sidebar box.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Felted Finery – Old is New (part four)

I saved my favorite leaf for last. After free motion stitching a center vein, I worked three loops of outline stitches. I then appliquéd the leaf down with a feather stitch. I think the feather stitch creates a really nice edge finish for the wool pieces.

Feather Stitch

The final section of the circular design consisted of a center bud motif, two petals, and two leaves. Using a dark gold embroidery thread and a decorative seed stitch, I worked a diagonal crosshatch pattern on the surface of the yellow bud, something often seen in crewel work.

Crosshatching

I then finished the edge by couching yellow perle cotton with a blanket stitch.

Couched Perle Cotton

Next, I positioned the red petals in place and secured them with a decorative triple-circle stitch down the center.

Decorative Center Vein

The edges were appliquéd in two stages. First, I worked a reverse blanket stitch in a matching embroidery thread.

Reverse Blanket Stitch

I then switched to a green embroidery thread and couched lime green perle cotton next to the previous round of stitches.

Double Edge Finish

The third and final step of the motif was the leaves. After free motion stitching some veins down the center of each leaf, I raised the feed dogs and couched green perle cotton around the edges.

Free Motion Veins; Couched Perle Cotton

I added a simple scroll design below the bird, which I free motion stitched with dark green embroidery thread.

Free Motion Scroll

As the final embellishment, I beaded the bud motif between the crosshatching. I also added beads to several of the leaves and the scroll below the bird.

Beading

This particular design will eventually become a pillow, but I’m sure I’ll be using the same technique to embellish other items with these fun-to-make felted wool appliqués.

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Rene
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Old is New (part three)

To define the bird’s wing area, I chose a scallop stitch, which I stitched across the center of the wing and satin stitches to define the lower feathers.

Wing Detail Work

I then satin stitched around the entire wing with a matching gold embroidery thread.

Wing Detail

To give the bird’s neck a little more detail, I chose a decorative stitch.

Neck Detail

The three yellow petals were created the same way as the tail feathers. First, I attached them with a free motion straight stitch.

Next, I finished the edges with a blanket stitch using yellow embroidery thread. Red perle cotton was couched under the stitching. The red and yellow contrast so beautifully with each other in this little motif. I think a full-petaled flower in the same colors would make a wonderful embellishment for another project.

Couched Perle Cotton

Each of the leaves received individual detailing. For the first leaf, I stitched some veins and then gave it a trailing vine. The edges were appliquéd with a decorative stitch.

Leaf Detailing

Using a dark green embroidery thread, I gave the second leaf a center vein and then thread painted a stem base. A lime green perle cotton was then couched down with a dark green blanket stitch around the leaf’s edge and stem.

The third leaf was detailed in gold, beginning with a decorative stitch center vein and an outer border of couched gold perle cotton. For a little more contrast, dark green perle cotton was couched with gold embroidery thread next to the previous couching.

Double Rows of Couching

In part four, this project will receive the finishing touches.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – Mayflower Medley (part four)

We’ve arrived at the final stage of Mayflower Medley. The furry-edged little flowers are fun to create and share continuity with the grassy knoll.

First, outline the shape of your flowers at the top of each stem, allowing a little of the stem to remain in the interior. I used a compass to form my circles, but you can use anything you like. Use a marker the shows up well on fabric.

Flower Outlines

Next, attach a tailor tack foot to your sewing machine and thread the needle with a heavy embroidery thread in a color that contrasts with your flowers. I used Valdani #35 cottons. Set your machine at 1 mm stitch length and 1.5 mm stitch width. As in part three, test to make sure these settings work for your machine.

Sewing the fringe is a little tricky since it’s difficult to see your sewing line. I find it helpful to move slowly and keep my eye one the line ahead as I turn the fabric. Sew the fringe around all of your circles. Use as many thread colors as you like. You can even sew several rows of fringe around each flower if you’re really adventurous.

S ewing Fringe with Tailor Tack Foot

For the center of the flowers, choose colors of Angelina “Hot fix” fibers that you like. I used Lemon Sparkle and Raspberry. Pull enough fiber to make a small ball and place it on parchment paper or a Teflon pressing sheet. Top with parchment or fold your pressing sheet over the Angelina ball. Set your iron on the “silk” setting and press for about three (3) seconds. Check to see that the fibers have bonded. If not, press again for another second or two. Do not over heat. Allow to cool before removing the Angelina.

Angelina “Hot Fix” Fiber

Mark the bonded Angelina circles with the same shape as your flowers. I used my compass, which left a slight indentation as a cutting line. Cut out each flower center.

Always save your leftover Angelina scraps for another project. They can be rebonded to other Angelina fibers, cut up and used in fabric collages, appliquéd here and there for a little bling, sandwiched with other fibers to create new fabric, etc. I find Angelina to be one of the most versatile and easy fibers with which to work.

There are several ways you can attach your flower centers. I used a dab of fabric glue to position them and then marked the centers and embellished with beads. You could also free motion stitch the surface, work some French knots at the center, or embellish in other imaginative ways.

Marked Centers

Bead Embellishment

For the final step, thread your sewing machine with a green embroidery thread and attach a free motion foot. Lower the feed dogs and stitch some leaf shapes next to the stems.

Your project is now complete. I hope you enjoyed playing with the tailor tack foot and discovering its many possibilities for fiber art.

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[Note: One reader voiced concern that the tailor tacking would unravel. I always begin and end decorative stitching with a few securing stitches. However, I tested the fringe without security stitches at the settings I stated in the above tutorial and could not get the stitching to unravel from either end. This would probably be a problem with looser settings, in which case you could add the line of straight stitching I previously mentioned. Also, you could knot the thread ends and pop them into the stabilizer in a way similar to hand quilting. A third alternative would be to iron a fusible interfacing over the stitching on the back side of your work. Keep these remedies in mind when working with decorative stitching.]

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – In Bloom Three (part six)

Our flower is now complete, but it needs a stem and some leaves. For this part of the project, hoop an extra light nonwoven stabilizer or some organza. I used painted Carriff stabilizer, but a green organza would work just as well. If you use stabilizer, you might want to paint it green with some fabric paint.

Set up your sewing machine for free motion work, making sure the feed dogs are in the lowered position. Attach a free motion or darning foot. Set your machine for straight stitching or a very slight zig zag stitch. Loosen the top tension a point or two and thread the machine with embroidery thread. I used Valdani Cotton Look #40. Of course, it’s always best to make a test sample before actually stitching your project.

Begin by stitching an outline of your leaf shape. Next, move up and down the center of the leaf.

Outline of leaf

Adjust your hoop so that you can stitch in a diagonal direction and then work one side of the leaf by stitching straight lines back and forth, making sure you stitch into the outlined edge. When that is complete, move to the next side and mirror image the diagonal stitching.

Now thread your machine with a dark green thread and stitch some veins on the surface of your leaf. Repeat the process for your second leaf.

Thread painted leaf with vein detail

When your leaves are completely stitched, set your hoop on a piece of glass. Heat up a stencil cutter or wood burning tool and move the point around the edges of your leaves. The stabilizer or organza should melt like butter, leaving you with two nonfraying leaves. Do this is a well ventilated area.

Heat tool removal of leaves

To create a stem for the flower, cut 5-6 lengths of green #3 or #5 perle cotton. Cut them about 2 inches longer than needed. Tape one end to secure all the threads.

Attach a cording foot to your sewing machine and thread the needle with embroidery thread. You can use the same thread in the bobbin. Choose a zig zag stitch and set the width at 4.5 – 5.5 mm. The feed dogs should be raised.

Now thread the taped end of your perle cottons through the hole in the cording foot. Sew over the threads, making sure your width clears each side. You can repeat this several times and even use different color threads with each pass.

Stitching over the perle cotton

Position your stem and leaves on the front of your project. You may like to tack them down here and there with a light dab of fabric glue. Using an open toe foot, couch your stem and sew a line of stitches up the middle of your leaves to secure them.

Couching the stem

Securing the leaves

Now position your flower and tack it down with a little fabric glue. You can blind stitch around the outer edges or tack the flower on with a few hand stitches from the back of your work.

At this point, I framed my piece with a wavy border using a fusible to attach it. For the finishing touch, I couched a #3 perle cotton around the inner frame using a braiding foot. These steps are optional, of course, but they do give the piece a nice finished look.

Another In Bloom project complete!

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – In Bloom Three (part five)

The technique for creating the flower can be used for individual items or for large areas of thread work, such as thread painting landscapes.

For the flower, choose two shades of embroidery thread any color you like, and place one in the needle and the other in the bobbin. I used cotton embroidery thread.

Next, stabilize a piece of base fabric and secure it in an embroidery hoop. Choose a closed free motion foot so that the thread work does not get caught while you’re working.

Drop your feed dogs and work a zig zag stitch over all the surface.

I set the width at 3.5, but experiment and see what width you like best. Move rather quickly, allowing the stitches to build up on each other. When the surface is almost covered in stitches, tighten the top tension until the bobbin thread shows on top. Work around the surface.

When you’ve covered an area large enough for your flower, dab the circumference with some Fray Block or a similar product before cutting. Once dry, cut out your flower shape.

Remove the free motion foot and attach an open toe foot. Using silk roving or yarn, couch a decorative edge around your flower with a zig zag or buttonhole stitch.

Take another piece of silk roving or yarn and shape a center for your flower. Attach it with your Babylock Embellisher or needle punch machine.

Next, take a little orange or yellow roving and needle punch it in the center of your flower.

For the final embellishment, sew a cluster of beads in the center. Your flower is complete.

In part six, we will thread paint some leaves, make a cord on our sewing machines for the stem, and complete the project.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

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