Monday, 14 November 2016

Slashed pillow and other scrappy ideas

I'm still wrestling with my scraps to get them under control. My scrap lace dress used up every bit of delicate, slinky, silky stuff I had going - and this pillow got practically all of the my knits sent away.

Cushion cover with 3d textured effect using slashed fabric

I'm trying to explore fabric manipulation/textile art as a means of using up scraps. It seems likethe kind of thing that is easier to try out if you have a stock of suitable stuff all ready to go and that no bit is really too small to shove into a project. This pillow uses the fabric slashing technique and a piece of optical illusion fabric from Ikea for the style lines (originally destined for a Matthew Bourne style set of PJs).

Layering fabric to produce 3d effect

One large sandwich of fabrics, waiting to become a cushion cover

I layered far too much fabric in this sandwich, it  really wants only a couple of bits in there so it has a consistent look. In a way this was a proof of concept - testing the fabric slashing technique for other projects in the future. I'm somewhat unconvinced but it's a useful reference. Also, it nearly broke my poor workhorse Janome 7025 - it was like a mattress!

But the knit scraps have gone!

The cushion is becoming a bit more colourful with wear. Two unexpected (but unsurprising) side effects are that the cushion cover is grippier than a flat cushion and that it's quite warm.

So all that remains is my immense "generic" wovens scraps piles. I have 400+ squares for a quilt (started cutting in 2012 or 2013) which has fallen out of favour, plus 2 unallocated bags of scraps and a small sub-section of specificallys elected scras for some sort of loose leaf file or laptop sleeve (using the water soluble stabiliser again). My thoughts turn to weaving too, but any ideas are gratefully received.

K x

Friday, 4 November 2016

Curiouser & Curiouser - Dumb projects for winter

These are a not so recent pair of trousers. I must admit that they are a completely dumb project to be showing off in the middle of winter. In my defence, I had this idea in Feb 2015, when Liberty was having an online sale and triple points offer on their fabric (which would have actually made them an ideal summer project).

The outer is their classic Tana Lawn in the Curiouser & Curiouser print. I think it was part of the Alice in Wonderland series. Perfect for warm weather. Except that I made these in November 2015 and wore them to the office Christmas party.

The inspiration for these trousers was to develop my own spin on the bright, floral print trousers that seem to be on the streets these days. I bought the fabric first with the intention of making trousers, but hit a roadblock when trying to decide how they would look. I wanted to steer clear of cigarette, palazzo and hareem/hippy styles so a fairly standard suit trouser would work well. With trousers like these you can't really play with cut/style etc before they become very outlandish. The lawn doesn't have any stretch so I also needed to choose a style would let me move while wearing them (i.e. not skin tight). The pattern is Burda 04/2013 #103 Pleated Pants, which is actually the trouser complement to a jacket I made a while ago (version 1, version 2).

Unexpectedly, these have become a hit because they fit well under motorbike trousers, take up close to zero luggage space, are super comfy and can be thrown on over leggings after tap class. Like joggers/trackies. Except they're multicoloured. And they're actually dress trousers in disguise.

They're lined with a yellow cotton muslin (originally destined for another project) from Cloth House, The pocket lining is black/fuschia remnants from Misan Textiles. The fusible interfacing is from MacCulloch & Wallis. It's a veritable Soho party!

I dithered about making these for a long time because the fabric was expensive and it was so tough to see a a good result in my head. I was also wary of adornments and extras. It was important to strike the right balance of formality (darts not yokes, welt pockets not patch pockets, zip fly but with discreet buttons)  and flair, but the whole thing became quite daunting.

(Advance warning: I'm about to wax lyrical about tap again)

Sometimes daunting is a good thing, you need to stare the fear in the eye and make tiny steps towards the finishing line. Gradually it'll subside and you have will have won a battle. Sometimes you throw up your hands and say "not today", come back in 6 months. I've done that plenty of times in sewing - some things have gone well and some ended up as duds, but they were done and I was proud (or just relieved). I threw my hands up a couple of times on this project too, which is why they were finished in November and not March.

One of the most important parts of this kind of process - making, learning, challenging yourself and trying things - is to stop and say "wouldn't it be awesome if...". Or have someone to do it for you, who will make you do it anyway. I think these trousers are a means of paying respect to all the people - especially in the tap world - who are teachers, motivators, coaches, artists, athletes, enthusiasts and role models. They are major inspirations for me and for fellow sufferers of "Royally Screwing It Up 95% Of The Time" Syndrome. Without them saying things like "Next we're gonna do X, and you know what? It's gonna be awesome!" every 3 minutes in class, we wouldn't keep trying.

I'm working on it though, I try to wear these trousers as a reminder - the work you do between walking away from a challenge, and coming back to it 6 months later is important, don't forget it.

K x