Monday, June 1, 2009

Module 6 - City and Guilds

This module nearly broke me ... I came very close to giving up, but not because I wanted to, but was pushed to the limit by modern technology!!!!!
Module 6 was all about machine embroidery, fabric manipulation and a full working design for an embroidered panel, so a sewing machine was required.
My you-beaut super expensive Pfaff sewing machine, only a few years old, and hardly used, just would not work properly. It went backwards and forwards to a service repair man numerous times, many of them delivered by myself which meant extra time driving up and down to the city, along with the cost of repairs only to find after 3 attempts to repair it, that it still wouldn't work. Only after an email to the Pfaff HQ did I get put onto a different repair agent, who eventually fixed it. Turned out to be a faulty bobbin race!
In the meantime I'd purchased a cheap Bernadette and started this module on that machine .... it did the trick, but not to the standard I wanted, but beggars can't be choosers.
So this is it .... my machine embroidery module in all its glory (cough!)
After years of being a traditional hand embroiderer I'm a bit intimidated by free machining, but I just LOVE the style of it, and am sure that I will persevere and hopefully improve.
Anyway, anyway, anyway ....
we were required to do a straight stitch sample, with lines running this way and that, crossing over each other, and in various thicknesses, with snippets of fabrics added. My first attempt was created on a hand-dyed (not by me) velvet, embellished with beads and fabrics. I liked the colours but it seemed to get lost and looked insipid .... so I tried again.

... this time I used bold red with black, white and grey, on a hand dyed (this time by moi !) calico. When I mounted it, I extended the design onto the mount board using felt pens. I was much happier with this one.

Then onto the zig zag sample. We had to stitch shapes onto 3 layers of fabric, cutting away the first layers (like the reverse applique method). My top layer was patchwork cotton, middle layer was wool blanketing, and bottom layer plain old calico. I found the points in the corners of the triangles difficult to master with the zig zag stitch - again, I need more practice.

From there we had to do a machine embroidery sample based on one of our shape designs from Module 2. I based this sample on a photograph and subsequent collage (shown below) of a pile of sea containers.

Using the Bernadette was not going well .... I just couldn't get the tension right, and the sample ended up puckered, but at least I was able to work on the module ... I'd already lost a month in frustration.
The above sample was based on another of our previous modules ... this is a design from my Viking/Anglo Saxon artefacts. Again the end result was slightly puckered due to the tension being too tight.
Below are my samples created using water soluble fabric. This was good fun, and I enjoyed this. By this time my Pfaff was back and in good working order so I was feeling much happier!
More water soluble samples ....
... and more again. These were using metallic threads. I really like the floral design and can see this as an insert around the neckline or cuffs of a top .... Hhmmmmm, lots of ideas ... just not enough time.
Then it was onto Fabric Manipulation .... This is my finished and mounted sample of pleating. Not very inspiring, but how to do you jazz up a lot of pleated pieces of fabric ... I tried by using the running stitch to bring it all together and link it up, not sure if it worked or not!

I decided to do the tucking sample using all white fabrics, but unfortunately it doesn't photograph that well. Most of this was done using machine embroidery, but I included one sample on Cashel Linen using pulled thread work. I like the clean look of this one.

My gathering sample just didn't hit the mark where I was concerned. I did various samples, but trying to bring it together was difficult ... this is the best I could do.

But the burning sample was different. We had to burn lots of different fabrics and test their burning quality and reactions, then use a few of them to create our finished sample. I chose 4 of my burnt sample pieces and brought them together with ribbon and machine embroidery. Hubby is more partial to my hand embroidery work, but really likes this piece, and I must say I'm very happy with it too.
A close up of the burnt finished sample.

So another module down .... and onto Module 7.

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