Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trying Out a New Skill

I've had this wonderful book for a while now, drooling over the pictures, and figuring what I could do with it. I'm not a quilter, so I dream instead of appliqué on clothing or bags.

I finally decided on something to do with it. The Anti-Craft, in their book, has a great pattern for a Wheel of the Year skirt. I used the general idea for a quick, non-appliqué skirt for myself last year and it works great. This time, I decided to try to make something for my daughter, who loves long, full skirts.

Their skirt uses 8 panels, but that's too full for her to wear comfortably. So I modified it and recalculated for a 6 panel skirt. I found a motif that I really liked in Williams' book, and it just so happens it's designed for a repeat of 6. Hooray!

The combination of these two things, along with some creative redrawing and rescaling of the knot work to make it fit the panel gives this:

Yep. Those are going to be the colors. Dark brown for the main body of the skirt. Orange for the appliqué. And bright red for the divisions between the panels, the hem, and the waistband. Hey, look here!

The orange really is that eye-searing. I love it, but I have blue trails on my eyeballs after working with it for a while.

Construction has begun, first with the creation of a lot of little 3/8" wide bias tubes from the orange fabric -

- followed by tracing the knotwork design from my template onto the brown fabric. Normally I would attach the fabric to my window over the pattern and use sunlight. With brown fabric I needed to get creative. Hmmm, the window panel is removable -

.... and I have a small fluorescent light ...

So, yesterday was spent tracing and tracing and tracing, to give me all 6 panels traced and ready for the next step.

Today's task was to finally try the applique. It uses a product called Steam-a-Seam 2, which is basically a double-stick tape which is re-positionable until it is ironed down. After ironing it can be washed or dry cleaned without the appliqué coming up - supposedly. The technique in the book calls for sticking, ironing, then sewing down all the edges so there's no chance at all of things coming loose.

I'll spare you all the agony, for the moment, of the sticking process and how utterly hopeless it looks until it's ironed down. Mostly I just forgot to take a picture of that step - I'll get one later. For reference, Steam-a-Seam 2 seems to have a shelf-life. The original package I had was probably 2 years old, and would not stick at all - to anything. I went and got a couple "new" packages, and they stick somewhat. Some places would stick very well, others had no hope at all until they were ironed in place.

Here's what it looks like after it's ironed down.

See where there's still some shadow underneath the orange, as in the bottom left corner? That's why it still needs to be sewn. These are tubes, not flat pieces, so they have a puffy upward dimension until properly squished by sewing.

Top thread is transparent mono-filament thread. Bottom thread is all-purpose thread which closely matches the orange of the applique.

Using a small zig-zag stitch, every single edge of the design is anchored down, jumping over the crosses of the knot as appropriate.

And when it's all done, and gently ironed, I think it looks pretty darn close to the sketch that started it all.

Only 5 more to go. This one panel took me 2 full hours to complete, but then I've never ever done the technique before. I'm hoping that this will have taught me the sticking points, and that the next will go a little better.

Either that, or it's going to be a very, very long week.


Karen said...

Brillian use of your window pane, I wouldn't have thought of that. What is your fabric fiber, cotton? Love the colors. I have a bias tape maker but I have never used it!

Eyece said...

The fabric is all "calico" cotton, and pre-washed as I would do the skirt.

A bias tape maker might work the same, but it leaves an open side if I remember correctly. These are full tubes, and are ironed out with the seam side down. That way, when you used the steam-a-seam 2 it has a solid surface to stick against, and there's no possibility of raveling or edges sticking out anywhere.