Last week at C&G I handed in my first assessed piece of work. It was a cushion made of dyed fabric, machine embroidery, machine lace, and braided machine cord – and I hate it. It’s not at all what I thought it would be when I envisioned it.
The fabric was a preprinted cotton I had scrunched into a sausage shape and tie-dyed purple by mixing pink and blue dyes. The method of dyeing with the two colours gave an interesting effect, most of the fabric was purple, but at the edges of the tie-dyed section there were areas of pink and areas of blue where only one of the dyes had permiated.
In class we were given the task of embellishing a piece of our dyed fabric with machine embroidery. I started out using long, straight, parallel strokes of machine embroidery to enhance the different shades of dye in different areas of the cloth.
It wasn’t until we were all well underway with our sewing that the tutor told us that this would be a piece of assessed work. Cue much woe from the assembled company. Everyone, including myself, would have liked the chance to agonise more over our design decisions had we known it was to be assessed.
I covered the face of the cushion with machine embroidery. Then I created a motif in machine lace. The motif was a simplistic flower based on the original pattern on the printed cotton. The machine lace was made by machining into a water soluble fabric to create a mesh of thread in the appropriate shape.
To finish the edges of the cushion I made five long strands of machine cord – by zigzag stitching over wool in the same colour threads I had used for the machine embroidery of the face of the cushion. These strands I braided together, leaving loose sections for variation, and then attached around the edge of the cushion.
It was a whole lot of work for one very ugly cushion. Feedback from the class was that everyone liked the machine cord and the braid. Which was probably my favourite bit too.