Work done for City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery with Distant Stitch.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Certificate Module 3 Chapter 7 Simple Button Making

Another enjoyable chapter.  My resolution to post once a week didn't quite come off, thanks to a throat virus and just a very busy time.  However, I am working more regularly, little and often rather than a great huge amount of work then nothing for a month or two.  I think this method of working is much better and keeps me in touch with the work.

I started with making some covered buttons.

3.7.1 covered buttons

For my first button, I covered a small  pebble with wadding and then a piece of navy nylon opaque tights.  I cut the fabric in a circle and gathered it at the bottom, securing it with stitches.  I then embroidered two spirals on the smooth top.

For my second button, I covered a bottle top with wadding and then the same navy blue nylon, but this time, gathered it at the top, binding the excess fabric with a contrasting thread and snipping the excess to make a little fringe at the top.  I then stitched a running stitch spiral around the button with a contrasting metallic thread.


3.7.4 was another bottle top, covered as before, pulled up at the top with excess material folded in and secured by stitches, giving a gathered effect.  I stitched a spiral in chain stitch on top of the gathers, adding French knots in some of the chains.

For 3.7.5, I covered a rawplug in with wadding and nylon tights, folding and stitching as neatly as I could.  I then wrapped some metallic mesh fabric around the middle and secured it by wrapping with orange metallic thread.

I then tried covering some card with wadding and dyed cotton.  Before covering it, I marked in vanishing marker the boundaries of the card rectangle and embroidered another spiral using chain stitch and couching.  I didn't think of putting a ruler beside it when photographing it, but the orange rectangle is 5 cm by 3 cm and you can judge the size of the others in illustration 3.7.1.

At this point I ran out of ideas and motivation and couldn't  think of anything interesting I could do with covering buttons.  Perhaps some inspiration will strike at a later time!

I went on to making the toggle buttons.  This is seriously addictive.  Every one was a surprise as it is impossible to predict exactly how the material will behave when heated.  As soon as I saw one result I had to start on another.  I wrapped some beads around a metal skewer, and then went out to the patio to do the heat gun and soldering iron bit.  After the recent damage done to my liver by antibiotics, I am now very aware of toxins around me, so preferred to work outside so as to avoid inhaling fumes.  I had to wait for dry weather to do this and had to work in short bursts, with frequent breaks to thaw out indoors with some hot tea!

3.7.7 My collection of toggles (so far)

3.7.8 Simply layers of fabric wrapped and heated with a heat gun, some wrapped with thread or a contrasting strip of acrylic felt.

3.7.9 different shapes of acrylic felt, some wrapped with thread which partly melted

3.7.10 layered fabrics wrapped, bound with thread, heated with a heat gun and then incised with a soldering iron

3.7.10 These are my favourites.  I  coloured Tyvek and Lutradur, layered them together and machine stitched  in small spirals before wrapping and heat-treating.  I love the fuzziness of them.  The thread I used was cotton which wasn't affected by the heat and sometimes retained the shape of the stitching.

After the fun and excitement of this, I thought the Dorset buttons would be a bit boring.  I had trouble finding any suitable rings and could only find two small curtain rings lurking at the bottom of the tool box, so had a go.  It was surprisingly enjoyable and I'd like to experiment more with some less conventional ideas.   I have found an online source of the necessary rings and have sent away for some, so will put some more on my next posting.  Here are my two early samples:

3.7.11 two small Dorset buttons 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Certificate Module 3 Chapter 6 Tassels



This has been another most enjoyable chapter – more like playing than working.  I might return to it and do some more tassels, but I want to get into the habit of working and posting more regularly, rather than my bad habit of working a huge amount of hours and then doing nothing for weeks (or even months!!).  So, here’s what I’ve done this week:


3.6.h1  Two simple tassels.  The one on the left has a bead threaded onto the end of each stand of thread and secured by a knot.


3.6.h2 Strips of dyed cotton muslin


3.6.h3  Experimenting with different materials: this is strips of bubble wrap.


3.6.h4 Dyed lace and twill tape


3.6.h5 I used three strands of differently coloured yarns and stuffed the head before tying the neck.  I used a long chenille thread to tie the threads at the head and then knotted it with a repeated half hitch to give a spiral.


3.6.h6  I had fun with this one!  I made the threads longer to have more possibilities.  First I tied the head close to the fold, then I stuffed the next bit and tied again, tying a third time close to the second tie.  I then divided the skirt into 6 pieces and tied them before plaiting each one for a bit and then tying again (each plait separately).  I really liked this one and the colours worked well.


3.6.h7  I tried Sian’s suggestion to plait a cord first then fold it, tie it and unplait the skirt.  However, instead of just folding I thought I’d try a turk’s head knot for the head of the tassel.  My brain got lost in trying to fathom out where all the threads should go, but, although it isn’t a turk’s head knot, it is a fairly decorative knot.  It works quite well, although would have been better with the proper knot!


3.6.m1  Two machine stitched tassels.  I didn’t really enjoy this – I don’t like using the machine and much prefer stitching and making by hand.  However, I could see that you could make some interesting textures in the head of the tassel by judicious choice of stitch and thread and so I think more experimentation here would be good.  The thread I chose for the one on the right was two colours of a very springy viscose cord that had been wound around a small piece of card, so that it wanted to spring up in curls.  I liked that effect.


If I manage to stick to my resolution, I’ll have more to post next Sunday.