Thursday, 28 November 2013

Making the scarf samplers

The first thing to do was to finger pleat the pink fabric. I didn't want to iron it, because that would affect the shapes of the lozenges too much. The idea is to make the lines straight, but have them curve due to the fabric manipulation.

This shows the pleats and the wax pattern before I put the lines of wax at the edges of the strips.

I put the wax in one strip only out of four because I would like it if the lips of the lozenges were pink on back and front. I don't know if this is going to work, especially with such unstiff fabric, another reason for this sampler.

I then painted the colours onto each piece using fabric paint. This one shows the black grey and white colour scheme, after the wax has been removed. At this point I realised that if you want white to show through when the wax is gone, you have to have a white piece of fabric!

The piece below shows the 'naturalistic' shell colour combination.

Another thing this sample reminded me is that I need to take more time and trouble over the wax at the edges of the painted sections to prevent running like this.

At this point the warmer colours look better to me. I suspect that the black/grey ones would be better off with white background, and with a paler pink. Or the bright coral red.

The next picture shows what this square looks like when I've sewn together the pink strips. On this side the running paint doesn't show, and the whole thing has something of what I was hoping for - contrast, emphasis of the lozenge shape, horizontals inside.

The lack of stiffness does not appear to be a problem with the fabric manipulation, and in fact is more appealing in a scarf.

The next photo on the right shows this same piece from the reverse side. Here the running paint is obvious and ruins the 'lips' effect at the edges.

 I didn't quite get the proportions right on the widths of the strips, as the lozenges don't hold themselves apart in the same way here as they do on the front.

The sample on the left is the equivalent in the black/grey/pink colour combination. This one is more in line with current fashion, and looks good in a 1950s way. It would look even better, I think, if the white was actually white, and the pink were a little paler.

So, the plan is to make a final sampler just like that. And big enough so I can hem the edges and see what will happen to the lozenges in wear. I also think it would be amusing and allow both sides to be on display, if I make this small scarf in the design with a slit in the middle.

I don't have a photo of the wax pattern or the flat painted fabric, but you can see that I did it in stripes, In order to ensure the paint did not run this time I ironed the white cotton fabric first into box pleats 2cm wide. This made a channel for the wax to run in, so it concentrated in the right place. I then painted the wax in horizontals using the pattern from the back of the cowrie. I used Pebeo setacolours mixed into a brown-black and grey/pearl for the pattern, and a very pale pink for the alternate stripes. I then cut the curved edge of the scarf. Then the smocking.

This shows the black/grey/ white side of the scarf in construction, before (left) and after hemming.

I sewed smocking stitches on the surface of the black/pearl side but on the other hand 1.5cm beneath the pink surface, in order to give a more rounded edge to the lozenges like the lips of the shell.

I deliberately made them next to each other rather than staggered, because the image of rows of cowries together appeals to me more, and has a more 1950s style than diagonal ones.

The hems are simple rolled hems which doesn't work very well with cotton of this thickness, especially after painting, but in the end I like the way it gives a curved 3 dimensional edge, and wonder whether in fact it might be good to allow a loose frill of this all the way along the finished scarf?

The final cowrie scarf sampler, pink side.
Now I really want to find out what happens when I do this in silk, but I don't have time to try before sending it in.

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