Monday 24 October 2016

Textile Collage Art .... Part Two

Creating *  Making  *  Stitching  *  Enjoying

I am so pleased with the feedback of part one of this and I hope you enjoy this next instalment.
So what to make then.  Well again this is all down to personal taste really.  I love making things for
the home like pictures and wall hangings and also I have started to add things to clothes.

So with an antique white skirt that I bought from Beyond France it has a beautiful lace hem but I am making patches to add on to the skirt to make it unique to me. Little things to stitch on and still be able to wash it.  Although I thought about a patch with paper as well but that I only safety pin it to the skirt and then remove that when I wash it ....

How about making a a simple pinafore dress from an old quilt and add buttons and embroidery, this is something I have not done yet but I am on the look out for an old quilt for this very purpose.  Once washed you could get a antique pattern and cut it out and with embellishment you could make it your own, unique and different dress. If you are no dress maker ( like myself) then starting with an old quilt already has pieces stitched together and this takes a lot of work out of it.  You could make one that just goes over your head or put a zip in or a button up one down the side a little way to be able to step into the dress.

There is a sample book that you could make with textiles, sayings and embroidery .. one step further would be a little book for a child with counting or textures and openings and fastening.  A little rag doll inside and a story .... imagination is a wonderful thing.

Also a book with bits of your favourite fabrics stitched in.  Even though you use all of it you could save a little bit to add to a book so that you always have a textile library in effect and you can look at
this from time to time, adding some embroidery or pin little notes inside.  You could also add some antique embroidery from old hankies, tablecloths or napkins and this would make a fabulous heirloom one day as well to pass on to family or friends ..

When creating a collage/sampler then build it up with different fabrics and textures adding stitching.  Your imagination can run wild with animals, flowers or literally a collage of shapes and fabrics adding stitching here and there for interest in a way that a painter of abstract would on a canvass.  It is about what pleases you or what you know to please a family member or friend.  I simply adore handmade gifts because it shows the lucky recipient that you really care enough to add time to the gift and that it is unique to them with a part of you stitched into it ..... A treasure.
How about if you have an old photo of a loved one and you make a fabric collage and then stitch the photo on to make an unusual and fitting picture that you can hang in your home.  Using different fabrics and embroidery, buttons and lace it would be a real talking point in any home and a wonderful gift.  It could be a person or pet or indeed a holiday snap of something you loved .. a memory.

Layering is good if you start with a piece of the thin cotton quilt wadding it can be torn to be slightly jagged and then you can add different fabrics one by one, over lapping them and adding texture and embroidery.  You can formally bind the piece you are working on, or indeed leave the edges raw to add to the interest when it is framed.

Appliqué is another way to embellish and add interest to a piece.  You can finger turn it and do invisible stitching or you can maybe split stitch around it to add even more dimension and interest.  If you do a flower you could stitch in French knots for the middle part or sew in tiny beads instead.

Vintage bits of patchwork that have never been made into a quilt can be great to add to a piece being that its old fabrics already in a row or even some antique suffolk puffs ( yo yo's) and again English paper piecing bits that would look fabulous added to a collage/sampler.

One piece of advice is if you have never done anything like this, is to start small and not make it too big to begin with.  Maybe start with some little patches to stitch onto a jacket or skirt.  If you fancy ago at a picture than make it A5 size to begin with or A4 and then you get the idea and the work is easy to handle.  When the base is all secure together if you are doing some embroidery I can not stress enough how good it is to put an embroidery hoop on to keep your stitching neat and taught.
A  great habit to get into is when you have finished embroidering that day .. take the hoop off and re load it again the next time you stitch so that it does not mark your work deeply.  

If it does need ironing and you do not want to flatten your embroidery or indeed you have stitched buttons on to it then it is simple to press.  Get out your ironing board and put an lovely thick towel on it.  Place your work on it upside down (so the back of the work is what you are looking at)  Then press it like that.  Buttons sink into the towel and do not break and it keeps all the layers and textures fluffy and plump.

Another piece of advice is put bits of fabrics together and look at it before you start stitching to check you like what you see and that they blend.  If you do something take a photo and then take away and add, and take a photo and keep doing this to look and see what you did and what you like the best.  It really helps you decide and of course my mantra ' let your work speak for itself ' it all helps before you start taking little stitches ...

The last thing I would like to advice is you use the right needle for the right job and always use sharp ones.  For stitching together use a 'sharp' and use 'embroidery' needles for just that.  There are beading needles and appliqué ones too.  They are a great investment and not too expensive.  If you are sewing it all together on a machine do not forget to start out by changing your needle so that it is sharp enough to go through the layers you are creating.  You could stitch around edges of fabrics layering as you go, or indeed free motion embroider with different coloured cottons.

Most of all enjoy yourself and enjoy creating something that is totally unique to you and in the colours and fabrics you love and enjoy.  Some of us love loud and bold others more delicate and muted .. the choice is yours.

Well that is it from me today and I hope you have enjoyed your read.  Have a great day and enjoy creating.  I would love to hear your thoughts and see anything that you have stitched if you are willing to share.

Have a great Monday and Happy Stitching! XX


  1. Great advise Sarah, thank you! Reminded me of a workshop I attended a while back - we were making an apron dress and one of the girls made hers from an old pair of chintz curtains - it was heavenly! Mo xx

    1. Thank you Mo really pleased you enjoyed the read .. There is nothing like pre loved and timeworn fabrics in my humble opinion .. I bet it was really gorgeous.. I love chintz too!
      Sarah XX