Apply & Layer

Final part of Fabric Manipulation book preview. Read about the other chapters: Pleat and Fold &  Stitch and Gather

The Apply & Layer chapter covers a whole lot more than just  appliqué, although the majority of the techniques are appliqué in its loosest sense. Layering up fabrics and applying shapes on a foundation have many exciting possibilities and this chapter only touches the surface. There are some well-known techniques, from the basics of hand and machine quilting (with the emphasis on using them to make manipulated fabric, not for making large quilts) and stitch and slash. I have covered trapunto quilting in depth as it is one of my most favourite techniques, although there’s a an awful lot more about trapunto that I had to leave out! I use trapunto in my own artwork quite often as I find it to be a beautiful, subtle technique that can be used in many way.

Cut surface quilting is my interpretation of a technique used by designer <Helen Amy Murray to create stunning textured leather for upholstery. I have adapted the technique for a variety of materials and tried out a number of variations. Since I wrote this chapter, I’ve made a large piece of my own using a version of this technique.

Applied decoration is very popular on contemporary couture fashion, and has been for some years. The techniques are generally worked by hand and are often very time-consuming, but the effects are stunning. I got the idea for looped strips from a couture coat I saw a picture of years ago. Dresses from the 1830s-1880s are also good for innovative appliqué. You can see examples in my Pinterest board. Personally, I particularly love Petals and Split Circles. I made a huge framed artwork using vintage fabric in the petals technique a few years ago, and more recently revamped a blouse using split circles and embellished a jumper with delicate trapunto.

The scalloped edges technique is one I keep coming back to in my own work – it has such potential.The orange piece below is the first piece I used it in – inspired by roof tiles on a Victorian building when I was artist in residence at Bilston Craft Gallery in 2007. Simple scallops are used to edge the cape project, made during the same residency and it also uses shadow work reverse appliqué.I currently have plans for a large quilt using cut-surface quilting and definitely more trapunto. 

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