Teaching Philosophy

I feel successful when I teach people:

- to see what they look at!

- that it is ok to be different!

- to open a whole new world of creativity for them....

- that there is a solution for every problem (mostly with a quick-unpick!)

- that it is a joy to be creative......

The Creative Mind Plays with the Object it Loves -
Carl Jung

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Scraps to Funky Threads...!

My friend Wendy Singer and I spent a wonderful day playing with scraps in 2000 before her family moved to the UK - the result was two very innovative waistcoats.     I loved the concept so much that I turned it into a workshop.  

In short, I randomly cut triangles in different sizes and shapes, pinned it to a base fabric and stitched the triangles down using a triangular motion in various threads, ranging from ordinary sewing thread to glitzy metallics.   In the process, I made new fabric which offered various possibilities.....    I taught this workshop at a Fynbos event in Riebeek Kasteel and one of my students worked with circles on black, absolutely stunning.

As I love to sew my own clothes, I decided to make an outfit for the wedding of the daughter of dear friends...   The project was actually very ambitious and I had to add the outfit to my UFO heap as time ran out ....    Soon it was time for another wedding and I had this outfit which was halfway....    So, I continued my endless stitching and finished it in time.....

The outfit was a plain shift dress and a funky jacket in jewel colours.     I used the same concept which I initially used of stitching randomly cut triangles to a base fabric for the waistcoat in 2000, but this time I used wash-away Avalon and Avalon Plus instead of a base fabric...   My idea was to create a lacy effect fabric which I then used to cut the different sections of the jacket....    I had no idea whether it would work and battled with these huge pieces of Avalon (washaway plastic) which stuck to the machine bed all the time while navigating lots of pins keeping the triangles (cut of cotton, linen, velvet, upholstery, tulle, lace, taffeta, satin, silk, chiffon etc) in place drawing blood from my arms etc...   Lots of baby powder helped to keep it smooth while stitching.    I stitched and stitched and stitched......   I had to add enough stitching between the triangles to keep it secure so that it would not disintegrate when washing the Avalon away or be too fragile for a garment...    I used the same thread on the bobbin throughout as it would be an integral part of the inside of the fabric.   I changed the top thread regularly using all the different colours in the triangular scraps, starting with ordinary sewing thread and finishing with glitzy metallic threads.    I was very anxious when it was time to wash the Avalon away and I was enthralled with the first piece, it was even better than I envisioned.    It was a major task to wash all the the Avalon out - failing to do so leaves a sticky, tough residue on the article.    The new fabric was lovely and soft, full of texture.

A piece of the  newly created fabric before Avalon was washed away

I adapted a Burda blouse pattern to  make a pattern for the jacket.   As the edges of the fabric was very fragile, I had to finish it off with some reinforcing technique.   I prepared a facing of the same fabric as the dress and fused applique paper to it instead of vilene.  I stitched the facing to the inside of the jacket edges, clipped and folded it over to the right side and fused it down around the edges of the neck, front opening and hem, doing the same around the sleeve hems.    It provided a strong secure edge which would ensure that the  jacket would not disintegrate.   I embellished these facings by couching various variegated raw silk yarns and rayon cords and finished it off with interspersed beading and sequins.   

Embellished Edge of Jacket

The only thing which I bought to make this jacket was the Avalon!    I created a very special jacket using  scraps and my thread stash.    And the beauty is that nobody else has a little number like mine...!

My husband Willem and me wearing my funky threads!