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Old 10-01-2002, 07:30 PM
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DraigAthar DraigAthar is offline
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Woo-hoo! Got my silk in the mail today so now I'm ready to start sewing. Soon as I clean the table off so I can set up the sewing machine, heh ...

Amy
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Old 10-02-2002, 01:13 PM
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Okay, I spent a little time last night sewing up a test head, to make sure I'd be satisfied with the head pattern before starting on the whole body. Here's how it came out (quickly hand sewn only, and without eyes, so a bit approximate, but close enough to tell me the pattern will work). What do you think?



And don't worry, I'll go back and explain how I did this when I get to that part in the full sculpture. Right now I just wanted a quick test so I didn't take photos along the way.

Amy
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Old 10-02-2002, 01:16 PM
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David Dowbyhuz David Dowbyhuz is offline
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Cool

Wonderful!
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Old 10-02-2002, 04:18 PM
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I WANT ONE!!!!!


Draig this is great! May I interest you in scupting some pixies?



Terry
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Old 10-02-2002, 05:07 PM
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DraigAthar DraigAthar is offline
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Thanks Dave.

Terry, pixies might be fun. I've been wanting to get into some human figure fabric sculptures a bit more - only done a couple before. Got any drawings I could use as reference? You could post them in a separate thread.

Amy

p.s. more demo to follow shortly!
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Old 10-02-2002, 05:46 PM
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I will fix you right up Draig!!

I'll let you know when they're ready!

Terry
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Old 10-02-2002, 05:51 PM
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Yeah! Yeah! Pixies!
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Old 10-02-2002, 06:09 PM
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Okay, so to start sewing up the dragon, the first thing you have to do is transfer the pattern to the fabric.

I use silk for these fabric sculptures because it's quite strong and can stand up to a lot of pulling and needle sculpting. I've used a few different kinds of silk before. For this project, I am using raw silk, also known as silk noil. It's a very neat fabric, a loose weave of nubbly silk threads. It's still got that nice silk drape and look:



Here you can see the texture of it better:



I buy this from Dharma Trading ( http://dharmatrading.com/ ) by the yard. So to start with I like to cut the silk into smaller pieces, to make it easier to work with. I just cut a rectangle that will fit over the pattern piece I need to trace. Silk is usually a woven fabric and it tears cleanly, so the best way to cut nice pieces is to measure the length and width you want and then just cut little nicks in the edge of the fabric, and rip it down the length of the fabric. Makes for a perfect straight edge to help with lining things up later. See how it tears cleanly:



So now I have my piece of silk. I need to trace the pattern onto it. Now, for most fabric projects, you have to be careful what you use to draw marks onto the fabric, otherwise you may end up with unwanted marks on your finished garment/sculpture that won't wash out. But in this case it doesn't matter - you can mark the fabric up all you want because it's going to be painted later. I just use pencil. Lay your piece of silk over the pattern. I use the straight edges of the piece of paper as a guide to line up the straight edges of my piece of silk (this is why I tear it instead of cutting it). Silk tends to shift, so it's important to make sure it's flat and straight before tracing the pattern on, or the pattern itself will be all crooked after you've traced and moved the silk again.



Then you just trace all the pattern markings onto the silk. The leg darts won't actually be sewn on these pieces (they are for the body gusset) but I find it far easier to trace them onto the body pieces and then transfer them to the gusset later. You'll see what I mean when I get there.



Trace the pattern for the other side of the body onto a second piece of silk:



Then you need pieces of silk for the body gusset, one for each side of the body. Don't trace the pattern onto the gusset piece, just make sure it's big enough to cover the gusset:



Trace the head gusset onto a piece of fabric, as well (just a single one):



Now, you don't need to cut out the body pieces yet. It's actually easier to work with them left as they are, as a big rectangle of fabric. But you do need to cut the head gusset out. It's important to have a good pair of fabric scissors if you're going to do stuff like this often. Buy a nice pair and then never use them for cutting anything other than fabric. I have a special pair of scissors made for cutting small detailed things:



Cut the head gusset out leaving about 1/4" seam allowance all the way around:



Save the silk scraps - we'll use these later on:



That's it for now. As before, let me know if it makes sense, or if I am not being clear at any point.



Amy
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:07 PM
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DraigAthar DraigAthar is offline
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Time to start sewing the dragon up! Dig that sewing machine out of the closet, dust it off, and thread it up.

Start by sewing the body gusset pieces to the body pieces. Pin a body gusset piece to a body piece, making sure the gusset piece is in place to cover the entire gusset area, as marked on the body.



Then sew the gusset to the body from the point on the tail to the point on the chest, LEAVING THE BOTTOMS OF THE FEET OPEN. If you've never sewn small curves and detail work like this on a sewing machine, it can take a little getting used to. There's a sort of technique to it. You sew a bit, stop with the needle still in the fabric, raise the presser foot, turn the fabric, lower the presser foot and sew a few more stitches, and so on. You can exercise much greater control over the fabric this way than if you try and stitch it all in one continuous feed. Here's the gusset side of the fabric after sewing (and with the gusset markings transferred from the body piece to the gusset - you can usually see your marks on the body piece right through the gusset, so you just trace them on at this point).



Do this with both sides of the body. Then cut the body pieces (and the gusset pieces, now that they're sewn on) out, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around.



Now it's time to sew the leg darts in the body gusset. Here's one of the leg darts marked on the body gusset.



The straight line is the fold line, and the curved lines are the sewing lines. Pinch the gusset (right sides together) folding along the fold line and pin. You have to be very careful at this point not to catch any extra fabric in the dart, like the body piece or a fold of the gusset. Here it is pinned to be sewn.



Then sew along the curved line, backstitching at either end to keep the dart from pulling apart later on. DON'T trim the dart, leave it as is, after sewing, as seen here.



This is fiddly work, but take your time and be precise. It's worth it.

I'm not getting any questions on any of this, or any replies at all lately, so I'll assume that means I'm explaining it okay so far, or that I've lost you all completely. Or perhaps that I've bored you senseless. LOL!

Amy
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Last edited by DraigAthar : 10-03-2002 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:12 PM
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Looking great, Amy. I love the test head.
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:53 PM
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This is SO cool Amy. I look forwad to seeing more!!
TWyla
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Old 10-03-2002, 07:45 PM
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Not lost at all

I always love to see the creation of life in the hands of an artist.
This guy is shaping up very nicely.
Looking to future installments of his birth.

Mom
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Old 10-03-2002, 07:50 PM
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Amy, this is going real well.
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:15 PM
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David Dowbyhuz David Dowbyhuz is offline
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Cool

Umm.

Err.

Your gussets (there are gussets, aren't there?) are looking very hem-ish. And your darts, well your darts are, well ... very ... darty?

Oh! And your back-stitching really does go back. Super.

I hope I haven't dazzled you to excess with my incisive eloquence, Amy. It's what I do.

No, don't thank me. It's all a public service.

Last edited by Iconoclast : 10-04-2002 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:20 PM
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David Dowbyhuz David Dowbyhuz is offline
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Ok. I'm better now. The foolishness has passed. (For now.)

Seriously, Amy, I have the greatest respect for someone as accomplished, and multi-talented as you. Understanding one sentence in ten has been no deterent to my following this thread.

It's great!

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