American Beauty - Coat - Part V
Two Days Later . . . .
I finally finished the trapunto rose medallion. It looks good, and I'm finally happy with it. I know, I know, two days for a 5 1/2" x 4 1/2" medallion?!? Yes, two days. That's all I sewed on, with the exception of hemming a brown polar fleece sweatshirt for a very petite, very eldery lady in my church. That took 30 minutes tops, taking longer to get set up, find the right thread and set up the machine properly for fleece. Back to the medallion . . .
This thing was a real bear to work on. More than once I thought to myself, "You are absolutely crazy, what were you thinking? Why don't you just diamond quilt it like the rest of the pieces?" By now, you might have a slight inkling that I am prone to do some strange things. In the realm of sewing, I can be fearless (or nuts, depending on how you look at it), I will try anything and am willing to cut any fabric, regardless of how expensive. I'm the person who went shopping for my wedding gown lace and forgot the pattern bag for the amount of yardage, had the person lay out a length of lace, mentally placed each piece and came up with needing 1 1/4 yards. It was plenty, and should have been at $135.00 per yard! Definitely the most expensive fabric I've ever bought and sewn.
So here's the medallion in stages. It's machine trapuntoed, not hand tranpuntoed. Meaning that instead of traditionally putting on a back, stitching around the design, cutting a hole in the backing and stuffing the resulting design, I did something else, but common in the quilting world. Basically, you layer your top and some very thick batting, and machine stitch around the design with water soluble thread in the top of the machine and regular in the bobbin. Then you carefully cut out the excess batting, layer your regular batting and back under the top fabric and restitch the whole thing and then quilt around it. After that, you spray the whole thing with water and the water soluble thread magically disappears and you're done. Uh-huh. Yeah right. It's not that easy or simple, especially in a small scale, complicated design. Now, did I think about this when I drafted this stuff? Yes, but, sometimes you have to have a certain design and you just deal with the consequences knowing there will be bumps in the road (or slubs in the silk).
Here's the first stitching. I traced the design on with white dressmaker's pencil and stitched. Big, big, big mistake! It looks like a 5 year old stitched it. What was I thinking? From previous experience, I should have known better. This stuff rubs off very easily and you can't get too far without losing your design. Furthermore, my machine decided it did not like the water soluble thread, no matter what dials I turned and things I adjusted. I don't why, it's stitched that stuff before. Ugh. There is no way I'm keeping this.
With my head on straight, I resorted to a few tricks. Tricks that will cost me a little time later, but will give me the right result. First up, I switched that nasty thread to the bobbin. Most icky threads will run a lot better if bobbin wound and a plain old thread is run through the top. Why didn't I think of this earlier? Well, because the water soluble thread will now be on the bottom, making it more difficult to remove and I will have to pick out the regular thread on the top. (Yes, I did so.) Second, I traced off the design onto tissue paper. Now, I could have used a tear away or water soluble stabilizer, but I am out of both due to another large project, the Burgundy Fall Coat. The down side of tissue paper is that, you guessed it, it will have to be picked out, bit by nasty bit of the final product. Again, a small price to pay for getting the right result. Once that all was done, I had a few corrections to make. Some of the little curlicues weren't even, the right side of the oval was lopsided, etc. The rose itself actually turned out right on the first go around.
I finally trimmed out the thick batting from the back - you can see the medallion from the back with the batting trimmed away at the right.
As if all that wasn't insulting enough, I still had to diamond quilt the whole thing - inside the medallion and out. The first go around was pretty bad, with distorted diamonds. So I picked out the yucky parts and proceeded very carefully, one or two lines at a time, meticulously measuring each line to make sure it was 3/4" away from it's neighbors. It took about 2 hours to complete just the area in and surrounding the oval. For every stop and start, I also had to pull the threads through and tie them off. In quilting with a regular back (not tulle), I would have had to bury the threads too, but in this case with a lining, I just had to tie.
Final pictures! The top one is a scale picture, my brother, the archeologist, would be proud of. He's always bugging me that he can't tell the scale of things in my pictures. I've included the ruler for him and for you. Next is the back yoke by itself, and the last is where it will be placed on the back of the coat on the dressform for a visual reference.
Today I get to go to Joann's and pick up the fur supplies, and I think I'll finish a black vintage dress I started earlier this week before the trapunto took over my life. Then maybe I'll do some easy diamond quilting on other pieces of the coat before tackling the fur on Monday. Whew.
Last, but not least, guess who I saw in my front yard? Mr. Fox. Yes, I really live in the Boontoolies. He came up and was sniffing around while I working on the trapunto one afternoon, and this is the best picture I snapped in haste. The windows were open, and the screens played havoc with the camera, and I wanted to be really quiet. He's about 15-20 feet away from the house.