By Request: Thread Painting
Plus a Bonus!
After showing some thread painting quite a few months ago, I had a reader email me asking for a tutorial on thread painting. I haven't forgotten and here it is!
Let me preface this by saying that this a popular, well-documented technique and that there are more ways than one to achieve it, although basically they are all the same. The idea is to use your sewing machine and thread like a colored pencil or paintbrush and create an image in thread. To start, you will need a piece of fabric with an image on it. You can use commerically printed fabric, which I do quite a bit. The picture is already there, and so are the colors, all I need to do is fill it in! You can also start with a piece of muslin upon which you've drawn your image first in water soluble or other marker depending on if you want to keep the outline or not. You will also need to stabilize your image with stabilizer. The type depends on your preference and how much stitching will be done. I prefer a water soluble stabilizer, such as Sulky Solvy.
As a side note, the more stitching that you do and the more densely you stitch the more your piece will shrink. Stabilizers will help, but if you want the piece to remain relatively flat do a few practice pieces to see how much shrinkage you will get.
To set up your sewing machine, you will need to lower the feed dogs. There is usually a button or switch on the machine near the bobbin case and free arm that allows you to do so. This drops the feed dogs so that the machine will not be moving the fabric under the foot. You will be the one moving the fabric under the foot. You will also need a darning foot, shown below. Sometimes these are called free motion quilting feet or something similar. They have a spring arrangement and do not have the pressure on the fabric that the regular foot has so that the fabric can move freely underneath.
As far as settings for type of stitch and length, there are two options. I prefer to set the machine for a straight stitch with a length of zero. Others prefer to set the machine to zigzag. Try both and see what you prefer or combine the techniques.
Once the thread is loaded and you have installed a needle appropriate to the thread, you can then start stitching. You will need to move the fabric under the needle and keep it moving to fill the spaces of the image with color. The faster you move the fabric, the larger the stitches will be. The slower you move the fabric, the smaller the stitches will be. Experiment to see what you like. You could also use a combination of both for a different effects in different areas.
You can see that I have filled in only certain areas of the this flower with stitching. I didn't want to do the whole thing, only accent certain portions.
Here is the piece from the back - even the back is kind of pretty.
Now for the bonus! Because I have been away part of the summer and while I've been home I've been extremely busy, I missed my two year blogiversary last month! So in honor of all you have faithfully come here everyday to see what nonsense I've been up, to see my darling children, cute cats and occasionally my handsome husband, I have a give away:
Please leave a comment if you'd like to be included in the drawing for this post card, as well as a few other goodies in your box, which I will leave as a surprise.
**Edited to add: Please leave a comment by 6:00am Friday, Aug. 29. I'd like to get this in the mail before the holiday weekend if possible!**
Parting Shot: Vogue Couturier #800. This one has similar design lines to the Vogue Special Design that I compared with the original with the reprint in a post in the past few months. We will be going inside the envelope on this one later in the week - there are some interesting details on the inside of the dress.