Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Using DIY Motifs and Appliques

Recently I wrote about how to make your own motifs and appliques - see this post 

On this post, I'll give some of using them.

First, a very simple butterfly motif. The fabric it was culled from is in the selection shown on the earlier post. I made a reversible bib / pinafore using this and a yellow fabric also with butterflies. (You can see the bib right near the bottom of the link.) So I just had some little bits left, out of which I could get two whole butterflies.(Just - it needed care where they almost join.)


So the butterflies got the interfacing and cutting out treatment.  In practice, these used my second method, of zig zagging onto the actual garment, rather than before attaching. 

Here it is attached to a little dress with a shirred elastic bodice.

And here it is on the model!

You'll see below other examples of how home-made motifs can work. 

I mentioned in an earlier post how much I like the kingfisher blue 'gonk' fabric. This has lent itself to a number of motifs I've made. Here's one of them on a dribble bib. (There'll be a separate post about dribble bibs.)

This beetle-like gonk, as you can see, has feelers and legs, which I decided were too small or skinny to cut around. After attaching the interfacing, I drew an oval around the beetle (chopping bits of legs off; leaving them at full length would have led to a very strange shape with bits of other gonks interfering). I can't remember now whether I did the zig-zagging before I cut out the oval, or cut it out first and then zig-zagged it on to the towelling bib. Either would have worked. I suspect I cut it out first and then attached with the zig-zag stitch directly onto the bib, or I would have probably used Kingfisher blue sewing thread, and in fact I've used white.

Those two examples are about as simple as DIY motif-making gets. Below is one I made that is a bit more complicated. My daughter loved the donkey and flowers on a Frugi Lucy baby dress she saw in a department store. This was way outside our budget (though more recently I've seen it at half price). So I set to making her one for her baby. I searched the internet for cute donkeys that were similar to the one on the Fruli dress, to make a template. Here’s the donkey I made:

It’s formed of several bits of fabric appliquéd together, using some interfacing as a base. It started with the donkey’s body, which is a pale brown and black patterned material used on the reverse side. Then a small piece of some cream fabric was added on as the donkey’s muzzle. Zig-zagging across held them together.  And another tiny circle of the cream material formed the basis for his eye. Then there was a purple saddle with orange ric-rac trim. Unfortunately my zigzagging round the flower on the saddle is a bit wonky, I'd have been better embroidering it by hand, as I did the flower. 

His little blue flower at his neck is one of the flowers off the dress fabric (you can see another one near his foot. That was also given the interfacing and zigzagging treatment, then it was stitched in the middle to his ear with a couple of stitches by hand. All the rest was embroidered on by hand, or by using the simple zig-zag on my sewing machine. (My sewing machine only has a simple zig-zag – it doesn’t have anything clever. Perhaps if it did, I might produce more professional results. But I can’t be doing with anything complicated.) His stripey socks were embroidered by hand using what my mother used to call satin stitch. His tail is a plait of several lengths of embroidery thread, knotted, and with the ends left free. So he's ended up a little disheveled, but endearing. Well, we quite like him!

There are also some flowers appliquéd onto the dress. These are extra flowers cut from spare fabric, backed with interfacing, and zig-zagged on, with a little padding behind to make them stand a bit proud. In fact, each flower goes over one that's identical on the pattern of the dress, so the effect is just to make them look more prominent.

 I then added some zig-zag stalks in pale green. I made sure all the additions - donkey, flowers, stalks - were done before I turned up the dress hem. I wanted to have the option of letting down the hem in future.

The dress was made from one of the patterns I've mentioned on my post about peasant dresses. (I think the Stitching Scientist one.) I've shown the knickers on this post. They were made using the free pattern and tutorial on Dana's Perfect Diaper Cover.

So, there are a couple of examples for you of what you can do with home-made motifs and appliques. The first and second took a few minutes each to do, the donkey probably took me the best part of a day. A more professional needlewoman than I am could do it much faster, especially with one of the computerised sewing machines.

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