Not what it seams!
I got quite carried away with this chapter. There are endless possibilities …here are just a few.
Images 1 to 12 show different seam decorations, some of which are based on the examples in the notes, and some are different. Because a number of these samples are three-dimensional, there is a mix of scans and photographs.
1. Forward-facing seams made in different fabrics, frayed back to the stitching line
2. Striped fabric strip inserted in seam, then frayed to make a stripy fringe
3. Muslin strips inserted in seam, frayed and tied in offset ponytails using thick black silk thread (soie noppee which, sadly, appears impossible to get any more).
4. Strips of a chiffon sandwich with snippets of fabric and threads frayed from seams, inserted in seam then snipped
5. The inserted strip is a section of a shibori sample with undulating dye patterns. I’ve machined wavy lines in a cable stitch zigzag into the dye patterns, then cut away the fabric along the lines of the pattern. The seam also incorporates frayed muslin as I wanted to soften the stitching without obliterating it.
6. White lawn cut in blocks, frayed, inserted in seam, then zigzag stitching to mimic the way the lawn is cut
7. Strips of monoprinted fabric arranged in zigzag pattern and inserted into seam, then decorative stitching in black to mark out the void spaces, and white cable stitch
8. Black fabric slashed, laid over white fabric and seamed, then stuffed with lengths of knitting yarn to form a padded sausage and inserted into seam. I was thinking about Tudor costumes when I made this and the next sample – this one works best wrapped around a curved object.
9. For this one, I cut diamond shapes instead of slashes. This is a larger sausage, padded with polyester toy filling.
10. The next two are insertion-type seams. This one has the edges turned under and zigzagged, and the knotted insertion is a machined cord made from lengths of black and white pearl cotton.
11. This one is more interesting. Again, the edges were turned under. The stitching is a three-step zigzag in cable stitch. I discovered that if I made long stitches right on the edge, it created loops which I have laced with a cord made from a zigzagged twisted fabric strip.
12. This seam is decorated with knotted cords – one made from pearl cotton, the other from a knotted fabric strip.
Simple ideas for trimmings
(a) and (b) The three samples in image 13 have been decorated with cable stitched three-step zigzag (left), overlapping rows of blind hemming stitch (right), and the centre ribbon consists of two layers of fabric decorated with cable stitch zigzag of varying stitch length.
The samples in image 14 are more complex. Left to right: different widths of two fabrics with a layer of muslin laid in a wavy pattern (it’s easy to distort muslin laterally without getting pleats in it because of the open weave), with blind hemming cable stitched curves echoing the muslin curves; frayed lawn layered with a strip of chiffon sandwich with a thread cord zigzagged on top; plaited fabric strips zigzagged to hold the strips in place.
(a) and (b) Images 15 and 16 show, respectively, cords made by twisting and machining a single fabric strip and several strips layered and twisted together.
(c) and (d) Images 17 and 18 show, respectively, knots tied in a single fabric strip, and in a bunch of fabric strips.
As image 19 shows, I found that if I tied slip-knots instead of overhand knots into a fabric strip, the knots would alternate sides (this is how I made the insertions in image 12).
a. Image 20 shows two fabric toggles made from rolls of fabric tied with pearl cotton. I frayed the edges of the fabric strip in the right-hand sample before rolling the fabric.
(b) The samples in image 21 show folded, knotted ends made from bundles of fabric strips (left and right) and from a machine-stitched twist (centre).
Just for fun, I also made some tassels. The ones in image 22 are made from a strip of fabric, knotted and frayed, inserted into seam to be used as an edging.
The tassels in image 23 were made from a strip of muslin, doubled lengthwise and frayed, with the head made from a strip of mono-printed fabric bound with pearl cotton (left), and a strip of fabric snipped crosswise and rolled for the skirt, bound with multiple layers of pearl cotton to form a fat head.