Fabric Explorations

Over the past few months I have been feeling like doing some sewing, but I couldn’t get a good fix on just what that might entail.

Functional sewing, such as shirts or other clothing? Pieced quilts? Applique? Painted fabric/stitching wall hangings? I could not focus.

So, I spent some time just looking at fabric work in books and online. I learned some great techniques for making a T-shirt pattern based on your own shirts (I may still try that). I reviewed my ideas about quilting and tried out some things and realized I still don’t like piecing fabric. Along those lines, I read about improvisational art quilting which, to be honest, still sounded like too much planning for me.

I enjoyed reading about making clothes without a paper pattern (reminded me of how my mother made me some gathered skirts in junior high requiring a length of cloth and a waistband; I loved them). But I don’t really need a gathered skirt or even any other kinds of clothing.

I even read up on making drapes and shades though I have no intention of ever making window coverings again (in a previous house, a Victorian with tons of windows, I made curtains for 53, yes, 53, separate windows. Enough.)

In the end, I was back where I started from. Really, I just like to slap down some fabric on a backing, run a lot of machine stitching over it, and then see if I can make it into some kind of imagery. I really enjoy just humming along with the stitches reeling out. I especially like free-motion stitching. I like drawing with the lines of stitching. I like tiny pieces of fabric and sticking them on to other pieces of fabric. I don’t like making large things, I like making small pictures. I like painting on fabric and then stitching to go along with it. Or over it.

So I’m just going to stick with this stitching idea and see where it goes.

Here are a couple of little guys I made in August 2022. Maybe they are pointing the way for me.

8 thoughts on “Fabric Explorations

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I love that interpretation. I enjoy making these small things but I wonder sometimes if the results are interesting to anyone but me, thanks for what you said.

  1. Leonie Andrews

    Definitely the way to go! This is along the lines of what I have been doing. I start by wandering around my house and picking up bits of fabric, (they do seem to multiply somehow), and then making them into something. I am looking forward to seeing more of these.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I’ve been kind of uncertain (as the post obviously says) of what to do with this desire to use the sewing machine (I have no such feeling about hand sewing). I feel that at this point, maybe it doesnt matter too much about what I make (no cosmic answers will be found in these little fabric things!) just enjoy myself using the machine, and the feel of the fabric and the thread colors.

  2. marissthequilter

    Lovely ‘little guys’. I am sure they are glad that you created them. I enjoyed reading about your relationship with fabric and thread. Here’s to all those small pieces of material that often just get thrown away.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. Yes, you are right, the scraps, to me, are worth more than the original yardage. I think this is because when I was young, my mother made all our clothes, and she had a lot of scraps that we were free to use as we wanted. I guess that is where all this started!

  3. lotus Rizing

    I love the “out of the box” creativity. I too have considered doing some artistic piecework along similar lines. I am a mixed media artist and author, and was recently inspired to consider using fabric in some of my pieces. There is a beautiful lady who owns a clothing store in a neighbouring city that recycles old saris into beautiful clothing and I contacted her to ask if she had scraps that she would be willing to donate for my artistic use. They are stunning fabrics!
    Unfortunately, a traffic accident has kept me from being able to pick them up, but the desire and inspiration are still there.
    Thanks for inspiring me further! xo

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