Saturday 16 February 2013

Whitework eyelets re-worked

As I've already briefly explained on a previous post, whitework currently has my interest. But before I can start 'creating' anything out of it, I need to fully explore the technique and just what its specific potential holds for me and my work. So I've embarked on a sampling spree to become better acquainted with the technicalities of what works, how to do it and what effects can be achieved. Nothing especially 'final' at this point, more of a space to play....

No white thread on white cotton, that really doesn't inspire me - so surely I should be working with materials that do? Hence the 'less traditional' fabrics I'm embracing (although cotton-a-broder is still my favourite thread of choice.) As for the name 'whitework', it refers more to the traditional techniques encompassed by that name rather than a specified colour scheme.

Black PVC - it's easy enough to sew onto: the shiny surface has a stretchy nylon-like backing, which means the plastic won't rip apart or tear without considerable force. Just don't overly tighten the hoop or the tension will leave a mark.

'Shark fin' -  some form of rubbery synthetic that still has a woven base so, just like the PVC, it can be stitched without ripping. It's a matt surface but it was the closest thing I could find to latex (the craft shop didn't sell that, sadly). The interesting thing is that it doesn't fray. Technically, the oversewing of the cut eyelets is therefore redundant, but as an aesthetic function I still like it - you can introduce other colours, eg red, and even the black oversewn edge stands out slightly.

And then I got hold of some black latex.... and proved it is actually possible to stitch on, much to my surprise. The key is patience, to go very gently, and remember that one little rip whilst working it will destroy the entire sample. I'm still not sure as to its stretchability post-embroidering: the sample can stretch a bit, assuming you'd need sufficient 'give' to get a garment on, but I doubt there'd be a great deal of stretch without distorting the stitching.
Nobody else really seems to be embroidering into latex, at least as far as I've seen: probably for good reason, but it's an area I want to consider playing with. How to embellish it, and what to do with it afterwards.

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