Process Images – Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

As promised, here are some process pictures of making Can’t See the Forest for the Trees!


1) Thumbnails, compositional sketches (negative and positive space), threading samples. This took quite a chuck of time and yet it fits in such a small picture!


full size template. I have a soft place in my heart for the incredibly helpful employee at the Downtown FedEx Office! It had been years since I had made one of the gigantic templates.


pinning together sections of stabilizer; later I switched to a more fabric-like stabilizer (Floriani Wen N Gone Water Soluble Stabilizer) rather than this plastic type, (Sulky Super Solvy). The fabric type has much better tensile strength, which is advantageous when working on a large scale and constantly  having to move the embroidery hoop around.


Initially, I’d draw the whole section out in pencil on trace paper and then trace it with sharpie or pen onto the stabilizer. By the last couple of sections, I was confident enough to just draw straight onto the stabilizer without it planned out.


My new (well, via Fabric Recycles, so new to me) embroidery hoop’s grand debut! I’m sewing with all Gütermann thread: 100% Natural Cotton as well as polyester lightweight bobbin thread.  Unfortunately, by this point, I was very much nose to the grindstone and didn’t take any pictures of the pinning and rinsing process. Next time, next time. However, in a nutshell, after sewing, I trim the excess stabilizer, pin the section to foam (with varying degrees of pin density based on how accurate or abstract I want the image to be), and rinse it (also to a varying degree) in the sink or in the shower based on the size.







Very time-intensive work, but the end result is satisfying.

Technology – I have thwarted thee.

My sewing machine did not come with free motion capabilities. But it has it now!! A little advice read, a random machine foot bought, and a little jerry rigging done and ta-da!


So what, you say? So HUGE, I say. Free motion is exactly what it sounds like. Otherwise, the machine feeds the fabric forwards and backwards and that’s it. To change direction, you have to lift a lever and turn the fabric for every little thing, which makes detailed or “drawing-like” sewing unfeasable. The work I want to do on that silk textured fabric I made (you can see a little bit of it in the corner of the above pic) will be made easier as I can now move the fabric any which way, how, and time I please. I have been thinking about how to rig this for weeks. The biggest problem was that the machine is so basic, the manufactuer doesn’t make any sort of free motion feet for it. I had to buy a “generic” foot and hope it worked.

And for the record, the way most people react when their ‘sports ball’ team scores a goal, yeah, that is exactly how I reacted last night when I put this all together and it worked. Not kidding. I have a witness.