Friday, April 25, 2014

Rose Window Boutis Pouch

It's TGIF Day; "Thank Goodness It's Finished"

This little pouch, which is a prototype, certainly came with it's fair share of headaches as I learned to deal with the peculiar characteristics of hand stitching on silk, see my post of   (Feb.10, 2014), but now that it's finished, I have forgiven it all it's obstinate idiosyncrasies and am looking forward to more projects with silk in the future.

The little phone pouch, finished and set to travel.

Once the boutis piece had been blocked, it was trimmed leaving a generous 1 inch seam allowance around the perimiter. Next I cut a facing piece to the identical size as the stitched piece.
I opted to make the facing from the same silk fabric that I used on the pouch itself.
There are 3 sections to this pouch: from right to left - the front flap closure, the middle section (or what will become the back of the pouch), and the last section, (which will be under the front flap). The middle section and the last section become the actual pouch pocket.

The assembly process:

Step 1. With right sides together, using a tiny back-stitch, the pouch flap front was carefully hand stitched to the lining, making sure that the stitching be flush with the last row of cording. The excess fabric was trimmed away to a scant 1/4 ", and the edges were finished with a blanket stitch. (This could have been done on the machine, using the cording foot.)
The wrong side of the front flap.

This shows the underside of the front flap with the right side out. A point turner is necessary to get the side edges as crisp as possible and the rounded edge smooth.

Step 2. Next up was making the actual pocket of the pouch. The two remaining sections of the worked boutis (middle section and last section) were stitched to each other, right sides together, on either side, leaving the top end open. Next the remaining 2 sections of the lining were stitched together in the same way to a size that would fit into the boutis pouch. The excess fabric was trimmed to a 1/4".
I chose to do all of the assembly by hand using a back-stitch, but it could very easily have been done by machine.

To tuck the lining into the boutis, I found a wide ruler very helpful.

Step 3. The open ends of the top of the pouch were tucked in and closed off using a tiny blind hem stitch.
The finished boutis phone pouch.
Call me!
Even though there were frustrations in the process, I am quite happy with the overall look of the boutis on silk, and am looking forward to working out some of these kinks in my next silk boutis piece.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Boutis:Stitched and Corded

What a Relief!

Boutis is a play of light and shadow created by first, stitching the motifs and channels of the design (created specifically for boutis), and then inserting cotton yarn through these same channels. It's with the addition of the cording that the relief is created and this is what defines and gives life to the patterns and motifs of the piece. When working boutis, the cording process is just as important and time intensive as the stitching.

That being said, the little mobile phone pouch on silk that I have been working on is finally stitched and corded.

Stitched and corded, the little silk phone pouch that I have been working on is ready to be assembled.

Once all of the cording was completed, I soaked the piece in cold water and tacked it tautly it to a sheet of Styrofoam. This is the opportunity to square up the finished piece of boutis and ease in (or out) any irregularities.

In my post of February 11/2014, "Boutis: The Straight and Narrow of Silk", I was describing the difficulty I had stitching the diagonal lines (shown below) accurately because the glare that my working light created on the silk made it very difficult to see the stitching lines. Notice the difference between the bottom half of the pattern, which is done correctly, and the top half, which is stitched very inaccurately. My hope was that the cording would camouflage some of the poorly stitched lines. Now that the cording is completed, the stitching imperfections are still quite visible, however, from a distance and if not scrutinized too intently, they may not be too obvious.

This pattern is known as "point de vauvert". It's a series of off-set short lines stitched with a variation of the back stitch and later corded in several directions. 

The next 2 photos show a close-up of the stitches I used on the front flap. The first is of the right side of the pouch, the second is the wrong side.

The centre circle of the rose window has been stitched with "point d'arriere" (back stitch). The circular channels surrounding it and the long, straight channels on the rest of the pouch are just a simple running stitch. While the centre of the rose window and the area between the long channels are stitched in  "point de vauvert",  which uses a variation of the back-stitch.

The back side of the boutis. In a perfectly stitched work of boutis, the piece should be completely reversible.  Not there yet, but we'll keep working on it!

Since finishing this project, I have started several new designs and am currently stitching the first one.  I have acquired a new work lamp with a magnifying lens where the light is much easier to direct and control.

 I have also implemented some changes in both the design and in transferring the design onto fabric, that I hope will allow for greater accuracy.  I'll write about the changes when I post a blog about these new projects.