Saturday, October 20, 2012

How to make a Pattern for an Apple Pincushion

Ta da! My newest apple on Fiberluscious.

I had just planned on making a PDF pattern for my pear pattern, which I will, I promise. But I got to thinking about originality and how we all love to leave our own mark on this world. Thats such an important part of creating. Its a desire we all share.
I can't say my designs are completely original. They may begin with a simple pattern of which I can't seem to copy without changing its shape, size and dimension. Here are a few of my favorite patterns-

If you are a seller of your work its very important to draft your own patterns. Most designers will ask that you only use their patterns for personal use. Creating a pattern really is a challenging and rewarding experience. It frees you to sell your pieces without stepping on another artist's copyright. Although flattery is a compliment, it also really ticks some artists off, to the point that they deny Pinterest Pinning and occasionally post horrible things about you on their blogs or forums. I usually don't get upset. No two people ever do the same thing the same way. I just ask that you don't get rich on my designs with at least not giving me a bit of credit for your inspiration.

For those of you who want to do this, but can't quite find the time and feel exhausted just wondering how one would go about such an adventure, let me guide you through it.
I promise you a complete sense of satisfaction and pride when you apply this to your creating. The challenge is all just one step in the journey. So lets go!

Here are a few tools that may come in handy for this and other patterns.

Paper. I use grid paper for many of my patterns. It helps me to keep things symtrical. However, you can use scrap paper, newspaper, kraft paper or cardboard.
A soft measuring tape, a ruler, a protractor, a compass and an eraser. I suggest you create a prototype. For that you will need muslin, fiberfill, a sewing machine, needle and thread. It is very helpful to have a model or something close to the size of your finished project is optional so you can gauge the approximage size of your final pattern. A calculator is also necessary.

Step One-
Make your measurements. Begin with an object close to the size and shape of your desired pattern. I know its not fair that I am using a finished apple to show you the measurements, but stay with me. I'll make it clear how you can begin with simple ball shapes, such as the silver ornament above.

Here is an illustration showing you how these measurements become the foundation for a very simple shape. Note, you can easily flip this diagram upside down and create a pear pattern... and you thought that this was going to be hard.

Here is how to draft your pattern onto paper. Begin by recording all measurements. I am writing mine on the top upper corner of my pattern paper.
Then draw a line showing the height of your desired pattern. If you are beginning with a simple round shape, simply extend the tape measure up past the top of the ball and inch or two. Round the measuring tape off on top to simulate the curve of the 3-D object. (Its better to over estimate this measurement than under estimate it.)

Now you need to come up with your width measurements. Sorry, you will be needing a bit of math here, but it's not hard and you don't have to be exact.

Next add your 2 width measurements. Extend how big those areas should be.

Now its time to create a shape. Each end needs to come to a gradual point. The curve should be rather drastic. If the curve is long and gentle, you will create a pointed end. Not a great shape if you want your pincushion to sit straight up. It would just tip over. however, you may want that kind of a curve for the top of a bosc pear top.

You will need to join the two sections in the middle. You can curve that line in and make it shapely. If that line is straight from one section to the other, your final shape will look kind of squatty. Do what ever you like the best. Your the boss!

Now add a seam allowance all the way around your pattern shape. I usually use an approximate 1/4" allowance. This is one time that you don't have to be a perfectionist. Do what is comfortable. Just do it the same way each time for each section.

Once you think you have your pattern, I suggest that you create a muslin prototype. This is so worth the time. You don't want to use your favorite fabric only to find that your shape is not at all as you imagined.
Use muslin and cut 6 sections.

When I created my muslin prototype I realized that I wasn't too fond of the shape. I was close, but it just was off. Here is a photo of the final muslin shape, the original pattern draft and the final pattern piece.

Just a note. When adjusting your pattern, do it in small increments. Eveyr change will be multiplied by 6. A 1/4 inch change will create a 1 1/2 inch total different in the final piece. How can you determine just the right change? Why don't you pin little tucks or let out a few seams in your muslin piece. I often don't sew it completely shut, so I can remove the stuffing and make my changes on the original instead of having to resew a new muslin piece for each change.

Save your muslin piece. It makes a great tool for your embellishement design.

Here are some different versions of my pear pattern.
Just a few small changes in the pattern shape can make a big differnce in the final piece.

Here is my very first pear.

For this pear, I elongated the pattern. The top is longer and more drawn out than my first pear.

Just a note, using different fabrics can change the final shape of your pattern. These 2 apples are from the exact pattern. The pieced patchwork caused everything to be tighter and look smaller.
The original pattern is bigger and plumper. I love both of these apples

Experiment. Have fun. Once you have the outsides figured out, embellishment is next....oh the creative process just never ends.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tutorial- Autumn's Inspiration Leaf Brooch

Wisconsin is nearing it's bare naked tree season. Right now, the trees are glowing with brilliant gold, red, orange and chartruese. Walking through the park near sunset will take your breath away.
Each year about this time I'm inspired to create one of my fast favorites. I love making leave brooches. If you have a few wool scraps and a pin back, some beads and some floss, you can make one too. Its so easy!

I first gather a nice selection of leaves in a variety of shapes and sizes. This requires a brisk walk in the crisp autumn air. I love this step.

I choose a leaf I like and create a pattern.
If the leaf is the right size for a brooch, all you need to do is trace around it. If it's too large, simply draw the shape onto paper. If you aren't perfect, no problem. Nature create so many individuals.

Once my pattern is cut, I add a few design elements. This is helpful as it helps you to picture the final brooch. I often will go to my sketchbook and try a few different designs, thinking about materials and colors. Once I decide on a design, I pin my pattern onto a piece of felt and cut it out.

I use hand dyed felted wool for my brooches and pincushions. You can also use felt, linen is beautiful, a recycled felted sweater that's been felted or just about anything else you like. The rich colors of the dyed wool feels perfect for these brooches.

For this leaf I used brown velvet. I then embroidered leaf veins. I used beads to enhance the design. You can find this leaf brooch in my Etsy shop here.

This version is created using hand-dyed, felted wool. I added layers of wool roving separated by bits and pieces of wool yarn.

Once the felted the wool I add embroidery.
I couched the yarn. (Go back and forth over the yarn to secure it to the foundation fabric).
After the yarn and roving are felted and couched, I added more embroidery stitches to each section. You can find this brooch in my Etsy shop here.

This last leaf brooch is a very simple design. I added yarn and couched it onto the wool. I then added veins to the leaf with 2 strands of cotton floss in fall colors.
To finish the design I added tiny sead beads. On the dark side of the leaf I used metallic, opaque beads. To the lighter side of the leaf I used transparent sead beads with a gold luster finish. Find this brooch here.

To finish all styles, cut a piece of felt the same size as the finished brooch.
Use embroidery floss to join the front of the leaf and the felt together. A simple blanket stitch does the trick.

Add a pin back to the felt. Sew it on. Glue would eventually rip the felt. I like to add a small rectange of felt on top of the pin back to give it a professional look. It also keeps the brooch from flopping over on light weigh fabrics.

If fall leaves aren't your thing, you can create any design on wool the same way to create a brooch of your liking. If you don't have a wide selection of felted wools, try this brooch with felt.
If you use woven fabrics, such as linen or velvet, such as the brown oak lef above, you may need to rfray check the edges or sew the felt backign to the front right sides together and turn. Then sew your pin back on.

I like to use regular pin backs and a domed pin back on occassion. Use whatever you prefer on your brooch.

This brooch used the same materials. I just added bits and pieces of wool to create a little house scene complete with a sweet tree and flowers.
Find it in my Etsy shop here.

Give this a try. Its fun and you can complete this project in a day. How about using a holiday theme? A snowflake design? I once created a birthday brooch with a cake design enhanced with beads. The possibilities are endless!