Rather than natter on to you about the different ways to use the transparent qualities of silk organza, let me show you Jeannette Meyer’s class samples. I checked and she is fine with such sharing.
Two curved sets of strips are woven together and sewn around the edges to cotton organdy. The trick to such weaving is to leave a half inch uncut at one edge of your fabric piece. In the sample above, those are the left and top sides.
A wonky log cabin block with edges sewn with a machine buttonhole stitch. Fun secondary shapes are made with the irregular seam allowances.
A log cabin block with hand sewn pojagi seams.
Flat fell seamed transparent fabric over silk screened fabric.
Machine buttonhole stitched fabric pieces over tucked cotton organdy. You can use matching or contrasting thread to sew the tucks.
Origami folded cotton organdy blocks. Just don’t ask me how to make these. I missed that demo due to issues with my rented Bernina.
These are just a few samples of what we learned in class. It’s fun to play with the different effects you can get by changing which color of organza is on top. If you want to try this kind of seaming at home and are a perfectionist, try 100 weight kimono silk thread for hand sewing. I’m told that Superior Thread’s Tiara line of silk thread is good as well, though it’s a 50 weight.
What kind of art quilts can you make with these techniques? Here are three examples of Jeannette Meyer’s work she brought to class.
I think this piece is part of Meyer’s Storylines series.
This piece uses tapa cloth with the wrong side up. Jeannette searches out “spoiled” pieces to use. All those dark lines are sewn in. I gather Jeannette’s sewing machine doesn’t like this material.
Crucible is even more spectacular in person.
Five days seemed like a lot of time when I signed up for Jeannette Meyer’s Empty Spools class. It wasn’t.
Jeannette had organized the class well. We spent the first morning painting silk organza with solid colors after some explanation of types of acrylic and fabric paint that work. To save time each student painted many squares of the same color. My color was terracotta. Some of the pieces had great texture due to the brushes and rollers used to apply the paint. Then came a day and a half trying out the various techniques Jeannette demoed. The techniques covered included hand and machine sewn seams for transparent fabrics (flat fell, French, pojagi, raw edge overlapped), ways to attach the organza to a base and to itself, ways to weave organza strips, and making tucks. I’ll show some examples in a later post. We could make a small book of our samples. Some of them (not mine) were exquisite. I don’t see a lot of hand sewn pojagi seams in my future. We took another day (or so) to design our response to the prompt “light.” We could use only 10 to 15 fabric pieces with 90 degree corners. I added to my piece when I got home so, as with remodeling costs, I’ve exceeded the original number. With the remaining time we could begin an original project, enlarge on the class exercise, or develop variations on and expertise with the techniques. I chose to begin a design I’ve named “Not So Tiny Bubbles.” The background fabric called Intersections is part of Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe line. Print fabric can look amazing under silk organza. Some of my classmates brought sumptuous hand dyed fabric to use in their projects. Anyway, this design is changing daily, so what you see here isn’t the final layout. We closed our class with a group critique of one piece we had made – our classmates’ reaction to the piece, what worked, what could be added/subtracted, and suggestions for further development. We could opt out of this process if we chose. I don’t think anyone did, and the comments were supportive and helpful. It was exciting to see how different everyone’s work was. Some pieces were based on our teacher’s samples, some were already conceived projects, and some (like mine) used an idea from a photo. As always, we learned from what each other created.
From what I could see, in about half the other classes students followed the teacher’s patterns. In some classes everyone bought the kit. Empty Spools seems to offer a wide variety of classes, many of which appeal to folks who enjoy traditional approaches to quilting. I mention this just so you don’t think it’s only about art quilts.
Recently I’ve been trying to make clouds by painting silk organza. This is for a small piece that’s based on a photo of the sky reflected on skyscraper windows.
I pulled out my Dyna Flow paints, put some fabric under my organza to catch the excess paint, wet the organza, made up a grayish color from black, white and blue paint, and slapped it on.
My first effort worked great on the under cloth but was too pale on the organza. Next, I tried some Tulip fabric paint in black and white and mixed up another gray. This time I found that the Tulip paint didn’t flow like the Dyna Flow and I ended up with gray blobs. It looked like an out of focus x-ray of a suspicious lung growth.
Then I added more white with a Paintstik, to make the effect less thunderstorm of the year-ish. The result was more the effect I wanted. The Paintstik was easier to blend in with the gray than any of the paint I tried.
I still have to figure out how to cut cloud shapes that aren’t cartoonish and attach them. But one step at a time.