Saturday, September 26, 2009

Technique: Creative Shibori-Style Sewn Shawls

This summer I designed and created shawls for all the bridesmaids in my son’s wedding. California evenings can get cool (as even though we are on the coast, it is still desert weather). So, given that the bridesmaids were wearing spaghetti-strapped dresses, I thought it would be wise for them to have a shawl.

So, while traveling this summer, I watched for interesting designs, and in the end, I combined a few ideas I had seen in Italy.

The idea was to create a type of ‘smocked shibori” effect. I achieved this by placing a pearl bead on the underside of the shawl, and wrapping the fabric around it. I also used a square of organza on the top, to add a little interest. I called my shibori effect the ‘doo-dahs”.

Thanks to Stephanie, one of my students, for modeling this for me.

Here are the steps:
1. Cut two rectangles of fabric, equal to the length and width you want your shawl. I used two subtle colors of silk satin, a flesh color and a light cappuccino.
2. Cut two-inch square of silk organza in one or two contrast colors. The amount of contrast is up to you.
3. Cut and sew the shawls to completion. These are two rectangles, sewn together, turned, pressed and hand-stitched to close the opening.
4. Plan how many doo-dahs you want on each end of the shawl.
5. Space-plan the layout of the doo-dahs. I made a paper template, as I had a total of eight shawls to make (six for the bridesmaids, one of the bride’s mom and one for me).
6. Using chalk or a marking pencil, mark the placement of the doo-dahs on the wrong side of each end of a shawl.
7. Place the pearl under a mark on the wrong side. Take a small safety pin and pierce it through a square of organza. Then, go through the two layers of the silk shawl, and run the pin through the pearl bead. Come back up to the top and come through the organza again, and then close the pin. This secures all things so that they don’t’ slide around.

8. Repeat until you have all the doo-dahs secured.

9. Now, take matching sewing thread and thread a fairly fine hand-sewing needle.
10. Anchor the thread about 3/8” away from the center of the organza. Now, pinch the fabric through all layers so that the organza square and silk wrap around the bead.
11. Take your sewing thread and wrap around the doo-dah. You can secure this with a couple of stitches, as necessary to hold the binding.
12. Repeat.

Here you can see another shot of the finished shawl.

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