Bench notes: further printing from embroidery

My notes from printing from embroidery the first time listed the following directions I could pursue.

  • find smoother interfacing, without the prominent bumps of fusible
  • try drilling holes in a stiffer substrate – chipboard or thin plywood
  • what difference does hand sewing make? I could use thicker threads working by hand than with a machine, but the line is not continuous
  • does a different type of thread matter? Nylon, rayon, linen are all on hand for testing

Using the laser cutter at Smith College Design Thinking Institute, I made holes in some of my fabric fused to heavy interfacing, to make the stitching easier. I also used the laser cutter to cut and drill holes into 3mm thick chipboard (which is heavy cardboard, it just has a technical name I did not know).

The chipboard did provide a much stiffer backing for the stitching, but it still grabbed and carried paint from the backing to the image. I think if I had more stitching and less open space, that could be mended, but creating the design well before it is drilled cuts back on flexibility within the design itself. I was surprised how sparse the laser cut designs were when printed – they felt much more complex when I was working on the computer drafting them, than when I had the work in hand and was embroidering them.

I was also surprised at how easy it is to hand stitch on the fabric/interfacing combination – I expected to have to use pliers to pull the needle and I did not. That ease allowed me to develop the design in a much more organic way than when I relied on pre-drilled holes in both the interfacing and the chipboard. I think the resulting image is clearer and more interesting than the pre-drilled images.

Ultimately, I think I can carry my ideas further using hand embroidery on heavy interfacing, and possibly adding in machine work extend the areas I can cover easily. I can still experiment with different thread types.

I’m letting all of these ideas rest for a while. Something will become clear.

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