Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Stitching in Space

Do you remember I mentioned I'd been to a demonstration on 'Stitching in Space' at the Quilt Show? Well, I've had a quick play with the technique since I got back. The trouble is I really don't feel hugely confident at trying to explain it to others when it's something that's so new to me. I thought I could find a good, clear tutorial on the internet to send you off to instead. There's a tutorial for everything somewhere, right? Except, it seems, 'Stitching in Space'! I can't find any reference to it at all, perhaps it's more usually called something else? Anybody know?

Anyway, it's nothing to do with solar systems and stars and planets. It's more stitching in a space, or a hole. Sounds a bit crazy I know. (And I did try googling both those variations and several more.) You start with a piece of fabric stretched out in a hoop, so it has to be on a fairly small scale to fit in the sewing machine. Then just sew a quick, rough square/oblong type shape, and go over it again.

Then cut out the inside to create your 'space'!

Then you start stitching in your space. The lady demonstrating suggested dropping your machine's 'foot' and keeping up a good steady pace. She made it look easy! She started off with a simple running stitch straight across the 'gap', went over it a couple of times and then went over it again a couple of times with a tight zigzag.

Then lots of straight stitches horizontally across the gap too. And then go over these on the vertical line with another few zigzagged lines.

Then cut it out, so you have your hole back again!

Sorry, a blurry hole!

And you're left with a thread creation that you can cut into a shape like this perhaps...

To maybe be a fern on some kind of textile picture, or perhaps a tree, or I think maybe this one might become a bit of seaweed. A bit gimmicky maybe, but interesting and a good way to add texture. The lady who was demonstrating had some lovely examples of little tree pictures she had created using this technique. Depending on your creation you could leave the threads in your hole rather than cutting them out, for example putting a piece of fabric behind the hole and carrying on stitching. This was how she created her trees and where I could really do with sending you off to a lovely tutorial somewhere else! I've had one more play with the idea so far, and in this one I did put in fabric behind the hole part way through, so the photos from that might help explain a bit better, but it was all very experimental and didn't turn out brilliantly!

So here's my early stitching in the hole, this time I've done a different pattern, straight stitched first and then zigzagged quite a few times. It could have become a tree at this point.

Then I put some fabric behind and stitched it down along the lines.

And added lots more lines.

And then I cut out the shape I wanted...

And sewed around the outline too. It sort of half worked as I wanted it to, but I'm not mad keen on the placement of the 'veins' on the wings, I needed to plan my lines of stitching a bit more rather than going off fairly randomly. And the technique does add more texture to the body and the antennae in particular, where my initial stitching was thickest, but I think I could have got a reasonably similar effect just with ordinary machine stitching. It definitely needs a bit more thought and practice. But fun to try something completely different.

Back again tomorrow,



  1. I've not seen this technique before. I do something similar by using water soluble stabilizer. The butterfly is lovely. Where are you going to use it?

  2. Same here, I had never seen that done before. How wonderful.


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