The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the "barnacles" ended up looking more like flowers - mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I'm still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

Blue Brooch in Progress

Artwork by Liz, Artwork In-Progress

The photos below show the various stages of creating a felt brooch. Except that I forgot to take a photo of the wool fibres with the silk bits included prior to felting. I will get better at this “in-progress” lark – I am certainly getting lots of practice 🙂

I made a “sort of” new year resolution to use what I have in my various stashes (yes, I have more than one stash – one of the penalties perks of working with mixed media). I have quite a lot of embroidery threads – some purchased, some gifted, some hand dyed by me or friends. Embroidery threads tend to tangle and knot and this tendency can be tamed by winding onto bobbins. There were quite a few in the stash that I had been reluctant to use because they were “untamed” and I spent quite a bit of time getting them under control so that I would at least consider using them. This was an enjoyable task sparking lots of ideas as I wound, and wound, and wound.

This blue brooch is now almost finished – it just requires another piece of felt to cover the thread ends and a brooch pin to be stitched to the back for it to be wearable.

A picture of embroidery threads being organised. Some wound onto bobbins so that they are easier to use.

Chaos tamed. Winding threads onto bobbins so that I actually use them. When they are not wound onto bobbins I tend to avoid using them because I know they will get tangled and knotted.

The threads chosen for embellishing a felt brooch. Not all were used.

I forgot to take a picture of the un-embellished piece of felt with the threads that I chose so I took the photo once I had finished. You can probably tell that I didn’t use all of the threads.

Fully felted piece of felt ready for embellishment to make a unique brooch. 8 x 7.5 cm

Fully felted piece of felt ready for embellishment to make a unique brooch. 8 x 7.5 cm

The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the "barnacles" ended up looking more like flowers - mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I'm still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the “barnacles” ended up looking more like flowers – mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I’m still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

Recycling a Little Blue Dress 2

Artwork In-Progress
The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

This is as far as I got yesterday – the side seams and hem are unpicked and I have stitched on 3 strips of the shirt fabric to the back of the dress as a guide for getting the other patches straight. As I was doing that I thought “well, that’s mistake number 1 – I should have added to the length of the dress first”. Oh well, it might get some pleats added at the end, or the cuffs/collars of the shirts. We’ll see. I think I’ll carry on stitching patches on and worry about fit first (I’m thinking that all the stitching might pull it in a bit). If it fits then I’ll do something about the length – or not. 🙂

The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

Recycling a Little Blue Dress

Artwork In-Progress

I bought this little blue dress at an op-shop.

The dress I bought in an op-shop which fits nicely but is made from thin fabric and is a bit short. I'm going to try stitching pieces of other old clothing onto it to make a unique "arty" dress.

The dress I bought in an op-shop which fits nicely but is made from thin fabric and is a bit short. I’m going to try stitching pieces of other old clothing onto it to make a unique “arty” dress.

It fitted well but the fabric was so thin you could see through it, and it was a bit short. I decided it was a candidate for one of a series of altered clothing pieces that I have had in mind for a while (read that to mean that I have a stash of clothing bought from op-shops destined to be modified into something I would wear!). I am concerned about the amount of textile waste and pollution there is from all stages of the fashion industry – from manufacture right through to the post-consumer. So I “rescue” fabric and clothing whenever I can see a way I might use it. Anyway, this dress was so thin I decided it would make a good base to patch other fabric onto. It is also a very simple shape so I figured I could open the side seams to make it easier to stitch those patches on by machine. That way if the stitching caused some shrinkage (which I think is almost bound to happen) I can add a panel at the side seams. I can do the same thing at the shoulder if that also proves to be a problem.

Nagging doubts that have prevented me from starting this project to date are, 1. it will shrink so much it won’t fit, 2. that it will look really old-fashioned and almost “hippy”, 3. that I’m wasting time that could be better spent on something else, 4. that I won’t like it once I’ve done it, 5. that people will laugh at it, 6. that it isn’t really “art”, 7. that I could make some yardage in the same way and then cut out a dress using a pattern that I know will fit, 8. well, the list goes on – I could probably add 20 more negatives easily. 🙁

Recycled blue shirts destined to be "married" to the Little Blue Dress to make a unique "arty" dress.

Recycled blue shirts destined to be “married” to the Little Blue Dress to make a unique “arty” dress.

So, I have decided to go ahead regardless. The best that can happen is that I end up with a dress that I like and the worst is that some fabric that probably would have ended up as landfill, will end up as landfill. I won’t have wasted my time because I know I will learn a lot along the way.