Tuesday, 1 October 2013

November Dayschool: Metallic Elements with Janet Rose

On November 30th, Birmingham branch look forward to welcoming Janet Rose, from the Leamington EG branch, to lead a dayschool on 'Metallic Elements'.

To give you an idea of what the day will involve, and the requirements list, Janet has sent us the below:

This workshop aims to give you practice in handling and machine stitching on metals, combining metals, foils and other fibres to create useful samples for future reference. Beginners will learn that stitching on metal is really quite easy and the more experienced will be able to combine a number of techniques suitable to use in a resolved piece of embroidery. The requirements list is not exhaustive so do bring anything that you feel could work well with metals, be it fabric, paper or other embellishments.

Ø  Sewing machine, foot control, electric leads, extension cable, your machine accessories and manual. Feet required: darning/embroidery for free machining and suitable foot for automatic stitches

Ø  Spare bobbins and spare bobbin case if you use one for altering bottom tension

Ø  Machine needles: Universal sizes 90/14 & 100/16,  Topstitch size 100/16* ( can also try 90/14) or Metallica needles of same sizes  if you use them, both are suitable for metallic threads

Ø  General sewing kit, tape measure, pins, fabric and small scissors etc.

Ø  Machine embroidery threads of your choice, most will stitch on metal with metallic threads looking particularly attractive and it is a good opportunity to practice using them, especially if you feel they are ‘difficult’ to manage. Good makes are probably less troublesome and Madeira  threads ( FS & Supertwist ) are generally trouble free. Bobbin fill or polyester sewing thread for bobbin use ( colour/s close to your top threads) to economise when using metallic threads

Ø  Cutting board, craft knife and metal cutting ruler, old scissors for cutting metal

Ø  Fabrics for backing metal when stitching the following are suitable:  Pelmet or craft weight Vilene, curtain interlining ( Bump)*, Kunin, acrylic felt. About ½ metre of felt and bump (or several fat quarters ) will be plenty, plus you will need three pieces of the Vilene 25cm x 25cm ( 10 inch square ) which needs to be pre painted. TIP coat the Vilene with acrylic wax before painting or sponging with several colours of slightly watered acrylic paints, metallics look really effective and the wax prevents too much paint soaking into the Vilene  

Ø  Fabrics for creating backgrounds most fabrics are suitable ( but not too thin ) velvets, heavier silks, furnishing fabrics all good. Think about the colour of the metals, your thread colours etc. Coloured handmade or textured papers also go well with metal. Pieces about A4 size should be big enough for sampling and 4 – 6  should be plenty

Ø  One nylon scarf if you want to try a layered distressed background (black or colour to work with your choices above)

Ø  Soluble film of your choice ( A4/A3 size piece will be plenty if thick like ROMEO , no hoop needed or if using something like SOLUFLEECE you need a hoop and enough soluble for hoop size )

Ø  Bondaweb, please bring a small amount untreated and two approx. A4 size pieces pre-painted (using metallic colours will create integration with the metals)

Ø  Some small offcuts of plain fabric like calico for sampling automatic stitches before stitching on metals

Ø  Heat gun  and heatproof mat or board

Ø  Paper crimper*

Ø   Embossing tools* or spent biro pen*, fine steel knitting needle*, tracing wheel* or anything else that could be used to make marks in m the metal

Ø  Craft scissors with interchangeable  patterned blades*

Ø  Notebook and pen, loose paper in case you wish to draw out a design

All tools and materials marked * I will bring for use or have with me for sale, not in large quantities but enough for the needs of this workshop. Please bring as much as you have available without having to make special purchases

Please bring any metals you have, either for use or identification of suitability for machine stitching.  I shall be bringing metal shims and metal meshes, cut into suitable size pieces and pre coloured using heat and Transfer foil, for sale. I also have collected some tomato puree tube metal but if you have any of the following, please bring them as I do not have huge stocks of these items.

Ø  Copper,* Brass* and Aluminium Shim ( 0.02 thickness) avoid anything thicker than 0.05

Ø  Copper,* Brass,* Bronze* Woven mesh fabric (dependent on availability and cost)

Ø  Tomato/garlic puree tubes* and/or aluminium drinks cans**

Ø  Transfer foils* ( these are the iron on type on a plastic backing)

Ø  Embossing Powders and embossing fluid or suitable adhesive such as Pebeo Crystal Gel* (used in glass painting techniques)


Please take care when handling metal as it does have very sharp edges. Cut off the tops and bottoms of puree/drinks cans, open up carefully and wash clean. Trim off any jagged edges and flatten out.

All thin metals can be safely cut using an old pair of scissors or a craft knife with metal ruler on a cutting board ( flat sections only)

Metals are softened when heated (annealing) and copper and brass shim also produce lovely colours. If your metals have not been heated try the following methods before you bring them to the workshop. Always hold the metal in wooden tongs or heat proof glove etc. and have a tray/dish of cold water for emergencies but try to cool the metal down slowly if possible. Using a small blow torch move the flame across the metal shim/mesh until it begins to change colour (copper shim turns orange, followed by pink, blue/green and then darker to burnt the longer you heat it). Too long it will blacken. Start slowly and stop as soon as you have achieved some attractive colouring. A candle or nightlight will also work but more soot is created which can be washed off afterwards. A heat gun can also be used to heat and colour the metal but it takes a little longer and the heat gun needs to be  300watts or higher to be effective. Take care not to have your heat gun on for too long as it may burn out!

Note Puree tubes and drinks cans are aluminium and usually coated with a protective surface. When heating (annealing) make sure you are in a well- ventilated area and wear a mask as protection as fumes can be released. These metals do not usually change colour when heated but they all vary so give them a try. Just take sensible precautions and work slowly and carefully.

The following items are not essential but could prove useful if you wish to develop your samples

Ø  Beads, sequins, metallic or other hand embroidery threads of varying thicknesses

Ø  Treasure Waxes*

Ø  Small pieces of pre-coloured Lutradur, Tyvek and/or Fibretex ( I shall show samples using these materials with metal)
If you have any queries about the requirements, please email birminghamembroiderersguild@gmail.com, and we will pass them on to Janet.
There are still spaces available on the dayschool, so if you would like to book on, please see Margaret at the october or November branch meetings. Dayschools run from 9:45 for 10am until about 4pm, and are a great way to learn a new technique and make some new friends. Places cost £25, which includes tea/coffee, however you need to bring your own lunch.

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