COLLAGE OF SCRAPS AND STITCHES
Snippets of fabric and treasured embellishments can be informally sewn on a decorative panel in an immersive and relaxing pastime
“She can sew... She can knit... She is proud...”
William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona
• Piece of cotton material for backing: a piece from an old sheet or tablecloth is ideal
• Scraps of fabric
• Oddments of lace and ribbon
• Salvaged motifs or pieces of haberdashery
• Hand sewing needle
• Coloured threads
• Embroidery hoop (optional)
ODDMENTS OF PRETTY fabric or details from a cherished item of well-worn clothing can be repurposed into a textural panel to be hung on a wall or incorporated into another sewing project, such as a cushion cover or quilt. Any fabric can be used, and mixing thicknesses, patterns and scraps with fraying edges adds to the tactile nature of the finished work. If a piece is damaged or marked, it tells a story, making the project ideal for preserving memories evoked by childhood clothing or items from a loved one.
There is no particular way to arrange the pieces. They can be laid out on the backing fabric and pinned in place before being sewn, or a more free-form approach can be chosen by simply building up the panel a piece at a time. It can be helpful to hold the material taut, using an embroidery hoop, while working, although care should be taken not to damage any delicate fabric or stitching.
Hand sewing rows of running stitch in contrasting thread holds the pieces in place and brings an extra layer of interest. Decorative stitches can be added, creating random patches of crosses or circles, and it can be enjoyable to experiment by sewing on tiny beads or salvaged motifs.
The same method can also be used to repair an item of clothing, such as a rip in a pair of jeans or a hole in the elbow of a favourite jumper, to create a decorative patch, while extending the life of the item.