M A T E R I A L S
Muslin is an inexpensive foundation for adding smaller pieces of fabric. Unbleached muslin has a tea-aged color. It also comes in bleached, which looks white. It really doesn't matter what you use for a foundation, because it is a supporting character in the total picture. You won't see it once you're finished.
Hand Dyed Cloth has depth of color and subtle variations of color, depending on the dye process. I dye a lot of my fabrics. Rinse, dry and store them until I find a project where they work.
Prints are available everywhere. There are many possibilities for using prints, depending on scale. A big print can look different when cut into smaller pieces. A small print can "read" as a texture or solid.
Use what you have and make it work. This is a good practice, as it sets up limits that can be very rewarding when worked through. As you become more sensitive to the nature of cloth, you will find it holds symbolism that works in your pieces.
Old Cloth holds memories. I love vintage fabric. I collect it. The prints are being copied lately, but there is nothing like good old cloth, hankerchiefs, lace, tatting, wedding dresses, silk night gowns. Visit your thrift shop for cheap treasures. These are also lovely to dye.
Stabilizers are helpful in keeping your foundation fabric flat while you stitch. When hand stitching, I use a layer of white pre-washed flannel but muslin or any medium-weight woven fabric will work. For machine stitching, I might use a tear-away type pattern paper by Bosal to support my foundation. With stabilizer attached, my stitches don't bunch or pinch. The foundation can be gently pulled from the stitching when your project is complete. You can also use paper as stabilizer, but it will be a bit stiffer to sew through. T
Scraps can be a pain. How small can they get before you toss them. Well, depending on your nature, you can weed through them, or keep them all. I use zipper bags to store different colors and sizes - just because I'm organized. But you can use a giant trash pail and just mix them up. The perfect scrap might be waiting for a new purpose.
Like all parts of these instructions, anything goes. But your work here is precious and using good materials matters. Why would you want to spend time with fabrics that don't feel good?
These two types are recommended to start with. They can do all stitching necessary in the projects. You may want to experiment with other sizes to see if something suits your craft readily.
The quilting needles will be small enough to go through many bead holes, but beading needles are very fine for tiny beads.
I use Chenille 20's and Embroidey 9’s
DMC Embroidery Floss-six strand in lots of colors
You can use all six strands or gently pull it apart to separate ione, two three four or five stands depending on the thickness you want.
One or two strands is great for attaching fabric to the foundation.
Three stands is good for writing words in Chain Stitch.
Regular sewing thread can also be used.
A place to work is as important as your tools. A dedicated time will help you commit to the practice of quiet.
A small embroidery snips with a curved blade for closer trimming
A 7-8" shear for cutting longer lengths of fabric.
An embroidery hoop is optional.