I love the textile necklace designed by Anna Hodgson, I really like that it isn’t symmetrical and I admire the restrained use of just the one colour of green linen against the dark blue of the felt. The textures look lovely together and the outline stitching in fushia pink is genius. I was itching to have an excuse to make one and I got it when I finally got around to replacing the zip in my lovely friend’s dress. I don’t usually do repairs, I will normally explain to people who ask that I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than do repairs, but I dare not say that to this particular friend …..who practices as a fully qualified *acupuncturist!!! Anyhow, what with one thing and another it took me a L…..O…..N….G time to do this simple task, so long I’m embarrassed to admit to it and definitely long enough to warrant a heartfelt apology…..and a nice necklace to help to say sorry.
However, unlike the esteemed Ms Hodgson, when it comes to fabric I have absolutely no restraint whatsoever – I spent a happy 15 minutes sorting through my extensive scrap basket to find some suitable snippets for the leaves and matching them up to the felt I had in. Each leaf is very small so you can use up some of the ridiculously tiny bits that have been saved just because.
I felt sort of destined to make this necklace – I had everything already in my stash to make it. Felt, Bondaweb and eyelets – left over from the “Flights of Fancy” project in issue 9, leather thong left over from a beading project, and buttons from the Scottish Highland biscuit tin full of buttons which I inherited from Great Aunt Freda’s stash. Aunty Betty and Aunty Freda were Mr Topstitched’s great aunts.
Originally from the North East where they worked in mills in the ‘30s, they moved to Yorkshire to “better themselves”, becoming respectively a nursery nurse and the manager of a cake shop. I could never get them to talk much about the mills, but they retained a great knowledge and love of textiles and made a lot of their own clothes, although this dwindled off as they got older and engaged in a love/hate relationship with the tension on their newfangled electric Bernina. I feel it a privilege to be the current custodian of the button tin with all of its buttony loveliness. There are all kinds of treasures in there, and it was my son’s second favourite way of learning to count (the first being learning subtraction using Smarties).
It didn’t take long to make, although I confess I couldn’t actually locate the Bondaweb, so I made do with the ordinary fusible interfacing I COULD find and a Pritt stick instead.
The next important question was what colour to do the all important topstitching? I have print fabrics in various shades of blue and the felt in lime green, the dress is navy corduroy. So, obviously I chose orange! Well, perhaps not so obvious. Long experience with sewing morsbags from recycled fabrics and donated and leftover threads has led to the growing realisation that thread in lime green or orange will make a pleasing contrast with most colours. The felt was already green, and I didn’t want it too matchy matchy so orange it was.
Almost didn’t want to hand it over, but in the end, both necklace and apology were well received.
It was such a satisfying project that of course I couldn’t stop at just one! So it being another friend’s birthday was all the excuse I needed to have another go. More rifling through the scrap basket, fusing, arranging and choosing of buttons produced a purple version.
For this one I used two layers of felt. A darker one to act as a foil for the jewel like colours of the cotton prints, and then a brighter felt behind it emphasises the colours still further. The second layer of felt also helps to give a bit of body to the piece. The felt I was using was quite thin synthetic stuff, the blue felt Anna used looks like it was a thicker natural felt. I never normally need an excuse for adding more fabric and colour, but the extra layer of the synthetic felt I used did help it to stop feeling a little bit floppy.
I thought it best to cease and desist at that point, although I would gladly have continued to make more of these until I completely ran out of felt….mind you, it is Christmas coming up…….
*NB I don’t want to do a disservice to my friend, she most definitely does not EVER stick pins in eyes, she is very professional and effective and MOST careful and particular about her needles.
Filed under: Sewing