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Roderick Boone
Roderick Boone

The Art Of Manipulating Fabric _BEST_


The Art of Manipulating Fabric is an encyclopedia of three-dimensional fabric manipulation techniques that show you how to resurface, reshape, restructure and reconstruct fabric. Techniques include gathering, pleating, tucking, shirring, and quilting woven materials. Textile artists and quilters, as well as garment and home decor sewers, will expand their design horizons with the almost limitless effects that can be achieved.




The Art of Manipulating Fabric



The possibilities for three-dimensional manipulation of fabric - gathering, pleating, tucking, shirring, and quilting woven materials - are seemingly endless. To describe them all would be to describe the entire history of sewing.


  • In The Art of manipulating Fabric, Colette Wolff has set herself just this task, and she succeeds brilliantly. Working from the simplest possible form - a flat piece of cloth and a threaded needle - she categorizes all major dimensional techniques, show how they are related, and give examples of variations both traditional and modern. The result is an encyclopedia of techniques that resurface, reshape, restructure and reconstruct fabric.More than 350 diagrams support the extensive how-tos, organized into broad general categories, then specific sub-techniques

  • Handsome photos galleries showcase the breathtaking possibilities in each technique and aid visual understanding by emphasizing the sculptured fabric surface with light and shadow

  • Textile artists and quilters, as well as garment and home decor sewers, will expand their design horizons with the almost limitless effects that can be achieved



This is truly an essential resource for all sewists! Set to be the new The Art of Manipulating Fabric, Ruth Singer offers a modern interpretation of fabric manipulation in this book, with hundreds of full colour diagrams. Discover and explore 150 creative sewing techniques including pleating, folding, gathering, smocking, quilting, trapunto and applique. Ruth explains her innovative variations of these traditional fabric manipulation techniques and offers inspirational project ideas demonstrating practical applications to create accessories and home decor. Photographs and illustrations are included to support the step-by-step instruction for each technique and all of the techniques can be done by hand or with a domestic sewing machine without the need for specialist equipment.


I did this ink sketch based on a photograph of an oil field in the Guardian Saturday magazine, and thought it would look good in tucks. I had to overcome the issue of tucks not traversing the whole sample, therefore needing balancing darts on the reverse. The sample was worked on calico, dyed with procion and ironed after rinsing whilst still damp. This allowed the fabric to settle out even flatter. I liked the effect on the colour, making it more uneven in texture. The tucks were brushed over lightly with an oil paintstick, and additional lines stitched over the top after fixing. This idea could be further developed by layering tucks and colour stages in turn.


Next up was quilting. I have never done any quilting, so used this piece to practise. Having read about Amish quilts, I decided to hand quilt a simple design with a bias binding edge. I like the American crazy quilts, particularly the uneven lines and busy colour themes. I thought that rather than using lots of small amounts of different colours, a small sample could be made to look busier by using very heavily patterned fabric in a restricted colour palette.


I have made some shirred samples, and found that parellel stitch lines, whether they are straight or wavy look similar once gathered, apart from the shape of the fabric at the bottom. The most interested results were obtained from opposing large zigzags as below.


Various fabrics torn into strips and gathered were appliqued in place to produce this sample. I found that the gathering thread should be of similar weight to the fabric or else it can snap at the gathering stage. Different effects could be acheived by twisting gathered strips before stitching the ends in place.


I am lucky enough to have access to a gathering machine I could borrow, which meant that I could practice traditional English smocking techniques with relative ease. The trick is to feed the fabric evenly into the machine without bunching, and using a lightweight fabric. One problem I found was that the needles left quite large holes in the fabric once the gathering threads were removed.


Whilst using the gathering machine, I had the idea of feeding polyester organza scraps in a random and overlapping way to create a patchwork effect. Once on the gathering cotton thread, I then used a heat gun to distress the fabric, hold the pleats and bond the overlapping sections together. Once cool, the gathering threads were removed. I was really pleased and think that I would like to use this technique in the future as a basis for stitching.


This course covers the methods of creating flat patterns for workroom sample garments using fashion industry professional patternmaking techniques. Students have the opportunity to create style variations by manipulating basic pattern blocks. Students also have the opportunity to transfer designs from sketches into usable first sample patterns for apparel production.


During this time my students will look at all available videos on Mexico. We will also look at movies. about Mexico to contrast and compare Hollywood's version of Mexican clothing to that which we saw in more authentic books and videos. We will read books from a selected list. These will include both historical books and costume books. The students will research, as required, the traditional lifestyles, foods, art and clothing styles. from the various times in Mexican history The students will also engage in all of the tasks connected to their departmental tasks. This includes sketching, pattern making, fabric manipulation, construction techniques and more. Each of these activities is a part of our usual lessons so we can focus on Mexico and still get the information we need to sharpen our skills in fashion/costuming.


All of the fashion / costume students will be required to keep a journal about their experiences and feelings while working on the research and hands on projects. They will also add to their fashion morgue clothing styles from and reminiscent of Mexico. As a part of their sample book they will each add sewing, embroidery techniques discovered to be from the Mexico area. The use of half sized bodies will come into play as we make small costumes for display. All classes can benefit from this because the time it takes to make small costumes doesn't take away from larger projects and it gives experience in sewing without the major loss of fabric if mistakes are made.


Inspiration boards have become a large part of our design process. Each student is required to produce an inspiration board to show what motivated them to design a particular article of clothing. This board is a collage made up of pictures [tear sheets from fashion magazines] colors, words that interest you,or that speak about the subject you are studying music titles and lyrics, pictures of the environment and in this instance pictures from the country of Mexico. From this, the students will design a project and explain what made them create that particular item. This board is the perfect opportunity to teach about the abundant use of vibrant colors and fabric designs used historically and today by the people of Mexico. It is also a good time to reflect on the similarities of clothing worn today and that which was worn historically. I would point out the shawl and ever popular ponchos the girls are wearing today. It reminds us that some styles are classic and others repeat every twenty to thirty years.


As the grade seven and eight students prepare for making their personal projects they will be asked to call upon the lessons learned previously in fabric manipulating, painting on fabric, appliqué, silk screening, marbleizing, and batiking. This will allow them to place faces and scenes such as the Olmec heads, the temples, glyphs, and gods on fabric. 041b061a72


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