Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Process - Creating a Mushi Brooch

Today I'm sharing with you a few pics of the process I go through when creating a "Mushi" leather and fabric brooch. Lots of images follow.

Step One.
Fabric selection from "The Stash". Many of my fabrics are recycled, vintage, offcuts or Japanese in origin. I like to make these brooches in batches, to streamline the process, so these days I keep a container full of fabric already cut into small elliptical shapes. Here's a few:

Step Two.
I'm starting to build the layers. I choose complementing felt, more fabric or leather to cut more ellipses from. These will go under or over the fabric, depending on how much of the fabric I want to show. A note here - all the layers that these brooches are composed from are cut entirely by hand using scissors. No laser or die cutting used!

Step Three.
The fabric/felt/leather layers are co-ordinated with two layers of leather backing. Most of the leathers I use are offcuts from the upholstery industry. Again I cut the leather by hand using scissors.
Step Four.
I select a co-ordinating colour thread and stitch the fabric layers onto the top layer of leather. The stitching is done on my domestic sewing machine, using a very heavy duty needle. I have a random way of stitching these brooches; no secrets with the settings on the machine, just a straight stitch, with the stitch length varied depending on the thickness and suppleness of the leather. The main trick is guiding the work through the machine; a teflon foot or walking foot helps with the really thick stuff. Sometimes the layers can bunch up and pucker, so it can be tedious and takes quite a bit of control. The seam ripper gets a bit of use at this stage if I'm having a bad day!

Step Five.
Both leather layers are stitched together using matching thread. Again, the layers can sometimes pucker, especially due to the elliptical shapes I am fond of cutting. More guiding, turning and pulling to make sure it's all nice and neat and the stitching is nice and even.

Step Six.
The edges are trimmed, using very sharp scissors. The little hairy bits of leather are burnt off with a lighter or match, as are any loose threads.
Step Seven.
A brooch pin is fitted to the back.

Hoorah! A couple of finished Mushi brooches (available in my shop of course!):

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, I loved reading about your process... especially 'burnt off with a lighter or match'... If I tried that with anything I ever made, there would be a lot more 'fire sales', tee hee!


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