Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Spooky True Story about a Waistcoat

Spooky True Story about a Waistcoat

It has been on my radar to write a blog post for several weeks. I was surprised last post was June 2015.   I struggle with juggling home life, work life, creativity, swimming adventures and technology

Yesterday morning I opened https://www.facebook.com/JackieWillsTextileArtist and found a message and a couple of photographs from AB.  I instantly recognised the work in the photographs to be a long sold waistcoat.   Distinctly my style, distressed blue denim with hand painted bamboo and abstract hearts along with added embroidery.

AB asked if I could confirm that it was one of my garments and if so what year.

Well, I could definitely confirm that it was one of my waistcoats, I just hoped that I had a photo to prove it.   I searched through my content and found the exact one, referenced TY 724.  In those days I would make a garment, take a random snap for personal reference and sell it.  The date looked like the year 2000.   In those days photos were non digital and and would be printed out via  by the excellent services of Trueprint.

TY 724 is reproduced below:

AB lives in Spain,  he came across the waistcoat in a charity shop.  He said it had been well looked after and in good condition.  Anyway AB wore it to work in Spain and a few people commented on it. Apparently one person knew the designer (me). Right now I cannot think of anyone I know in Spain! How is that for a spooky coincidence!!

Naturally I am delighted that TY 724 has retired to Spain and has found a new owner who will cherish it as much as the first.  


Friday, 12 June 2015

Idea for Patchwork or Needlework Sample. Create Wearable Pocket

Idea for Patchwork or Textile Sample.  Create Wearable Pocket.

So annoying when you are chasing around, phone rings, stops before you reach it or you want to read something quickly and glasses are in another part of building.   For convenience and practical working I need to have mobile and landline phone, plus glasses and handkerchief all in one place without having to search.

Clothes with pockets never seem to work and light purses or bags can be cumbersome around the neck.

Looking for a practical use for a patchwork sample created recently, a wearable pocket was a clear winner.

Easy to make using no fraying fabric.  I used a light nylon mesh.   Cut a rectangle double the size of needlework.  Allow extra around the edges and for seams.   Cut long strip for tie, enough to go around your waist and to make a bow.   I folded tie length in half.

Sew together. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Helen in the Sea - Textile Pictures by Jackie Wills 2015

Helen in the Sea - Textile Pictures by Jackie Wills 2015

Blog has been neglected recently, partly due to distractions and developing new ideas.

I was inspired to submit some work for selection for the 'Just Add Water' exhibition at Hannahs, Seale Hayne near Newton Abbot.  http://www.discoverhannahs.org/events/current/exhibition-just-add-water/  

I wanted to create a textile painting of wild sea with a swimmer.  Below is Helen in the Sea One.  

Helen in the Sea One by Jackie Wills

This work was inspired by my lovely friend Helen.   Over the years we have shared many fantastical adventures wild swimming, often in extreme conditions in the sea and rivers of Devon.  We were at the Ness Beach at Shaldon, it was a horrid day, the beach was deserted and the sea was crazy. Red stones growling as they rolled in the surf. It was agony to the feet.  I took a photograph as Helen walked in and tamed the sea.  I used my image to create three very different pictures of Helen in the Sea.

Helen in the Sea, building interpretation with paint on canvas and denim

Using ecru canvas on the left and distressed denim on the right I built my interpretation with paint. Texture was applied with machine embroidery, couching with thread and wool. Voile provided further subtile texture. A few other haberdashery oddments were sewn in to finish.   The works then framed.

detail, Helen in the Sea Two by Jackie Wills

Above:  Helen in the Sea One by Jackie Wills 2015

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Easy Way to Colour Patchwork Pattern. Fibonacci & Elongated Hexagons EPP

Easy Way to Colour a Patchwork Pattern. Fibonacci & Elongated Hexagons EPP

I have been hand sewing hexagons for over 45 years.  In the old days I would use isometric paper to design hexagon patterns.  This method works well if your hexagons are all the same size.   My packs of hexagon paper templates include hexagon grids for designing and www.patchworktemplates.com has one that can be printed free of charge.   These can be photocopied and coloured in.   

The pattern planning changes when different shapes are used in one design.  Fibonacci and Elongated Hexagons come to mind.  This also applies to other shapes that tessellate.   

There is an easy solution.    Lay paper templates out on a flat surface.   Spend time moving shapes around until your eyes are pleased. This will help visualise colours and structure of pattern.
Photograph arrangement, print onto copy paper and colour with crayons.  

Another option is to photograph, create a digital image on computer, insert photograph onto a paint or desk top publishing document. I use Pages on Macbook.   Using a small coloured shape, duplicate many time and place onto the centre of each paper template.   Print.

See: http://youtu.be/M6ePQYWEQC4

It is really simple and gives room for experimentation before committing to fabric.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Create a shoulder bag from Patchwork Sample. Easy make Purse

Create a shoulder bag from Patchwork Sample. Easy make Purse

Recently I have been receiving requests for equilateral triangle patchwork paper templates.   They are not currently listed on my websites but are available upon request.  

I decided to create a sample using triangles and really enjoyed the process.   The sample was too nice to put in the cupboard along with many others, so I decided to create a simple bag with it as a feature.

I chose Ecru canvas as it is a firm fabric ideal for this purpose and compliments the glaze of cotton chintz, although I was concerned that it would look a little "plonked" on so I created a gentle blend by machine embroidering some canvas with pretty stitches then making the canvas into hexagons to add to the bottom and top of the triangle patchwork sample.  

After appliqueing the work onto the canvas I couched some string to add more texture and dimension to the design.   The result worked well.

Instead of a blank back of the bag I did a bit more machine embroidery and added some enhancing chintz to break up the solid colour.

I was tempted to put a zip as a closer for the bag, being honest zips look good but I prefer a strip of velcro inside the lining.   It makes easier access and in my opinion more discreet.

See youtube video clip:

www.jackiewills.co.uk I have lots of samples and unfinished projects languishing in my sewing room. This slide shows how to make a bag by adding further embroidery. This idea can be adapted in many ways to suit you. I have sewn the patchwork onto canvas fabric and couched string to add some dimension. The bag is simple. Velcro has been used in favour of a zip and remains hidden within the lined bag. The bag can be made any size to suit your requirements.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Vintage Hexagon Patchwork Project & The Lost Project from the 1980's by Jackie Wills

Vintage Hexagon Patchwork Project & The Lost Project from the 1980's by Jackie Wills

Back in the early 1980's, before I started to use cotton glazed chintz fabric for hexagon patchwork,  I created the Red Themed Patchwork wallhanging shown below.  It comprises of 547 hexagons.  Each hexagon side measures 5/8" or 34mm.   

The other day I came across a small bag of fabric squares, templates and covered hexagons, clearly cherished at the time.  I remember that after finishing the Red Theme,  started on the Blue and made it to about half the size.   

The last time saw it was at Cockington Court where I had a patchwork studio/workshop in 1991/2.  Must have got lost in moving or something like that. Its possible I sold it, long time ago now.  Must have a photo of it somewhere.....

I wonder if it still exists,  if it is enjoyed or at the bottom of a refuse tip.  Who knows......

I created the pattern using an isometric grid and feel that the design is best suited to stripe fabric.  The fabric is an important memory for me as the pretty striped pattern was available in three different colour ways, red, blue and green.  I love the little hearts and "Feather Stitch" detail in the pattern.  

Lightweight cotton fabric was purchased at the Remnant Shop in Torquay.  For those who remember the crowded rows of rolls and rolls of fabric, the smell of the shop, the mass of fabrics to explore on laden shelves.  A chap called Sidney owned the chain of shops, one in Torquay, Paignton and I think Newton Abbot as well.   It was a heavenly place to visit for every kind of fabric imaginable if you could work your way through and find what you were looking for.

I have a video clip with more images to go with this blog:



buy patchwork templates from www.patchworktemplates.co.uk