Chapter 5 - page 20
Design and make a textured tassel
I looked back through the pictures I collected in Chapter 1 for Module 2 and came across this photo of bluebells...
I started to draw different designs for the tassel and experiment with petal shapes that I thought might work effectively.
I made a mock up of the tassel from paper, deciding that a petal shape with a narrow top would work well, in order to reduce the amount of bulk at the top of the flower where the petals would meet.
Paper mock up of tassel
I decided to use the flower shaped stitch on the right (Stitch No. 155), as it provided good coverage over the black felt background, an interesting texture and also showed off the effect of the variegated thread well.
I stitched the outline of each petal in the lighter thread (Anchor Pearl Cotton wt 8, colour 1325) through the bobbin, followed by the darker purple variegated thread (Wonderfil Accent wt 12, colour 10). I used a plain purple thread through the top needle throughout, which shows on the reverse side of each petal.
My first ideas for the tassel skirt was to use machine wrapped wool in yellows and golds, and to sew a pom pom at the end of each one. However, when I tried this out (below) and placed it next to the petals of the tassel, the effect was quite dull and unexciting.
I decided to go back to the original ideas of sari silk, as it is quite shiny, and folded it in half before stitching in gold machine embroidery thread, using the same automatic stitch I used for the petals. I found some multi-coloured sari silk in my stash that picked up the colours of the petals (purple) and also included some golds and yellows.
This is a photo of the first version of my tassel. Although I liked it, I felt the skirt looked as though it was unfinished and needed a little extra 'something' to complete it.
I decided to add some beads to the ends of the stitched sari silk, choosing some golden brown glass beads. The final version is pictured below. I was much happier with the finished product and felt that there was a good balance of colours between the fabric, stitching and beads, and I also like the way the light catches the glass beads and draws the eye to the colours in the skirt.
Close ups of the finished tassel...
Tassel skirt with beads
Close up of stitching
Total time spent = 21 hours
Overall, I was pleased with the final result, and liked the combination of shapes, textures and colours that I used. I learnt quite a lot in the process of making the tassel too...
I needed to adapt the shape of the petal to reduce the amount of bulk at the top of the flower, which is where the paper mock up was useful.
I had to change my original idea for the tassel skirt as the colours were too dull - the sari silk was much more dynamic and exciting to use than the the wrapped wool idea.
Sometimes it is worth waiting to add a finishing touch to a project (the beads), rather than accepting a finished product as it stands.