Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rose Mosaic Velvet Smock

Well, my first grand experimentation in sewing polymer clay mosaic pieces to fabric has finally come to a close.  I did it.  Whew!  And boy, did I learn a lot!

Here are some pics of the finished product.  It's a Vogue pattern (V8624) in size 18.  I had to modify the pattern slightly--it didn't come with a lining, and I wanted one.  But I accidentally sewed it in the wrong way and ended up creating a lining that torqued the fall of the velvet a bit along the bottom hem, and cupped everything inwards creating a blousing effect along the outside.  I decided to go with it and bound the raw edge with a piece of the silk I was using for the lining.

Regardless, this is how it turned out!  I used white rayon velvet  and white china silk which I purchased from Dharma Trading Goods.  I dyed some soft yellow into the bottom of the lapels, cut out the polymer clay pieces and put holes in them, painted them a bit, glossed them, and sewed them on with gold metallic thread.

As I said, I've learned a lot.

First, make pieces that have a lot of holes in them.  These pieces that I made may be a little too loose on the velvet.  More holes would mean more security.

Second, use rounded pieces or pieces without sharp pointy points.  While the plastic is moderately flexible, it would still be nice to affix it on more securely and round out the pieces a little bit more to further deter "pokey-ness".  I'm seriously considering the work of Charles Mackintosh as inspiration for next time.

Third, sew the pieces on with a strong metallic cord.  Using a regular metallic thread that you can purchase at a fabric store probably isn't strong enough.  I am going to look for another source online for the future, as the thread I used from Gutterman is potentially quite weak and I'd like to sew the pieces on more securely.

Fourth, pay attention to where you place the mosaic pieces on the garment.  You really can't have much up around the neck area unless the pieces are very small, rounded, or set closely to each other...  "Pokeage" around that area would have increased if I had used long, sinewy pieces that are reminiscent of vines and stems around the neck.  Perhaps this is an excuse to work in additional mixed media pieces?  Maybe a thick, interesting yarn that's zig-zagged on?  Hmmm....

Fifth, consider using abstraction when designing your polymer clay mosaic pieces.  I learned that I could try to design something that was more three-dimensional and realistic, but my attempts to do so started looking like buttons.  If a third dimension is desired, be careful not to make it too dimensional or the wearer may feel that their garment has given them another appendage they didn't know about... hehe...

But for my next piece, I want to make pieces that are more reminiscent of a real mosaic... I have a collection of small mosaic pieces that I am going to put holes into with a Dremel tool, in much closer proximity to each other.  I like the look of Gustav Klimt's metallic and patterned portraits, so I will stick with that first to use up stock pieces I already have.  I'm also considering glueing pieces on, but I've never been a real fan of glueing things onto fabric as it has never been effective for me...   Maybe I've not found the right glue, yet...

See any other room for improvement that I might need to consider?  I know I've forgotten things...  Anything stick out as odd (besides the obvious mosaic piece here or there)?  I'd appreciate any feedback that's offered!

Anyway, it's done.  Whew!  And I'll be putting up for sale in my Artfire and Etsy stores and moving onto the next project!  Woohooo!

Until then, Live Life with Relish!


  1. Wowzers Kiddo!

    You've done great!!! I am duly impressed!! As I mentioned in the comments on your last post, I'm still in a really steep learning curve making polymer "ivory&bone" for my jewelry.I don't think I'm ready to tackle it as appliques on my garments. You are truly a greater person then I Gunga Din!!! Although I have to say your tiles did start my wheels turning about using polymer tiles on the outside of a fabric purse. You know like the evening type bags that have the mother of pearl tiles sewn together to form the sides?? Hmmmm maybe as soon as I get those 3 commissions done and... Better be putting a few more things on my to pick up in the Northlands list for June! :)

    Once again you have created magic from a bit of cloth (oh and now you can add polymer clay)and thread!!

    Pattie ;)
    Mazatlan Mx.

  2. OH, Pattie, thank you so so much for the compliments!! I'm blushing, can you tell? LOL!

    I really think that polymer clay pieces on an evening purse would be absolutely beautiful! You could so so many interesting things!! I'd be thinking of a "Day of the Dead" project seeing as how you're in Mazatlan... Those bones and ivory could really work for that offset with some colorful pieces in some interesting patterns... Hmm...

    And 3 commissions?!? That's awesome!!! Kudos, kudos, kudos!!

    In looking at your blog, I see you've started doing some molds... I haven't got there yet. I've been trying to find something worth making a mold of in my house, and haven't found anything yet. LOL! Maybe someday I'll get brave and just grab something. Haha!

    Thanks again, Pattie! Keep up your beautiful work--YOU inspire ME. : )


  3. Way to go, Corey! I am so impressed with all this gorgeous work, and it does look like alot of work and thought went into this beautiful piece.
    I like the ideas you had for Patti with the "Day of the Dead" project ... so many possibities!
    Thanks for always sharing,

  4. Susan, thanks so much for your thoughts--I'm hoping the next step in this "polymer clay fashion" experiment works out just as well.

    Can I just say you always have such gorgeous pictures on your blog?! Beautiful!!! : )


  5. OMG - This is absolutely stunning!!! WOW!!

  6. Thank you so much, Viki! I'm still figuring out how to use these ideas in other stuff, but we'll see how it goes... : )


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