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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mola Reverse Applique

On Saturday mornings we shop in the Adelaide Central Market. We rarely miss. We have breakfast there, usually with friends, before shopping. A couple of weekends ago, however, I made an exception. We went to the market during the week so I could go to an Embroiderers' Guild of South Australia class in mola - reverse applique embroidery.

I enrolled in a Mola class once before, but the class was cancelled for lack of numbers. This time I was in luck. Barbara Mullens was teaching the class for the Certificate Group at the Guild, and members are free to join in. Saturday morning saw me iron my two A4 size pieces of bright cotton, a pile of smaller pieces of bright cotton in other colours, gather my sharp scissors, cottons and needles and head off to class.

Barbara provided us with a simple design of a bird.

We traced it on to our top layer of fabric with the aid of a light table, put our two layers of fabric together, tacked around the bird shape and cut it out. We then turned the edge under, about 3-4 cm at a time and slip-stitched it down, exposing the layer beneath. 

We repeated the process with the wing shape on the cut-out piece, placing two different coloured pieces of fabric underneath to show through when the wing shape was cut out. This time there were two layers to turn under and stitch down to create a wing. We then re-inserted the cut-out bird in the  exposed shape, turning its edges and applique-ing it down.

 About where we were by the end of the day.
The straight lines on the design are slits. You tack around them, cut them, turn the edges under and form oval shapes of varying sizes. You then use your imagination to cut other shapes around the design, to expose the colour of the second layer, or by inserting small pieces of fabric under each area of the design, you can introduce new colours.

The pale pink is out of place - bold colours rule!
It was a lot of fun. The group was a very mixed one - I wouldn't have been the oldest and, because it is the certificate course, there were plenty of younger women. 

 I worked on my piece all the following week, experimenting with inserts of fabric and shapes, before moving on to embroidery over the top.

I followed Barbara Mullen's example in her sample piece, and applied a third layer (mine is yellow) to the back, and cut through to that in a few places.

I particularly enjoyed the running stitch embellishment, and using feather stitch to try to get a tail on the bird.

I haven't finally decided what to do with it - since I don't want to file it as my record of work, as certificate students must. Although it would go well on a bag, I might just make it into a small cushion and put it where I can admire it every day!


Karyn said...

That is a new technique that i have neevr seen before. The possibilities of what yu could do with it are endless aren't they?
Your bird looks very bright and happy!

Monica said...

I have always thought this would be a fun technique, but I have to say, it looks like a lot of work, too!

Is it difficult to do the applique stitch when you have cut through several layers?

Jillian said...

No, Monica, doing the stitch isn't so hard. What is tricky, though, is giving yourself enough room to turn the edge under and stitch. To expose my third (yellow) layer, I had to cut through my top (purple)) layer and my blue middle layer, stitch the blue edge to the yellow fabric then turn an edge on the purple and stitch to the blue. You have to make sure the shape you cut will allow you to turn an edge on each layer . That way you are only ever stitching two layers together.

Monica said...

Oh! So it IS a lot of work, then! I don't think I'll be trying that one any time soon. ;)