I had decided on the body/guitar as my theme.
From Table to Guitar Body
From my original design, I’d planned to make a table. However I changed my idea, as I hadn’t realised I had to include stitching in the exercise.
The original 3D cardboard mock up.
Once I realised this, I did consider drilling a hole large enough for a pot plant, then making and stitching a plant or some flowers. As in this example. Another thought was to sew and stick fabric to the table and to drill lots of holes I could stitch through.
However eventually, I changed tack as this wasn’t what I’d envisaged: I didn’t like the idea of a decorative piece, as I wanted to keep the connection of a wooden table and guitar with the unadorned naked body. One soft, one hard, but both a similar colour.
I had to come up with another design based on what I’d done. Possibilities included a guitar case, knapsack, cushion, tabard, soft sculpture or a vase. Here are some source photos and drawings of some of these ideas.
If I was representing the body, rather than the wooden guitar, decorative stitching and fabric now seemed appropriate.
Once I had eliminated the idea of the table and focussed on working with fabric, the stitching now seemed appealing: in fact the more decoration, embellishment and stitching the better.
My painted design.
I transferred my design by mono-printing, using an acrylic sheet with acrylic paints onto cotton sateen. The sides of the body were printed using a roller. This gave the free painterly quality I desired.
These are the pattern pieces laid out ready to form into ‘sandwiches’ with wadding and a backing. The backing would not be visible, so I was not concerned about the look. I therefore decided on a fairly thick cotton to make it more substantial .
Choosing threads and piping for the binding.
I chose metallic threads for quilting and guterman threads for the construction.
Checking and matching threads to the front and back pieces. I later replaced the green commercially bought bias binding
Trying out the pattern pieces to work out how big each segment had to be.
For the cheek…
…and the breast.
I used this quilting pattern on the side of the guitar body
as well as some simpler zig-zag quilting.
I also wanted to incorporate some hands so used some rubber gloves to find the best position to place them in.
It was bulky and difficult to guide the sewing and involved having to hold the sewing aloft to take the weight. I found stitching through the tougher material difficult on a domestic sewing machine. I had several attempts before I succeeded and even now I think an industrial machine would have made a better job of it. I also redid the binding, finding the commercial bias I’d bought unsatisfactory, so I painted some more cotton sateen fabric and made my own bias binding.
Turning it inside out.
Initially I filled the sculpture with foam sponge pieces, but this was too squishy, so I tried polystyrene beads which gave it more substance. At first attempt I tried this on my own. However I would suggest to anyone else attempting this, to get some help, as the beads are very hard to control! With help I could push the beads down and achieve a firmer soft sculpture.
I took my sculpture to Calshot to take some stills.
Though I was pleased with the final outcome, it was not all easy. I’d spent a lot of time at the beginning settling on what I would make. Also there was a great deal of choice as to what materials we could use. In retrospect I would have used a softer fabric for the backing, as sewing proved very difficult.
Though there were difficulties along the way, ultimately the process was satisfying.