Subersive Sues – Slightly NSFW

Why is it so much fun to combine something innocent and childlike, like a Sunbonnet Sue or a lovely little bit of cross stitch sampler, with something rude or obscene?  It’s not like I’m the first.  Subversive Cross Stitch has been around since forever, offering pretty samplers with  delicious sayings such as “Don’t Make Me Cut You” or “Chill The Fuck Out“.  MrXstitch has a weekly column called NSFW Saturdays where the only thing between the reader and stitched rudeness is an adorable picture of a kitten or a bunny.

Maybe the urge is nasty: the desire to pervert a genre and a style so grounded in preciseness and propriety, that we just want to wreck it because we can.  But I don’t think that’s it.

Embroidery has for the longest time been a feminine endeavor.  It’s what pretty ladies learned to do to occupy their time and it’s how housewives made their homes more homey.  The patterns I used for my three little girls were supposed to be for dish cloths, one for pans, one for china and one for dishes.  We live in such a different world; not only do I not see the point of having three (and more!) dish cloths for different types of dishes, I would never dream of using something that I spent time and effort on to wipe up wet dishes!  Embroidery is no longer as utilitarian as it has once been; it’s definitely more of an art form.

As art, we need it to say something.  If that something is Fuck, than so be it.  Honestly, it was the sight of this poor girl losing her balloon that made me think of it; what would I say if my balloon slipped out of my grasp: Fuck!

The three girls come from mmaammbr‘s flickr account, which holds thousand of beautiful vintage patterns.  They don’t really identify the origin of most of these patterns, so I would never use them for something I would sell, but for private use, they are fabulous.  They feature tons of kitchen themed pieces, as well as multiple sets of seven illustrations outlining which chores are to be done on which day of the week.  Did you know Tuesday is laundry day if you believe this chubby kitty?  I’m pretty sure laundry day is whenever the basket gets full for most of us.



Playing with Sequins

Here’s a funny fact: if you order ten dollars worth of sequins, you will get a package in the mail with approximately 15 000 sequins in it.  Although it doesn’t look like that much, the math works.  It’s lovely and overwhelming all at once.  I bought seven different colours of 3mm sequins for the actual pitcher plant, and a pack of red 5mm sequins to play with and learn from.  Baby steps.

These are the first three forays into sewing with sequins, in tidy straight lines.  I am using contrasting thread in order to see where each stitch landed.  The first on the left is what I learned from this video, which I also linked in my last blog post.  It comes together pretty fast, but uses a quarter more sequins than the next two methods.  I’m not sure this is a problem, but it’s worth keeping in mind.  The sequins have a little bit of horizontal mobility but tend to snake together when they move, keeping the line tidy.  This is definitely my favourite method.

The the middle row, two sequins are held down by one stitch across both holes.  It was a bitch to put together since the second sequin was not actually properly held down until I had added an extra sequin to the sequence.  The sequins have serious mobility, and I am not happy with how the stitch line doesn’t stay straight because of that.  Overall, this method is sloppy.

The last row is similar to the last one, but with each sequin being held down by two stitches on either side of the hole.  Although the stitching is more consistent with this method, the sequins still have more mobility than I would like.  It is also more time consuming than the other methods since each sequin requires two stitches.

The other problem I have with the last two techniques is how much of the background fabric is visible.  I like the tightness of the first method too much to give that up even if it isn’t as economical.

My next step was seeing how well my chosen technique would take a curve.  I tried a soft curve, then a very tight one, and both took quite well.  I have a feeling that the smaller sequins would look even better on a curve.

The final step in my testing was trying to see if I would be better off stitching my outline and details before and filling in with sequins, or whether I should do the reverse and stitch after all the sequins were down.  On the first curve, I stitched the stem stitch afterwards.  The second one was stitched first, and I started adding in sequins afterwards.  As you can see, I gave that up pretty quickly.  On the first curve, the stitching actually holds down the sequins, making the edging smooth.  The sequins on the second curve are just sitting on top of the stitching, hiding half the stitches.  It looks much less finished and less interesting to me.

So that’s what’s I’ve been experimenting with.  If you are starting a new project, do you dive in or try out different things to see what works or doesn’t first?  Next step, getting a drawing/pattern I am happy with.