It’s been a busy couple of weeks, full of get-togethers and wedding events. I also started using Twitter, which I think we can all agree is
a dangerous time sink a great tool for learning what’s up. (You can follow me @raftersofcedars if you like.)
Meanwhile, I’ve been intending to post more about the progress of this chuppah, which is for a wedding later this month in a Southern venue. The main decorative element is a wreath of appliquéd live oak leaves, which is now finished, barring a few tweaks.
Backing up for a minute, here’s a bit about the steps that got me to the wreathy-looking image above. Remembering that I began with a pencil sketch that looked like this:
My first step once a design is approved is to create a life-sized drawing from the sketch. This lets me confirm the size of individual design elements, test out how I want to arrange them, and get a rough idea of how many pieces I need to cut. When a design is asymmetric I draw the entire thing, but in this case a quarter of the circle is enough:
From this sketch I made some quick patterns and cut out leaves in three colors of silk. (A fourth color was in reserve for making additional leaves as I went along.)
There’s a whole process involved in making and applying the appliqués that I plan to show in more detail one of these days–not that it’s so mysterious but there are a few different methods and it’s fun to experiment with them. In this case I used three different methods, small variations that add more or less dimension to each leaf.
Arranging all the pieces involves tinkering, trimming shapes, adjusting sizes, and making new leaves where I don’t have exactly the one I want for a particular spot. When all the pieces are in place, I press them to hold them where they are. Here’s what the wreath looked like after pressing, but before any sewing:
From here I sew each appliqué in place and embellish it using machine embroidery. I took a quick snapshot of the wreath midway through the embroidery last week:
Now the wreath is done! Or mostly done. I sprinkled more acorns around in the original sketch, but I’m pretty happy with the current arrangement. I’m going to sleep on it while I work on the next phase.
Today I set up a screen in my dining room to take photos of the work in progress. It’s always a little challenge photographing a chuppah indoors, but this setup is my favorite so far. It’s just pinned to a canvas-covered screen.
And here’s a better look. The tiny black mark at the center is a tailor’s thread tack, to guide me in the placement of the next set of appliqués: the couple’s initials, R + J.
To be continued!