Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sunset Butterflies


I learned SO much last week, when I published my first group of Silk Butterfly Bags!  Today I am posting what is left, four "Sunset Butterflies" bags.  I have made things simpler for both you and me.

I will publish a kit of beads with each bag, combining the costs of the bag at $47, and the kits around $18, so there is just one listing to buy to get both things needed to make the bag.  This kit of Bag and Beads costs $65.00.  Here is a link to that listing.  And here is what the butterflies look like in my samples, fully embroidered.


They sit up beautifully off the quilted silk surface, and I find the black outline makes them pop! 
See?


This is a different bag, but, I have loved wearing it this week!

I am also creating a simple photographic tutorial for each bag variation.  It includes diagrams of the bead embroidery stitches I use in each applique cover, and a photographic progression of the process, from outlining to finishing the lining on the back of the embroidered flap


Because the project is about painting with color, there are SO many different beads in each kit!  Trust me when I tell you the kit is a TOTAL bargain.  It comes packed inside your bag so there is just one easy shipping fee.


If you count all the different sizes and finishes of the black beads, plus the firepolish and drops, there are 22 different beads in this kit.  You absolutely could not buy them for $18!

SO if you are interested in this project, and want one of these bags, there are just four available today, in a much simplified format.  And up next, maybe in two weeks or so, some Silver Silk Bags! 


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Butterfly Bags Released into the World


I will release the Butterfly Bags I have made today around noon or 1pm, depending on how fast I can finish writing all the listings and this blog post.  It's COMPLICATED!  And you will have to make choices and I want you to be informed.  This is an easier, more pictorial way to show you what is being offered.

First, I want to show you my sample, using Applique A.  It's not a great applique, because the sides are not perfectly symmetrical. All the other are perfectly symmetrical. I have been hunting butterfly fabric for a year for this project!  I think the primary purpose of having an applique to bead is for inspiration, easy filling, and symmetry.  If you choose this applique, you will need to be sensitive to the lower wing area and make the two sides as similar as possible.

Having said all that, I want you to see my process.  I have a tutorial, for a slightly different Monarch without the pearls, but the possibilities are endless, and I want to give you a sense of how to make choices and move forward.  I think the tutorial is a good buy in terms of guidance in the process, even if you choose a different applique, like this one.

Here's the applique. Notice the flaws with me.  The upper wings are great, but they sit behind the lower wings, and on real butterflies the opposite is true.  Also the lower right wing in larger than the lower left, and patterned differently.  I did my best to ignore the stuff I didn't like as I started beading.


The first step with EVERY bag is to cover the body.  I like large matte black beads for this purpose.  Then the edges are outlined, to mask and protect the stitched and fused raw edge.  When that is done, the fill can begin.  I like to start with wing borders, and use a 3mm pearl and 8/0 matte black on the bottom, with more sizes on the top.  See how I corrected which wing lay over which? I didn't care for the green tones at the bottom of the butterfly and wanted to add a touch of pink and purple at the top, so you can see the start of that here.  Always work do what you do on one side to the other side before moving on, to help with symmetry,


Next, I added veins to the upper wings, with matte 15/0.  


Sharp contrast veining is really pretty, but if your applique is small, you need to skip the veining and just do directional filling, to indicate the sections of wing.   See what I mean on the previous post, called  "A Happy Little Bag" where I did no veining, but you can still see the shapes.

Here I have begun filling the upper wing, Notice how I do a section at a time on each side



Upper wings are finished, and I am ready to vein the lower wings.


I am using both 11/0 and 15/0 beads to do my fill.  I am careful not to overfill.  There can be small spaces between beads and they will not be noticed.  The fabric below is in deep shadow, and no one will think about what is down there except you with your magnifiers on, holding the fabric 6" from your nose.  RELAX.  Small gaps are fine, and too many beads is bad.


I added a little bead at most of the intersections of the quilting, to give it depth, but I avoided the two at the top of the wing, knowing they would mess with the nice clean outline.

Here is my recommendation for you.  Maybe just buy one bag.  I really want everyone who wants to try this to have a chance to do it.  You can only do one at a time, and I really will do more.  The next set will be silvery silk, and I have a pale green and rich bronze planned too,  And I will come back for more gold as well, if there is sufficient interest.  

Here's a link to the bags, and you can choose your favorite applique. 

Here's a link to the tutorial, helpful whether you plan to make one of these two options, or "bead by number on a different applique.

And here is a link for the monarch kit I have available.  If you want the Fantasy Butterfly, or possible beads for one of the other appliques, ask me.  I can probably help you.




Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Happy Little Bag


I am close to releasing the first set of Butterfly Bag bead embroidery projects and tutorials! If all goes according to plan, I will post a few of them next weekend in my Etsy shop.  

Carl walked past my bench yesterday as I was finishing up my original sample and said, "That's a Happy Little Bag!"  I loved the Bob Ross reference, and so this sample has a name!

Making this little bag, helped me figure out what might constitute a good size, shape, and expedited construction.  I carried it around with me over the last couple weeks, unfinished, just to test how it worked and felt, and I have made several design improvements as I worked my way along.

This idea grew out of wanting to pass along something I have enjoyed in the past.  I began using fabric applique about 10 years ago in my dancewear, and the idea translated really well to bead embroidery.

A little history...   Among of my first projects along this line was my "Falling" vest.  If you want to read more about this project, you can do that here


And after this, I made my Urban Safari Coat, again done with applique, and the same yummy quilted Dupioni Silk.  This was a competition piece for Battle of the Beadsmith, and if you like, your can find more pictures here, and read about the construction and beading process here.


I have to confess, the idea of creating clothing in all sizes imaginable was overwhelming.  So instead I decided upon a "wearable" handbag to serve as my offering to you to try out this technique.

I am planning a release for next weekend (June 19-20),  and will continue to make these for a while, as long as there in interest, I have stamina, and until I use up the fabric I have for the purpose.  I have gold, silver, and limited bronze and celadon silk.

First release will be bags made up in gold silk, with the two versions of the tutorial.  One will include instructions and approximate charts for two options, a Monarch butterfly and a Fantasy butterfly, based on the applique.

Here is my sample for these two options, and I will assemble kits for these.


There will also be a couple different applique options, and a minimal guide tutorial for those who are experienced bead embroiderers and would like to try filling the printed lines with beads of their choosing. You are also free to add anything else of your want; flowers, scrollwork, or filling the ditch in the quilted fabric with beads as below.


So if you enjoy bead embroidery, or are interested in a gateway to the craft,
stay tuned for a more detailed blogpost, and keep an eye on my Etsy shop next weekend!