Practice Machine-Stitched Trapuntocomments (5) October 24th, 2008
Trapunto originated in Italy back in the 1500s. Traditionally, it is done by stitching a design on fabric with an additional backing fabric underneath and a layer of batting between the fabrics. To create the raised effect, a slit is cut on the backing fabric behind each design and the motifs are stuffed with additional batting. The openings are whipstitched closed and a second backing fabric is added to cover the slashes.
I used a sewing machine to stitch my designs, placing batting behind the motifs instead of slashinig and stuffing. A leaf is the perfect image to use to practice this technique. It’s a simple shape and the veins provide an opportunity to build some texture into the design. I picked up a few of the many spectacular ones that have fallen around my house and traced the shapes to create the patterns for my three-leaf motif that I stitched on silk dupioni fabric.
Follow these steps to create a trapunto piece of your own:
1. Trace the designs from the paper patterns onto some tear-away stabilizer. Then place the stabilizer on top of the fabric and free-motion-stitch (lower the feed dogs and guide the fabric yourself) around each shape. Gently remove all the stabilizer. (Alternatively, you can trace the designs directly onto the fabric and keep the stabilizer under the work as you sew, but marking on fabric is always tricky and the above method is an easy way to transfer the images.)
2. Use the paper patterns to cut the shapes from some thick batting scraps, or use two layers of batting to create the desired amount of loft. Trim the shapes all around so that they’re slightly smaller than the stitched designs.
3. Pin the shapes in place to the back side of the fabric. Turn the piece over, repin from the right side, and remove the pins on the back.
4. Place a piece of backing fabric on the back to cover the batting.
5. From the right side, stitch around the shapes again, trying not to catch the batting.
6. Stitch the veins in the leaves, through all thicknesses. Use some variegated or blendable thread and “paint” around the shapes with stitches.