Its an Angelina Kind of Day
I first discovered Angelina a couple of years ago and I was immediately attracted to it. I have always been attracted to shiny things, so it really was a match made in heaven. After playing and experimenting with it in small areas, to add glitz to some of my other wearables, the idea of creating an entire garment from it started to develop. At about that same time, the call for entries for the 2005 ASG/Simplicity’s annual wearable competition was announced. One of the proposed patterns was Simplicity’s 4748. This is an Asian Inspired pattern, with an asymmetrical jacket, pants and top and even a darling little purse. And so the experimenting began.
I played around with the Angelina, to get the color combination and the translucent effect I wanted. I used about a half ounce of 6 different Angelina colors to create enough fabric for the jacket, purse trim and samples. By lightly layering the different colors of Angelina, and then ironing (between parchment paper) to meld the fibers together, I created a delicate sheet of fabric that glistened delightfully, yet was still see-through or translucent. This layering is similar to working with wool or silk rovings when felting. I was totally fascinated by the idea of keeping the Angelina light and airy, but the challenge was how to keep it strong enough to make a garment and not have it fall apart. After some false starts, I eventually determined that if the fused Angelina sheets were supported by some organza, I could achieve the look I wanted.
I made several samples to determine which color of organza to use. I finally selected a rich dark gold crystal organza. The next stage was to work out how to join these together. At that time I had not discovered that the Angelina sheets, could be fused to the organza using a bonding agent (BO-NASH Bonding Agent 007), so that meant I had to stitch it to the organza. I needed a fairly light stitching so as not to interfere with the drape or translucent effect, but one that would provide enough coverage.
I eventually selected a continuous line quilting pattern from Golden Threads, (Earthlines by Julie Mullin, the Bamboo forest designs.) With their permission, I digitized the designs and then combined these to attach the Angelina to the organza. Using my embroidery machine and my alignment technique for creating large pieces of fabric, I created enough for the fronts, back and sleeves. I use an antique gold thread (Kingstar MG4) on the Angelina side (which almost disappeared into the Angelina) and Maderia variegated thread (#Polyneon, color 1604) in the bobbin. The result is a very subtle hand created original fabric. I also digitized a smaller version of the bamboo lattice and used this to enhance the collar and cuffs. Then I proceeded as normal to construct the jacket. Since the jacket was not lined, I used French seams throughout and used a “baby hem” to finish the jacket edges.
I must tell you about one major problem I had when creating the fabric. To hold the Angelina sheets and organza together while embroidering, I used a temporary adhesive spray. I did not want to hoop as I was afraid the Angelina fabric would crease or break. Unfortunately, because the Angelina and the polyester organza do not “breathe”, it took about 6 weeks for the temporary adhesive spray to dissipate. I tried washing it out, crying, praying and even beating myself with a wet noodle, but it took its own sweet time to eventually go away. In the meantime, it stuck to everything that touched it! As a result, I missed the deadline for the ASG/Simplicity competition! So be warned. I now just pin or baste the layers together.