A Bird In The Hand


A treasure chest with some unusual stuff is a dream of every needlewoman. There could be an extraordinary buttons patiently waiting for their masterpiece, old fashioned lace that's nicely spread out from time to time or vintage rags inherited from grandma; inside that chest...


Recently I've discovered a new hobby. It surprisingly coincided with a time when I've found an unique old fabric piece in my treasure chest.


Handmade chenille is a soft fluffy fabric with a great texture. This technique is familiar to those who engage in patchwork and quilting.


You first need to felt a perfect vest, as a basis for the further manipulations. Choose the wool and viscose of colors matching the fabric. We'll need about 100g (~4oz) of Merino wool and 30-40g (~1.5oz) of viscose fibers.

Let's start from taking vest pattern with stand collar as a basis.

Our vest is assumed to be very simple, but bright on the inside. I took some thin viscose strands of different colors and laid them vertically.

Moisten these fibers with a warm soapy water.

Lay the wool changing two layers: horizontal and vertical.

Moisten the wool and gently rub through the mesh.

Continue according to the previous lessons.

When you feel the wool has become dense - remove the template and continue rolling and felting until the garment is ready to fit. Dry on a mannequin.

The next step is pinning. The chenille element will not fill the entire vest surface, so I need to decide on its shape and position.


What is Chenille? Chenille is composed of three main elements: the lower lining layer, several layers of filler and the top decorative layer consisting of fabric with an interesting pattern.


The thickness depends on the number of filling layers. The result is always unpredictable, like a kaleidoscope.

Cut the filling details according to your main fabric piece.

This time it will be a flowered chintz and monochrome linen fabric.

Pin all layers together and stitch around perimeter.

Pin the detail to anchor it to your clothes, then stitch around.

Mark the stitch direction at 45-degree angle.

Set the stitch length at 1.8mm (distance between stitches 1.5mm)

Sew across marked lines you've drawn.

Iron from time to time. Watching to avoid curved seams.

The time's come to cut the chenille. You may use a special slash cutter or ordinary scissors. Be careful not to cut the lining layer, overwise the work will be spoiled.  Besides this I left the birds intact, for further embroidery, so the design will become more expressive.

Fluff the cuts manually or using a special chenille brush.

The sequence remains the same for the other parts. This time I've used a hook tape instead of buttons.

Hope you'll like this lesson and I'll definitely continue this experiment.

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