Stitch, Fabric & Thread

Stitch, Fabric & Thread : An Inspirational Guide for Creative Stitchers

4.33 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
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Experiment with stitch, fabric and thread to create your own unique textiles.

This inventive book is a treasure trove of over 40 inspiring practical exercises, a rich and creative exploration of fabric and stitch, and a fascinating all-round read. Elizabeth Healey's approach to sewing is that it should be fun, and not like a chore or an exam we need to excel in. Her aim is to simply encourage you to pick up a needle and thread and get sewing!

The exercises draw inspiration from around the world: create corded works of art inspired by Milton Glaser's iconic Bob Dylan poster; create bold embroidered African masks; layer up and cut away to create Mola applique; use bleach and fabric paint to create Aboriginal dreamtime lizards; create knotted works of art inspired by ancient Mayan counting systems; embroider varsity cross-stitch letters or try out decorative Japanese book binding. Alternatively, try a host of other techniques such as quilting, printing, dyeing, couching tumbled crockery, creating pleats and puckers and needlelace.

Packed with stitch galleries and bursting with slow sewing ideas, the book also contains 'behind the stitches' features: illuminating insights into sewing movements such as Boro textiles, Gee's Bend quilting and Dorset buttons.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 204 x 260 x 11mm | 602g
  • Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 450 Illustrations, color
  • 178221285X
  • 9781782212850
  • 10,968

Table of contents

Introduction 6

Before the stitches 8

Tools: everything or nothing 10

How a sewing machine works 12

The importance of sketchbooks 13

What is thread? 14

What is fabric? 16

Colour 20

Behind the stitches: The quilters of Gee's Bend 22

Altered images 24

Toning it down 26

Humble stitches 28

Straight ahead: running stitches 30

Exploring straight stitches 32

Lovely jubbly 36

Pojagi patchwork 38

Intentionally random 40

Kantha fishes 42

Behind the stitches: Boro textiles 44

Visible mending 46

A leaf out of my book 48

Type matters 50

Varsity letters 52

African mask 54

Colourful cords 56

String theory 58

In the loop: chain and blanket stitches 60

Exploring blanket and chain stitches 62

Japanese binding 66

Behind the stitches: Saving your pennies 70

Penny wall hanging 72

Fluxus & mail art 74

Stitched memories 76

Silhouette-a-hula 78

Stitching on knits 80

Texture: introduction to raised stitches 82

Exploring raised stitches 84

Mini quilt 88

Drawing with Stitch 90

Dreamtime lizard 92

Seamless repetition 94

Talking knots 96

Natural dyes 98

Behind the stitches: The rise and fall of Buttony 100

Making buttons 102

More than stitches 104

Shibori 106

Pleats, folds and pinches 108

Texture and illusion 112

Worn and loved 114

Behind the stitches: Mola reverse applique 116

Mola: chicken or egg? 118

Chunky rouleaux 122

Drawn thread 124

Behind the stitches: Marriage quilts 126

Trapunto Graffiti 128

Gathered Circles of Joy 130

Behind the stitches: Not to be sniffed at 132

A Christening gift 134

Mirror, mirror 136

Mudlarking 138

Fibonacci flower 140

The poor sewer's embellisher 142

Paisley Park 144

The stitches 146

Templates 152

Glossary 158

Further Reading 159

Index 160
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Review quote

This is a lovely inspiring sewing book to relax with and absorb ideas from.

The author has a particular style emulating nature and using soft subtle natural shades and ethnic inspiration, using traditional stitching techniques which becomes apparent throughout the book. It all makes for a very soothing and restful style which is nevertheless exciting and innovative.

As well as lots of tips and techniques there are specific projects to try with step by step guidelines and templates.

Techniques covered which I had not come across before include Boro stitching and Mola applique and there are some great ideas for making and using Dorset buttons which I've already begun and find them fascinating.

A must read for imaginative stitchers and would be textile artists, to add to your sewing library and gain insight and creativity from. -- Jan Lambert * Customer Review * The illustrations in this book are really good and there are clear instructions to help you create some wonderful stitching projects. The layout of the book makes you want to try all the different techniques and overall, it's given me some new inspiration. -- Joanne Crosby * Customer Review * An excellent, inspiring book that gives lots of photos to easily explain ideas , that covers lots of techniques. I felt like a child in a sweet shop, that got me straight in my craft room trying ideas out .

I can recommend the book to anyone that is trying and playing with new inspiring techniques. -- Karen Meakin * Customer Review * You only have to look at the cover of this book to feel inspired.

With 160 pages of well illustrated information that can be difficult to find elsewhere this book is a must for every textile student, sewing enthusiast and mixed media artist.

The book contained a wide range of textile techniques that have been explained well along with projects to try.

Also included are answers to questions about how things work....for a sewing machine works.

This book contains more than the title suggests and is a joy to own. -- Gaye Parker * Customer Review * We love this book, packed with stitch galleries and bursting with slow sewing ideas, the book also contains 'behind the scenes stitches' features; illuminating insights into sewing movements such as Boro textiles, Gee's bend quilting and Dorset Buttons. It is an absolute inspiration! * Hot Brands Cool Places * The title of this book says it all - Stitch Fabric & Thread 'An Inspirational Guide for Creative Stitchers' - and it certainly is just that 'inspirational'.

This lovely book is packed full of techniques, ideas and instruction for the avid stitcher that are beautifully illustrated and clearly explained - including embroidery, quilting, fabric painting, dyeing and much much more. It introduced me to many techniques that I had never seen before, and I will look to this book for a wealth of ideas and for practical stitch reference for many years to come -- Gaynor Lewis * Customer Review * I am an artist and do a bit of sewing in some of my artwork. I found this book inspiring. Lots of beautiful photos throughout the book. It is so creative and is definitely a book I will pick up time and again -- Heather Graham * Customer Review * Elizabeth takes a slightly unconventional approach with her first book by presenting a range of creative and inspirational projects based around stitch types. The projects are of a somewhat random nature, but explanations are given for each, allowing flexibility for the reader to expand the idea in her own way. A charming ideas book perfect for anyone wishing to experiment with fabric and thread. * East Kent Embroiderers Guild * Elizabeth Healey's book is an inspirational book indeed. As an embroiderer who takes a very playful approach to her craft, looking at spontaneity and improvisation rather than following patterns or rules, what we have in Stitch, Fabric and Thread is a book full of new and exciting approaches within a framework of what most people would feel comfortable with.

Particular stitches are explored but go off on tangents. So with the running stitch, you look at the basics, then at a gallery of over 25 different ways of using straight stitch in your work. You then move onto a series of wildly different exercises or projects, all using running stitch. Chain and blanket stitches and later textured stitches are approached in the same way and you are moved far away from a pedestrian approach but taken on a roller coaster ride of stitching, stories and 'Behind the Stitches' which look more deeply into subjects ranging from Dorset Buttons to Boro Textiles or Mola Reverse Applique.

It is an exciting book that feels like someone with a brain full of stitches and ideas has exploded onto the page. It is taken beyond the traditional book of stitches and goes one step further, moving from the stitch to all the different ways you could use it and making it a treasure trove of ideas. From making simple stitched forms to mini art forms, you have a really good book about

making stitching fun and thinking outside the box. * Workshop on the web * I bet that gorgeous cover grabbed your attention. It gives you some idea of the inspiration this book provides through practical exercises. The many techniques explored in this book are quilting, shisha embroidery, printing, mola, dyeing, couching, Japanese bookbinding and needlelace. You'll discover stitch galleries and features on sewing movements such as Boro textiles.

Subtitled 'An Inspirational Guide For Creative Stitchers' this book includes : Before The Stitches - all about research and preparation; Running Stitches explores straight stitches; Chain and Blanket Stitches is another exploration of stitches and includes creating penny mats, one of my favourite projects in the book as well as stitched memories; Raised Stitches has some nice experimental ideas including Dorset buttons and More Than Stitches including Shibori techniques and mola and gathered circles and stitches at the very back of the book.

The book is a basic introduction to stitch with projects that you can follow. Since it covers a lot of things, it should have broad appeal. With over 40 exercises there is bound to be many things you will love. I felt that even if you encountered nothing new, you would still find value in the projects and expression in this creative book. So much to love for stitchers here. * * Yes, I know this is a papercraft blog - but the source of my inspiration is frequently needlecraft and this new title by Elizabeth Healey is an appreciation of many of the fabric manipulation techniques that kindle my creative fire.This lively new title covers many wonderful needlecraft specialities, including shisha mirror embroidery, Suffolk puffs, penny rugs, mola (reverse applique) and so much more. All interspersed with a dash of cultural and/or historical background and super how-to tips. This book provides exactly what is says on the tin, delivering on the promise of the title's strap line.

The projects are delightful and the author successfully updates many techniques with time-saving tweaks (such as the cheat's molas worked with felt cut-outs - no edges to turn under).

The fact that many (probably all) creative endeavours are underpinned by mathematical principles strikes fear in the heart of many crafters - Elizabeth Healey proudly revels in this knowledge, and shares her wondrous discoveries. She says , "I was once told that sewing is basically applied mathematics. If maths was your most hated subject at school, don't panic". Another gem is citing that creating a seemingly random pattern is not as easy as it sounds. Yay.

A weekend browse of this book could send your crafting off in splendid new directions. Would also make a fab Mother's Day gift. * Papercraft Post * Wow! What a truly inspirational book. As soon as I opened the front cover I fund my self-itching to get started on another project inspired by this book. Elizabeth Healey has done an amazing job of drawing together ideas and inspiration from all over the world.

Each chapter is based on one type of Stitch and shows you how you can expand on that type to create wonderful works of embroidery and textile art.

All in all this book is definitely worth buying as I believe it is one you will go back to time and time again, for both reference and inspiration! -- Sian Lawton * Customer Review * This new book by Elizabeth Healey headlines as 'an inspirational guide for creative stitchers' and is an experimental book for those - perhaps fairly new to stitching - who wish to develop and play with their creative ideas. The book is not strictly a project book but it does include templates for some of the ideas for you to have a go. The book's aim is to allow you to develop your own ideas from the wealth of techniques mentioned in the book, with the focus on different stitch types, both hand and machine.

It begins with a back-to-basics look at tools, threads and material types that you can choose for stitching. It really assumes limited knowledge and is a very comprehensive introduction before you start creating.

Then it leads into different stitch-based sections, starting with straight stitches. The first four pages of the section are a beautifully photographed visual exploration of different straight stitch techniques to whet your appetite before it focuses on more detailed techniques and ideas such as pojagi patchwork, kantha and creative darning.

The book continues in a similar format with well-illustrated sections on chain and blanket stitches, textural raised stitches, fabric manipulation and embellishments. As before there is a quick visual overview followed by more detailed ideas.The author explores stitch ideas from around the World and the book is an interesting read too!

It finishes with a very useful visual dictionary of stitches at the rear of the book and templates (not all at full-size) for some of the ideas to kick-start your creativity.

You will enjoy this book if you want to stitch your own designs, but get 'stuck' coming up with ways to achieve your ideas. It is packed full of inspiring images that will help set you off on your creative journey.

- See more at: * The Sewing Directory * July 2017

Pretty Patches contributor Elizabeth Healey brings her passion for textiles to Stitch, Fabric & Thread an exploration of stitched work including over 400 practical exercises. The projects draw inspiration from around the world, from embroidered African Masks to Aboriginal dreamtime lizards and Japanese Bookbinding. * Pretty Patches * For an abundance of drool worthy creative sewing inspiration, look no further than Elizabeth Healey's STITCH, FABRIC & THREAD (Search Press 2017). This 160-page book has over 40 inspirational techniques to learn, from decorative stitches to raised textures like knots, trapunto, cords, pleats, and pinches, drawn threadwork, mola applique, and more. Comprehensive information on threads, colors, and fabrics rounds out the contents, and makes for an easy leap to your own embellished garment and accessory projects. But whether or not you've got an itch to embellish, the photos alone will make this book a treasured resource. - in the Must Haves section of Vogue Patterns. * Vogue Patterns (Aug/Sept 2017) * In this guide, crafter Healey explores embroidery supplies and techniques, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including vintage textiles, street art, textile arts from around the world, nature, and modern art. A variety of stitches and fabrics are used, and her exploration of non-Western embroidery, such as Japanese boro textiles, Indian shisha, and South Asian kantha, will introduce these traditional techniques to a broader audience. The projects serve as an excellent jumping-off point for creative stitchers; Healey's willingness to stitch with just about anything will inspire embroiderers to see the potential in everyday materials. VERDICT Embroiderers are a natural audience for this guide; however, crafters interested in crazy quilting will also find some interesting ideas. * Library Journal USA * Received my copy on Friday, it contains a great range of techniques that I've never seen before. I mainly do cross stitch and make soft toys, but your book has opened my eyes to maybe trying new things .Im especially keen to try patchwork and dying and pleating. Book is very informative and I look forward to moving on to some new ventures ,thanks for giving me the chance . :) -- Mary Strickland * Customer Review * At first glance I thought this book is not for me. How wrong could I be. Its exciting, informative and fun. It has a theme of humour throughout the book. It looks at traditional basic stitches and explores different ways of using them. It asks what is thread? The short answer is anything can be used as thread as long as the material you are sewing into has an open enough weave to accommodate it. If you are looking to take stitching to the next level but don't know how to this is the book for you. It is full of ideas and tips. Using everyday objects as a source it explores ways of using them in stitch. This book is packed full of detail from the history behind some of the stitches to Aboriginal Culture. There is so much in this book it's practical, informative full of fun and the photography is superb. A book that has something for everyone with page after page of ideas. -- Muriel Campbell, Board Chair * Embroiderers Guild *
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About Elizabeth Healey

Elizabeth Healey originally trained as a graphic designer at the London College of Printing, after which she worked in various design groups before defecting to the world of illustrated books. For as long as she can remember she has made things - usually with yarn or cloth, but sometimes with paper and clay. She is particularly interested in utility stitching and tries to use recycled textiles wherever possible, in a way that looks fresh, modern and urban rather than old and fusty. Elizabeth has contributed articles to the following magazines:

Knitting, Making, Crafty, Felt Matters and Pretty Patches.

You can see examples of her work on her blog:
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Rating details

33 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
5 55% (18)
4 30% (10)
3 12% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 3% (1)
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