Category Archives: 2. Drawing with Stitch

PROJECT TWO Drawing with stitch

Exercise 2.3 Drawing with stitch onto paper.


Looking once again at my six chosen drawings I start to think about the overall energy and appearance they portray, I need to translate this energy and feel into stitch, I don’t think this can be achieved by using conventional thread or by using a sewing machine. I want my stitch marks to be fluid, transient, fragile. The language of the lines need to be harsh yet have an undertone of translucent delicacy. The stitch lengths need to be varied, they need to evolve as they work with the papers, I want layers on layers, twists and turns, sparkle and adventure, I want to begin and let the outcome evolve through the unexpected.

Before I begin to sew my substrates I need to choose threads and decide on which papers I feel worthy of moving forward. I have added some of my preliminary sketchbook pages below showing briefly the path I followed to achieve my finished samples.

Playing with stitch shape and form by just scribbling onto little cards.


Adding colour and different surface textures to my initial black and white scribbled stitch ideas really brought them to life. 






After evaluating the successes and some failures of my small stitched samples, I would like this processes now to inform two of my completely new drawings. The first drawing I have chosen is my simple shapes of leaves with dappled backgrounds, there is a feeling of movement and sunlight coming through the trees and this light and movement is one which I would like to inform my first larger sample.


Here are my sketch book ideas leading up to my first finished sample

Very early on I decided I wanted to use the sewing machine to stitch this larger sample piece. I found that I could not achieve the fluidity needed to capture the movement I required to portray. I began experimenting with different widths of zig-zag stitch. As I sewed the thread, caught and tore some of the paper, I think this effect added to the overall success of the finished piece. I took this tatty zig-zag and applied it to my experiment with making leaves. I used tracing paper stitched to a plain paper backing for stability, once I had the outer edge sewn I cut away the middle backing paper to allow the leaves to become translucent before stitching the centre veins.  I then waxed and painted each leaf using a sponge dipped in water colour paint as the paper became wetter it distorted and curled up at the edges, I then screwed the paper up and unscrewed it a few times, ripped away the outer edge and found that I had a really life like leaf! The sheet music incorporated into this drawing is for the sound of the trees when the wind blows through them.


“Hold me to the light, handle me and hear the rustle of Autumn approaching”



Before choosing my second drawing to take forward in this project, I began to play around with layers and stitch ideas using my iPad ( procreate app)

img_7377   img_7378img_7380       img_7381

This ipad drawing I went on to try and capture the same free form style of sketching but using the sewing machine. The needle kept sticking in the paper and distorting the stitches causing a tatty spider like edge to the sewing. I quite like this detail but I am not sure my sewing machine felt the same way.

For my second drawing to develop further I have chosen the collage that I made of my ‘ Tatty old bag’ Here are some of my sketchbook development pages below showing my initially ideas to inform this sample.

I decided to go with my Summer colours from part one and I wanted to continue with the feeling of fragility, The original bag has many layers and textures and a few holes. I wanted the holes to become window.




‘A well traveled bag’

“I am delicate and frail, my holes are windows of time past and places I have been”