Finishing A Textile Art Piece

Evonne had a comment on “Poppies – Conundrum” with questions about the dimensions I use for bordering/framing a textile art piece. A couple of months ago I created instructions describing how I do the bordering/framing for the thread painting class I was teaching. I replied to Evonne providing a link to the instructions. I know most people don’t read the comments so here’s the link to how I finish a textile art piece:

creating borders

This is how Tropical Flowers looked when it was finished – a 1/2″ inner border, 1/8″ piping in contrasting colour (which I made), a wide outer border with mitred corners.

Tropical Flowers – Finished!

The process requires some careful measuring, first to establish the dimensions of the thread painted piece, then for determining the positions of the inner border, the piping, and the outer border. I find a heat erasable pen useful but it will disappear when you press each element so be prepared to have to redraw your lines. Drawing the lines in pencil works as well and the lines don’t iron out but be careful because you do have to stitch over those pencil lines or they will show and they don’t erase easily.

I also have found instructions for doing a “hidden binding” or a “pillowcase turn” to finish the textile art piece. I have used both depending on the piece, although most recently I’ve been doing a hidden binding finish since it keeps the muslin backing from showing when the piece is hanging on the wall.

Poppies – Conundrum

I have quite a bit of thread painting to do on the poppies – but I started thinking ahead to finishing the piece. I added the silk “matte” and a red piping to enclose the focus on the poppies themselves. I’ve spent quite a lot of time going through my stash, I’ve done it 3-4 times so far, looking for a bordering fabric that will tie the whole together and I’m coming up empty handed.

Conundrum – How To Border/Frame This Piece

I’ve laid a range of fabrics against the piece – black, dark grey, tan, light grey, blue, different shades of green, even shades red and peach – nothing looks quite right. Pale colours darken the poppies; dark colours make the whole seem brighter, but nothing I have seems to work to enhance the image. Everything seems to detract in some way.

Thursday a couple of friends and I made an excursion to Avonport Fabrics – an hour away from Halifax and there I found the Windham “Uncorked” fabrics in a variety of shades including this dark green. In the shop I thought I’d found “the right match” but when I got it home and cut strips I’m not so sure. The fabric blends the many shades of green in the image but it seems to overwhelm it. I’ve cut the fabric for a finished 3″ border/frame – perhaps it should be narrower – say just under 2 inches? That’s why I’ve got the black/tan/greenish fabric outstretched below – trying to see whether the darker fabric would liven up the image.

It’s a conundrum – I plan on thread painting the flowers with orange/peach shades to lighten the poppies and I may have to do more stitching within the greens, as well. Perhaps it’s just that green isn’t a favourite colour of mine and the contrast with the red of the poppies is too “Christmassy”.

At the moment I just don’t know what to do about framing this piece. Frustrating, because I want to get it done and move on to whatever is next….