Exercise 2.4 Developed and composed Samples


Sample 1

Line drawings – Dorset button

I have selected my drawings taken from the Dorset button on the cotton bust bodice.

I have carried out some research about the history and how to make these buttons.  This is recorded in my sketchbook.

A Dorset button is made from a ring of metal which is covered with buttonhole stitch and then the middle is constructed by laying thread over the outside of the ring and secured in the middle with a cross stitch.  The center is then made by back stitching around the centre spokes.  There seem to be different designs even in the original buttons (seen below) and there are some beautiful modern ones on pinterest.

images of original old Dorset buttons from pinterest

I started to look at what buttons are used for – closing an opening in a garment sometimes with a decorative element.  You push the button through an opening, one made especially for the button to enable the garment to fit close or be closed up.

I have experimented with the idea of the half hidden button as it is pushed through the opening, the button hole.  This then developed to ‘two sides to every story’, the part you see and the part you don’t or how something is portrayed which depends on someones point of view or life experience.

Details from sketchbook initial ideas
Initial experiments recorded in my sketchbook
Experimenting with machine sewing the tracing paper
Experimenting with different size circles

I had originally thought that I would cover the card circles with button hole stitch in an ecru cotton perle as the sample in my sketch book but I preferred the texture of the cardboard after partially peeled off on layer of the card leaving an interesting texture.  I played around with different layouts of the circles on the tracing paper until I felt I had a balanced, interesting, not in a straight line, obvious design.

Experimenting with layout and sizes of circles

I discovered that the tracing paper tore quite easily so I stitched the outer edge on my sewing machine and then made a ‘button hole’ in response to the position that I required for the card circles.  This was successful and prevented any unwanted rips also knowing that I would be hand sewing the circles in place.  After machining I gently crumpled up the paper to get the scrunched up surface that I wanted and inserted the card circle buttons half through their paper buttonholes. I then backed this with a sheet of A3 plain white paper.

Final placement and buttonholes made in tracing paper

Using ecru cotton perle thread I stitched the buttons through the tracing paper and white paper backing on one half of the button and under the tracing paper just into the backing paper on the other half.  I used a long straight stitch to mimic the construction of the spokes of the Dorset button. I then used a silver rayon thread and twisted this around the spoke stitch on the visible side and added some beads made from shells and seed beads to embellish the centre of the button.

Work in progress


Close up of button

I like that the tracing paper obscures and blurs half the button and the embellishment is only on the emerged half of the button.

Sample 2

I have selected the study of the Borage flower using Inktense pencils, which is a drawing of a single flower.  This image is colourful, vibrant and has a strong shape.


I like the shape of the individual flower and enjoyed manipulating paper in exercise 2.2 and had an idea that this may create an interesting combination with stitching.

Rough drawing of Borage flower cut into black paper

My initial idea was to cut the flower shapes into black card which combined with some stitching in the vivid colours would give a pleasing result.

Selecting the colours from the drawing

However I always have an idea but can’t actually picture an outcome.

Experimenting with hand and machine stitching

I tore a piece of stiff black paper to just larger than A4 and played around with how big I wanted the flowers to be, one large one or a few smaller ones.  How did I want the stitching to be, hand or machine?

Experimenting with machine zig zag stitch on black paper
Smaller flower shapes and cardboard template

After much deliberation I decided to have smaller flower shapes cut out in reference to the experiments in exercise 2.2 where they cover the paper and extend off the paper. To give the black card a bit more surface texture I rubbed a large stone on the surface whilst the card was on a rough concrete floor, this broke the surface of the card with random puncture marks.

Experimenting with hand stitching and cutting the paper shapes I decided to use the sewing machine to create petal shaped arcs of zig-zag stitching in the colours identified from the original drawing.  Experiments proved it was also better to cut the shapes after stitching, as machining the cut paper resulted in bits being torn off accidently.

After the machine stitching I used a card stencil to draw on the flower shapes and cut just the petals with a sharp knife along with any stitching.  I really liked the outcome my only reservation was that not all the flowers had stitching on them.  Stitching on quite thick paper on a sewing machine is quite tricky and you have to be careful not to break the needle or damage the machine in the process.

Overview of finished piece
Close up of cut flower motif and machine stitching