Stage 4 Raised and structured surface textures – Tearing, fraying and slashing

‘Tearing, fraying and slashing’ really appealed to me as I love layers and peeling back layers to reveal what’s underneath!  I had a little go at this technique when working towards Assignment 1 and was looking forward to this section of Assignment 3.

I started off with a simple piece.  I used a sample I had prepared when following Jude Hill’s course of a piece coarsely woven cotton basted onto a piece of thin cotton.  I then laid a piece of deep pink cotton and as a top layer a piece of muslin.  I basted all the layers together.  Then I cut through the top layer at intervals and frayed the edges.  Lastly, I added some running stitch to the top layer and pulled some threads out so I could weave a thin strip of the pink fabric through the muslin.

I like the small sample, which because of all the layers looks fragile but is quite solid to hold.


For my next sample, I combined tearing, fraying and slashing with quilting.I used a piece of silk which I had dyed with hibiscus as an experiment and then lay on top pieces of silk kimono.  For my top layer I chose a piece of muslin.  I pinned the three layers together and then hand stitched a grid which produced a quilted effect.  I quite like d the way in which the colours underneath were muted but decided to cut  back a few of the squares to reveal the bright colours beneath.  I cut out a couple of ‘windows, fraying some and then pulled back another one and stitched to form a flap.


I left the piece for a week or so and then had another look – it just didn’t look right.  I decided to start doing some more slashing and fraying and instead of scissors started using a scalpel to cut back the top layer.  After lots of tearing, fraying and slashing the sample ended up looking like this:


Wanting to try another slashing experiment, I took the photo of the peeling paint used in Stage 2 for inspiration


I sandwiched lots of pieces of fabrics between a bottom layer of calico and top layers of red cotton and blue chiffon and pinned them together.  I then machine-stitched rows of wavy lines across the sample.  Using scissors, I cut through all layers except the bottom one, cutting between the stitched lines.  Then I slashed, frayed, tore and scrumpled up the piece to reveal the fabric trapped in the ‘sandwich’.  Although the piece looked a lot heavier than the original photo, I felt it was a useful exercise. I would like to try this again perhaps increasing the space between the lines of stitching so more fabrics can be revealed.  I read that putting a piece such as this through a machine wash can improve the ruffled look!


Whilst at the Knit and Stitch Show, I took a short workshop entitled ‘Slash and Burn’.  We layered three different coloured pieces of chiffon onto a piece of metallic backing and then hand-stitched wavy up and down the sample, adding in small beads.  Then we cut sections of the chiffon layers between the stitching.  Lastly we held the sample upside down over a lit night light so the heat melted sections of the chiffon.  The chiffon immediately started shrivelling up and curling at the edges.  Originally this was intended to be a wrap to go round a candle, hence the metallic backing but I like it as a sample.  It has a vintage look to it and reminds me of a corset. I can see all kinds of applications for this technique in the future – exciting stuff!

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