Sewing Tepee Structure and Applique Designs

My progress this week has begun with sewing the tepee structure together whilst also creating more applique designs. I have decided to make as many of these illustrations as possible within the time frames and to then hand sew them onto the final structure so I can arrange them without any pressure.

The process of sewing the tepee canvas together started with attaching the three sides of the structure, making sure I sew along the lines marked to allow for a larger seam allowance. To give the best accuracy it was important that each section fabric was pinned neatly so as the final measurements were the same as the originals. After the three were sewn, I worked on the front panel with the opening which was more complicated as this part of the pattern was split into three sections. The first stage was to sew the top of the two larger sections to the smaller top triangle, making sure the raw edges will appear on the same side of the fabric as the others. This then effectively created the same shape as the other panels and so the fabric needed to be sewn to create a tent. The seams of the opening were also sewn by pinning a fold to disguise the raw edge. After the basic shape was created I thought it was best to trial the fabric on top of the wooden beams before progressing to the finer details.

The testing worked out as expected and the fabric matched the beams and reached the floor so there would be no gaps. This meant that I could hem both the tops and bottoms of the fabric so as to neaten up the design. I needed the hems to be as small as possible so as to not take away too much fabric as the testing stage proved that the measurements were already successful. In the marking stage we allowed for a seam, but when placed onto the beams, it was apparent that the top needed to be double hemmed so as to make sure the side seams wouldn’t crack open. This was a simple process, but took time as there was a lot of fabric to cover and sew. For this section I made sure my stitch length on the machine was 3.0 so as I could sew a further distance in a shorter time. All that is needed now is to press out the seams and iron the fabric before I start to patchwork my illustrations onto the surface.

My illustrations are based on my sketch work, using both the concepts and shapes within the drawing to give inspiration for the collage sections. Applique has allowed me to match fabric colour, pattern and stitching techniques so as I can describe the details in my illustration style through a textile format. My colour scheme consists of autumnal and earthy colours which are also seen in the North American Plains artefacts. I have kept the range of fabrics constant throughout the process so as I can reuse sections of the material within different designs. This creates a link between each narrative and enriches my pallet. Furthermore, the fabrics are all reused and related to natural colouring/patterns to highlight the importance of the land to the Plain community. Buttons will also be sewn onto the outside of the panels to show links between the Plain’s decorations. These buttons are similar to the teeth and shells found in the garments, but also relate back to the technology aspect as ‘button’ is constantly referred to in digital language. It is now necessary to pin the illustrations that I have to the final tepee so as I can see what remaining pace I have and how many more are needed.

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