Friday 2 March 2012

Project 52: Fabric Origami Heart

   This is the first post of my Project 52. I decided a few weeks ago to give it a try, and I also figured it was a good opportunity to create some tutorials, so that's what I've done this week.

   It's a simple thing really. I had some pretty fabric scraps and lots of paper strips, and after posting the tutorial for origami hearts, I figured there was some way I could do it with fabric. There were obvious problems, but I managed around them well enough. Fabric obviously doesn't stay folded the same way paper does, and the edges also fray, but all things considered, it's simple enough.

   The main method for putting the heart together is here, but there are a couple of alterations, detailed in the below image, but I'll talk you through the steps first.

You will need:
Needle + Thread

Method (see below for picture method):
1. Take your fabric and sew it down to the paper. I did it by hand, but it can easily be done with a machine and it would be a lot quicker. You don't need massive sewing skills to do this - I can barely repair a rip.

2. Follow the steps from the original origami paper heart tutorial up to and including step 8.

3. Thread your needle with a nice amount of thread. You won't need lots, only about half a metre at most - but even then you can easily rethread it after a few inches. It's not difficult. The below image shows a white paper heart. This is just as reference for this step. Your actual heart should be covered in fabric and should, in fact, not even show the white paper. The paper is there purely to keep the creases. This whole thing could be done without paper, but I lack the patience to try it without. I also lack a sufficient number of pins.

4. The white paper heart below shows dotted lines. On the right of the heart, they have been dotted along the newest folds. The left shows the same thing but on the back of the flap those folds are on. Thread along these lines. The picture beside the paper heart shows my own fabric heart at this step - the edges are frayed, which obviously shows the need I had for using a paper heart for reference. This image and the second pink fabric heart show the stitchings.

5. After this, that's the sewing done. Continue onto step nine. However, the fabric has thickened the paper, which makes it likely that only one side will fold down well at this point. Try folding down both sides and see which lines up better. From the few hearts I made with fabric, I found that folded one way, the front of the heart was shorter than the back, and the other way the front was longer. This is what you want. Fold it so that the front is longer than the back where the two corners are supposed to meet.

6. Fold the two edges down as in step eleven. You may well notice that the heart still doesn't want to stay closed. What I did at this point was squash it between books. My bookcase is packed with books - so many that I had to start stacking books on top of others, and then more than that that I now have to stack them in front of my other stacks. Fortunately, I have a deep bookcase. I took a nice big hardback book (an atlas, yay) and put the hearts in the middle of it. I made sure that the corners were folded down and that the heart was completed before completely shutting the book and stuffing it back in the book case. The next day, I took it out and it stayed shut, and the corners stayed folded.

7. You can obviously still write a message inside.  You could sew a piece of paper to the inside and write a message on that, you could write a message directly onto the fabric, or you could stop at step 4 so that you've folded the square, draw a light line around the edges of that square, open it back up and embroider a message there instead. I may well try this. Once you've embroidered your message continue on with the other steps on both this tutorial and the original folding and you'll have a lovely sewn piece.

Another way you can help to keep the heart together is by sewing a small popper to the inside of the heart. Just make sure you sew the popper to the shorter corner then match the other part of the popper up first or it probably won't work. I saw that from experience. Also make sure the popper is the right way around.

I may well try this again and embroider a message onto it. I'll post back here if I do it!

And so concludes week one of Project 52. Expect more next Friday.


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