Today I bring you the making of this:
Yes, it's yet another graph paper journal. But pretty different, right? This gift is for someone who prefers designs to be simple, with texture. I thought I might overwhelm her if I let my scraps talk me into another improv pieced journal, so I decided to do some experimenting with the guidance of Stitch Magic by Alison Reid.
This book is all about modern texture: pleats, pintucks, folding, smocking, etc. It's something I've had on my wishlist forever, and I just got it the other week! I figured that if I don't go ahead and try something from it right away, I may never have the guts or inspiration to do so, you know? So the stars aligned for a fun little project.
Here's the book's inspiration page for pleats. Those little white knife pleats secured by red hand stitching looked plenty doable. The instructions in Stitch Magic are definitely brief - just a paragraph or so to explain each pleat variation, but what it may lack in play-by-play steps, it makes up for in inspiring photographs and projects!
To begin, I pieced together a large amount of solid green scraps. I learned that pleats eat up lots of fabric, so I needed 3 times the amount of the desired finish fabric length. Next, I added water soluble pencil marks as pleat guides, with 1" even spacing. To make each knife pleat, I finger pressed/pinched along the length of each line, folded from the top of the fabric and added a million pins. Really, a million! I mean, pinning this took over an hour. Using an iron could have been faster (or not), but I wanted a handmade, slightly irregular look, which I hope will appeal to my friend.
The next morning I used pearl size 8 thread to hand stitch across at 1.5" intervals. Again, I marked my stitch lines with pencil as a guide. I know that my stitches aren't precisely straight. It's hard, especially without being able to stretch the work in an embroidery frame. The solid wall of pins prevented that!
Don't you love the finished texture? I was almost in awe that something so different and unusual and unique is so incredibly simple, if time-consuming to make. If you like these knife pleats, don't be a bit intimidated. Just go for it! There are no tricks, I promise!
I think this is my favorite journal yet. I hope she loves it!