Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The past couple of days, I've been busy designing a very "special fairy" for the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse, Inc. of Milwaukee, WI. In a previous post I showed several of the stages of her creation. Here you will see some of the steps taken to create her silk leaf, which she will be laying on. The leaf is entirely designed from silk tussah fabric. Tussah silk is a silk derived from wild moths, whose main diet is oak leaves. The amount of tannin in the leaves determines the natural color of the silk. It can be anywhere from a very light color to a darker tan. The photo below shows the leaf after I have sewn and stuffed it with acrylic fiberfill. The stem is also made from silk, and is stuffed with fiberfil using the alligator forceps you see in the photo. Without this little tool.....I wouldn't be able to stuff any of my creations. I have them in several sizes...couldn't do without them!
Here I am finishing up the stuffing of the stem of the leaf. I insert an inner wire armature so that after the entire leaf has been painted, I twist the stem around a wooden knitting needle to make it curl. After the leaf is lightly stuffed with fiberfil, I top-stitched a pattern into the leaf using the smallest stitch on my sewing machine. After that, I insert the stem into the end of the leaf and hand sew it onto the leaf. Now it is time to hand-paint the leaf using silk fabric paints by Dye-na-Flow by Jacquard. This is one of my favorites products as it is so easy to apply and it comes in a fairly wide range of colors. It is thin, like a dye, but is actually a "fabric paint". I've been using it for years, and it works so well for the "hand-painting" I do on my leaves, and fairy faces and fabrics. I've also applied it to fabrics using an eye dropper for some really unique, one-of-a-kind designs. When painting it onto the silk leaf, you have to work fairly fast, so that the colors don't dry and leave unwanted lines.

I painted the entire leaf using one color of green, and then shaded it by using two other colors of a lighter green and yellow. The leaf is not outside drying in the sun! Once it is completely dry it will be sprayed with a matte finish sealer by Krylon, to protect the colors.

The last step before the "fairy" will be finished, is to create a tiny silk butterfly that she will be holding in her hand. Be sure to stop back and see the completely finished fairy....! She is beautiful!

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