I started this exercise and found it very difficult to concentrate. It is a straight forward exercise. The point of this exercise is to experiment and practice the different ways of joining straight edges. I have realised how complicated I am and how sometimes in my work I overthink things. In doing this exercise I have come to understand how I always look for other meanings, always reading in between the lines and arriving to my own conclusions. I found that this exercise was straight forward and didn’t give me much scope to overthink or even be very creative. So here it is! I started joining straight edges.

White paper with sellotape. Joining paper with tape is easy as it is easy to control the gaps in between he joining material. This would also work with fabric replacing the tape with leather or strips of fabric and either sawing it on the machine or using a simple running stitch. The overlook of this sample is functional (it does what it’s supposed to) but it’s not aesthetically pleasing. This sample looks like little effort has gone into it but it demonstrates the practical use of tape to join two straight edges.

I followed this exercise by experimenting with a blanket stitch. The blanket stitch worked well in joining the straight edges together and left no gap what so ever in between the paper. This method is strong and works well with fabric, plastic, leather, paper, card and even tin or thin metal like copper sheets. Using blanket stitch can add a decorative edge to any sample, especially when using a bright accent colour.

I experimented some more by using a blind hem stitch. The only thing I found is that using this stitch with thread and paper can cause the thread to tear the paper if not done with care. It would be better to use a sewing machine to get an even and tidier look. Unfortunately my sewing machine is broken at the moment so I can’t experiment on the machine. I have enough evidence in my everyday clothes to know that this method works well with fabric.

This exercise made me look at my wardrobe in more detail and examine how the clothing industry uses stitch to join and construct garments.

Above using an overlocker to join two flush edges of fabric together, it is also a good method to stop the fabric from fraying. Using an overlocker can give a garment a better finish thus adding quality to a garment.

Above: using binding is an excellent way of joining straight edges. This method can also be used with leather and metal. I enjoy that in this case they have used a bright accent colour so that the binding has not just been used in a functional manner but as a decorative one too.

Above: using zips for joining two straight edges is an excellent method as it adds texture and detail but also works to open the two edges to fit with the specific function of the item. In this case it adds detail while also allowing the sleeve to expand.

Above: an example of joining a few panels of wool. In this case they have overlapped the fabric and stitched above the seam. This method gives the item more strength while also making the seam tidier and stoping any chances of the wool fraying.

More examples of different methods of joining straight edges. This time I am using my denim jacket as an example. It’s interesting to see how each joint has different characteristics and are used to arrive at a different look or purpose. A denim jacket is a good example as it has several methods of joining using stitch, buttons and loops And zips, depending on what part of the body it sits. The seams would need to be studied in detail and to be inspected asking questions like: where is the joint? Does it need to be reinforced? Does the joint need flexibility for movement? Does it allow for the fabric to expand? And many more questions that I can’t think of at this time. We all know the stress a pair of denim trousers or a denim jacket is put under; so for that reason the edges of the denim need to be joined in a very practical way while also looking aesthetically pleasing.

Below: other tools that I could use to join straight edges, whether it was metal, fabric, card or plastic I think they would all be successful. The trick would be using the right length.

Leather and glue are not only effective visually but are strong and very practical.

Making a binding for a book. A piece of leather has been carefully cut in size and glued . The book cover has been pierced with holes and a leather lace has been stitched to hold and reinforce the binding. I like this method as it ticks all the boxes; it is fit for purpose plus it is aesthetically pleasing.

Above: using straws and cutting them to size using a similar method than Barbara Cotterel. By threading through the straws and joining them to archive the shape and formation that one desires. This method allowed freedom of movement.

I looked into different stitches and refreshed my knowledge as I didn’t know the names of the stitches in English. It’s interesting how much I take stitching for granted. By doing this exercise it has forced me to analyse them in more detail. Refreshing my knowledge in what they are designed and used for.

More sampling this time using my singer sawing machine in a zig zag motion. In this sample I used a piece of paper to reinforce the joint.

Above: travelling on the plane you realised how they have cleverly used a joint to make a versatile space for a table.

Above: using metal wire to join paper. This sample should probably be in the next exercise joining straight edges with a gap.

another sample using paper clips. The same idea can be executed with safety pins and sawing pins. I like the less controlled look of this method but the down side is that it’s not easy to control the gaps in between the paper unless taking time to measure carefully.

And lastly for now, A robe I made with some liberty fabric. I wanted to combine two different prints so I stitched them together from the inside and then stitched them on top on either side of the seam – this added some reinforcement making the seam stronger.

conclusion

Considering I was uninspired by this exercise to begin with, I have realised how important it is to think about what “join” to use in my work.

The join depends on what media and material I am using and what the sample or work is used for. The joint can be just purely decorative or more often than not it serves a functional purpose. Sometimes I may want a simple joint or even a invisible one as to not distract from the design of the work. I can also use the joint as a way of adding interest to my work, the possibilities are endless!