My Material Life

Hand-Sewn Silk Flower

This is a great trick to have up your sleeve. I found it on the Threads magazine site when I was searching for my favorite article on sewing knits for you. Just as I was missing the magazine as I’d remembered it from the past, I found something really cool from Kenneth D. King. I didn’t realize he was a contributor. I took a class with him back in the 90s in Los Altos and later bought his book called Cool Tricks (recently updated with a new title, Cool Couture). I was so inspired when I saw these instructions here yesterday that I decided to make my own flower last night (that’s it above). Since seeing Kenneth’s name takes me back to the 90s, I guess it’s fitting that I used some leftover silk dupioni from a skirt I made for a brother-in-law’s fancy Manhattan wedding in 1996.

I still have that skirt and loved making it. I remember during the time when I was sewing it – maybe just falling asleep or waking up – I’d think about it and this feeling of happiness would wash over me. The only problem was that with an overdose of silk and pastel shades in the top and wrap that I also made to wear with the skirt to the wedding I ended up looking like a rainbow sherbet ice cream cone.

That’s my first issue of Threads from December 1987/January 1988. Can you believe those gloves? What a great photo. Now Threads is devoted to sewing, but it used to cover a variety of textile arts from around the world. It’s still a high quality publication though, and now that I know that it’s Kenneth’s work on the cover of the current issue I just might have to pick up a copy.


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