Tag Archives: fabric art

Cambodian textiles


As a fabric and textile junkie- and just having returned from Cambodia- this book, Pictorial Cambodian Textiles by Gill Green, grabbed me and pulled me in. Unfortunately, you’d probably have to find a museum in Cambodia to see this stuff in real life, I didn’t see a drop of it on my visit (this whole planet is turning into a ‘Made in China’ experience). Have a look, get inspired and make something of your own.
I’m happy to report- there is an Institute of Khmer Traditional Textiles in Siem Reap, may tradition and culture live on!
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table running experiments

Well, this is what I have to show for myself today… what I thought would take about an hour to finish ended up taking me all day. No surprise really, isn’t that the way most things go (aside from naps on warm sunny beaches and weekends which always pass too quickly)?

I added a piece of thin batting under the pieced table runner face and a solid piece of fabric (orange with daisies) to the back then machine quilted it all together with a chevron pattern and some fluorescent orange thread (the only aspect of the project I was really happy about).

Very time consuming machine quilting for such a small table runner, lots of shoving folds of fabric out of the way, getting poked with straight pins and muttering bad words.

Black binding finishing it off, here’s what the flip side looks like.

I sound grumpy about this whole project but I think it turned out OK in the end- it lays flat, corners are square… that should be a sign of success right?
Well, here’s the real reason I’m grumpy:
I started out on this table runner, I thought swirls would look nice on the solid colors. I used a tan upholstery weight thread which basically gives you a thicker, more obvious stitch. I sewed straight seams ‘in the ditch’ in 3 or 4 places to hold all the layers together, which worked out just fine until I went to get fancy with the circles.

If you go slowly, the top (needle side) stitching will always look nice and the thicker thread will move nicely through the machine. But every now and again (and for no apparent reason) this mess (above) would happen on the bobbin side. Ugh! Not OK on this rad vintage fabric (I was loathe to even put scissors to) also meant to be used as a front side.

Then, I ran out of the tan upholstery thread, you can sew through an entire spool in 5 minutes or 10 feet, whichever comes first. I can’t decide if I should call it a FAIL and pick all the stitching out and start over or set it aside until I get more thread and finish the swirls then.
Time to walk away and think about it later. It’s the weekend- cut loose and have a fantastic Cinco de Mayo!