Monday, March 10, 2014

Crazy Patch Silk Indulgence Process

This past week I have had a focus on crazy patchwork, in particular my Silk Indulgence Crazy Patchwork piece.   
Crazy patchwork is a fabric pieced technique where fabric patches of random shapes are pieced together on top of a foundation fabric. Whilst the piecing can be left as is, embroidery and embellishments are often added to soften and blend the angular patches. The embellishment can be in the form ofmanipulating lace, braids andribbon, notions like beads and buttons are favoured for edges and seams, and a variety of hand embroidered stitches are worked along the seams.  Whilst these crazy patchwork seem crazily put together a lot of time and planning would go into them.
As it has been a long term project that is nearing completion, todays post is to document some of the processes and fabric and notions frequently used with the crazy patch technique.
To begin, you require a foundation fabric. Foundation fabric is the piece that the patchwork fabric is pieced onto. It needs to be a firm weave fabric, usually calico or muslin.
The foundation fabric needs to be cut to the finished size plus a large seam allowance.
Keep in mind that the embroidery and embellishment may shrink the work, so a larger seam allowance may be useful.

The patches of fabric required can be any type of fabric, however the most commonly used are , Cotton, Silks, Satins, and Velvets to name a few.

The fun adventurous part is the Embellishments engaged to adorn the seams and patches. Notions often used are Old doilies and hankies, Ribbons, lace and braids, Embroidery threads, Beads, sequins, buttons, charms, jewelry and trinkets.

The Basic Technique of Piecing a Crazy Patchwork
  • Random fabric patches are stitched onto the foundation fabric.
  • The random fabric patches can be pieced by hand or machine
  • By Hand, the patches are placed with their edges overlapping on the foundation fabric.
  • By Machine, the patches are joined with a sew and flip technique. It is quicker but gives a more angular look than hand piecing. This is where the embroidery and embellishments are good to soften the angles.
Some Tips I have picked up
  • Any fabric can be used for crazy patchwork but there are some points to consider.
  • Choose cottons and easy care fabrics for items that need washing frequently
  • Avoid fabrics that will snag--------for bags etc..
  • When heavily embroidered and embellished work is planned use mostly plain fabrics ---- {so your embroidery doesn’t get lost next to patterned fabric}
  • When little or no embellishment is planned use mostly printed fabrics to add texture and interest.
  • Include doilies, hankies and serviettes.
  • Ribbons, laces and braids can be stitched in as you are piecing or put on later when you are embellishing.
  • Take into account how the finished item will be cleaned: washed, vacuumed or dry cleaned. May be a good idea to attach a cleaning and care label..



  1. Great post Cherie! Your work is so pretty and you've written a really good overview of the art.

    1. Thank you Mary Anne, Crazy Patch is such a fun past time