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Young artists go mola.

Young artists go mola Using a reverse applique technique, the Cuna Indians of Panama make fabric paintings called molas out of layers of colorful material. Well suited to simple designs, the method offers a delightful way to immortalize a budding artist's work by turning it into a throw pillow.

Basically, the Cuna cut shaped holes in an upper layer of fabric to reveal the color of a lower layer. While a complex mola may have more than eight layers highlighted with embroidered detail, these pillows have only three layers.

Choose childrens' drawings with bold forms similar to those on the animal pillows at right. They were designed by Roxi Alderete of Fremont, California.

Selecting the materials. For the front of the pillow, choose lightweight, tightly woven cotton or cotton-polyester blends. Look for bright, solid, contrasting colors. The back of the pillow may be a slightly heavier fabric (but remember that to finish the pillow you need to sew through four fabric layers as well as the piping). Size the pillow to the drawing--or decide pillow size first and have the drawing made to scale.

For each pillow, you'll need:

* 3 pieces cotton (preshrink, if necessary) or cotton-polyester, all equal size

* 1 backing piece of equal size

* Piping to coordinate with a top color, (enough for pillow perimeter)

* Embroidery cotton

* Polyester stuffing

* Dressmaker's carbon paper (white)

* Tracing paper sized to drawing

You'll also need a sewing machine, small sharp scissors, a needle, straight pins, transparent tape, thread to match fabric, and an embroidery hoop, if available.

Assembling the pillow. Start by tracing the outline of the drawing on the tracing paper and follow steps 1 through 5 below. When cutting through the top layer, make a tiny, shallow snip first to avoid cutting the layers beneath. On curves, the tighter the arc, teh closer the clips on the seams should be.

Make the applique stitches about 1/4 inch apart--closer around curves. When you have completed both layers. use the embroidery hoop and three strands of embroidery cotton for adding details. Press the fabric to create a smooth surface.

Baste the piping between the right sides of he front and back fabric layers, aligning the raw edges of piping and fabric for a 1/4-inch seam; leave a 4- to 5-inch opening for the stuffing. Using a zipper foot, machine-stitch the basted area. Turn the pillow right side out and stuff it to the desired firmness. Stitch the opening closed by hand.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:fabric painting
Date:Nov 1, 1986
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