Zen and The Art Of Fabrics
When Gail Vaughn teaches her students to work with fabrics
for their miniature projects, she elevates her lessons to
a level that goes beyond simple explanations.
Her teaching is peppered with phrases like "conquering"
and "taming" fabric so that it doesn't "get
the better of you." To her, fabric isn't the inanimate
object it appears to be. It's got a life of its own which
you must understand and triumph over before you can work with
You can experience Gail's teaching methods, and learn her
techniques for conquering and taming fabric, in "Working
With Fabric," Volume 20 of the multi-part Master Miniaturists
Video Instructional Series. Gail's work has been featured
in leading miniature magazines, as well as in Hobby Builder's
Gail begins her lessons by telling the story of making her
first dollhouse and finding that the fabric "just wouldn't
"I was highly insulted those little bitty pieces of
fabric could get the best of me," she says. And so she
developed techniques that would let her defeat them every
time... techniques she shares freely in this video.
"I want you to relax and enjoy fabrics," says Gail.
"They aren't your enemy." These are words you'd
expect to hear at a meditation class, not from a Master Miniaturist.
But Gail loves her work, and she wants you to love it too.
And through this Zen-like approach to teaching, she encourages
you to "open your mind." Why is this approach so
effective in mastering her teachings? Because, as Gail says,
"there's no right or wrong way to work with fabric. There's
only the way that works for you."
As in past volumes of The Master Miniaturists Video Instructional
Series, "Working With Fabric" begins with a detailed
look at the tools and materials you'll need to create all
the projects demonstrated. Included is a technique for using
wallpaper and fabric from your own living room to make a miniaturized
version of it. You'll also learn how to choose fabrics and
what to look for when choosing colors.
The first technique you'll learn is called the Controlled
Look. Here you'll create draperies and bed ruffles using Pretty
Pleaters. Learn how to make drapes look natural, as though
gravity, dirt, and dust controlled their fall.
Next you'll learn how to make drapes without the guides for
a looser look. It's here that Gail helps you answer the question
that most miniaturists ask at one time or another: "To
glue or not to glue?" In other words, should you glue,
or sew your fabric together? She'll help you make that decision,
and if you decide to sew, will help you determine whether
to hand-sew or use a sewing machine.
From here you'll move on to Window Toppers and Cording...
the part Gail says is "the most fun." This is where
your creativity comes in. In this section Gail shares information
on how to use existing patterns in "How-To" books
to help you design your drapes. This bit of knowledge will
"free your mind," she says, so you can apply your
Step-by-step instructions from cutting, to pinning, shaping,
and setting the folds into place with a steam iron are covered
But by far the most unique section of this video comes during
the lesson on creating Bolsters. It's here that Gail uses
a most unusual object to teach you what she calls "a
fun way to create a Bolster." We won't give it away by
telling you what that object is, but you'll never look at
that most common object in the same way ever again!
Gail follows with detailed instructions for creating pillows,
including a technique that simulates someone having sat in
a chair and recently having stood up. You'll learn how to
construct and cover a valance, and all about puddling, a technique
where the drapes fall out and spread onto the floor.
You'll also learn how to drape fabric over a chair, create
Caf˙ Curtains, Fringing, and how to work with synthetics and
fabrics you couldn't normally work with.
Gail concludes her teaching with illustrations of all the
finished projects demonstrated on the video. And she ends
with this very enlightening statement: "There is no fabric
god out there telling you 'no, no, no.' You're only limited
by your imagination.
So, what are you waiting for? Meditation time is over! It's
time to "Work With Fabric!"