I thought I would answer those who asked how I burn my silk petals and leaves. I have to credit my dear friend and mentor, Victoria Adams Brown, for introducing me to the technique. I took a class on the small Victorian bag pictured here. She hand-dyed the beautiful silk and we cut wings for the butterfly and burned the edges with candles.
The class was in Omaha, quite a few years ago, and I've been experimenting ever since. I've used matches, butane fire starters, textile burning tool and the soldering iron pictured here. All of the above are very hot so please use caution.
You can trace and cut out a leaf design like the grape leaf on the left or freehand a leaf. I've used the soldering iron pictured and burned the outside edges. It gives a stiffness to the leaf that allows it to hold it's shape when stitched down. I like to use a back stitch or tiny feather stitch in green or gold.
If you push up a tiny gather as you're stitching the leaf in place it will give an additional dimension to the leaf.
In the picture below I've used the grape leaf along with 4mm silk ribbon French knots, beads, and tendrils. The second picture is a section of my ArtBra design for 2007. The leaves were hand-dyed and then highlights were added with a paint brush. I really enjoyed making this bra. I hand-dyed the silk for the grapes as well. They were stuffed with fiberfill and then sewn together with beads. This allowed them to hang as clusters. This particular cluster was stitched to the left cup of the bra.
I currently design for Artemis/Hanah Silks and will soon have four designs published using their beautiful silks. Two of these use the burning technique shown here. I had the pleasure of demonstrating my rose design at the Houston International Quilt Market this year.