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Top Design
08-24-2012, 08:15 AM
Post: #1
Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Discussion Board: Top Design
Hey guys-

2 Question I have been pondering in my head for awhile...

stitch rows and negative space. There are 2 different ideas on stitch rows, even and odd. 4 or 5 rows, etc. There is more to it than how many lines you can cram into a design. I was taught or feel odd numbers draw your eye to the design better. Thoughts?

Negative space is as important to a design as filling up areas. The Yin & the Yang so to speak. Deanna, Lisa, and Brian do a great job of this (others as well).My theory is long and won't bore you with it until I can simplify it. Thoughts?
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08-26-2012, 08:11 PM
Post: #2
Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Discussion Board: Top Design
Great Question Wes,
I had never given much thought to this as you have presented it. I went and looked at the boots in my shop and the ones that were most pleasing to my eye were the single row, and four row patterns. You are correct in your concept of negative space, it's sorta like a musicians best notes are often the ones they don't play.

Chad needs to chime in on this.
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08-27-2012, 10:27 AM
Post: #3
Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Discussion Board: Top Design
I am a pursuer of negative space...as elusive as it can be, it is certainly worth more than a passing mention or thought, so thanks Wes. I try to design my topstitch patterns where the design they make in the space where they meet at the sideseam is cool, artistic and provocative. Also, I hardly ever know how many rows I will end up with, I just stop when it's right. I do however draw the pattern with a width in mind. In other words, 1/2 equals 8-10 rows. So, knowing that tells me how close I can get the pattern to itself. All in all, seeing the negative space is kind of hard to explain, or put your finger on. It can be equally hard to teach, but when treated artistically, or on purpose, it can certainly help separate your work from simply being craft...to much more refined art. As I said, my chase continues.
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08-28-2012, 06:04 AM
Post: #4
Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Discussion Board: Top Design
The rule of thirds has a lot to do with a stitch pattern in my opinion. Stitch patterns are a simple design, by breaking the top into 9 sections, you make sure the balance is correct with stitch and the blank space within and around. At that point your eye is brought in to the pattern itself and the eye sees it as a whole. Both the negative and positive space. I think it is a gift you are born with. A lot of photographers have it, they call it an "eye". Japanese art focuses on this with its simplicity.

Since I am new to the world of bootmaking I am still working on getting my stitches tight, so I focus on row numbers mainly, if I kept going until it looked right it would take all day and end up looking like a jumbled mess.
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08-28-2012, 08:42 AM
Post: #5
Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Discussion Board: Top Design
I agree Wes, but I must tell you that as opposed to standard photography, we as bootmakers are dealing with 3D, a cylinder shaft with many different idiosyncrasies. The rule of thirds still works, but predominately on a 2D plane. I too agree that it is a gift, as is topstitching itself. I have done up to 21 rows of stitching before, for no other reason but to challenge myself and in the end, I still know I can get the rows tighter and more consistent. As far as keeping going til it looks right, it really is more about flexibility and the evolution of the art on the canvas. For example, you've put 8 rows on, but the overall looks still lacks something...so you add one last "super" contrasting color to the inside, or outside, just to give it that pop!



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08-28-2012, 06:01 PM
Post: #6
Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Discussion Board: Top Design
The 3D challenge is new to me and makes a huge difference in comparison to 2D. I rather enjoy it and love the way a design comes alive with the curves of a boot. Color also plays a huge part in it. To know in which order to put color though is tricky until you are experienced. What seems right in your head doesn't always work out on leather. Keeping stitches tight also is dependent on your experience with the push/pull of the top with a roller foot. The simplicity of Chad's designs completely fill the space properly. They flow well with his color choices. Experience is a killer thing to have. What's in my head is slowly coming to leather. Mistakes are costly and I can't find a thread erasure.
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08-29-2012, 08:16 AM
Post: #7
Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Discussion Board: Top Design
Once you think you have the colors figured out, sew a few inches on scrap to see how it will look.
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02-16-2015, 03:06 PM
Post: #8
RE: Top Design
Been stitching rows today and wondering.... I stitch from outside to the inside. Some stitch from the inside to the outside. Both work but each gives a different look. I am left handed, like some structure in my life, wonder if one or both of these is the reason. I tried both ways at first, but ended up going the out to in route unless stitching an inlay needing double rows.

Maybe I got to much time on my hands but my mind wanders when stitching. Whats the poll?
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02-16-2015, 08:43 PM
Post: #9
RE: Top Design
Wes,
Most of the patterns I use and design are sewn outside to inside. When you look at a boot from the side, your eye is drawn to the design as it reflects in a mirror image to the side seam. The more rows you sew, the greater the distortion of the pattern. The outside rows are perfect and that is what the eye see's, the inner rows not so perfect.
But it does depend on the pattern, many of the early patterns where designed to be sewn from the inside out, using long tight flourishes that can only be achieved by sewing from the inside out.
So, the bottom line is the pattern dictates how it's sewn, but outside in seems to be the common way.
That said, I have a lot of stitch designs from the 30's and they are very tough, as if no attention was paid to how difficult they were to sew!
Lee
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02-17-2015, 09:09 AM
Post: #10
RE: Top Design
Very interesting Lee. I was looking from a psychology stand point. Finally getting to more rows under my belt.
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