Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Print your own fabric............printing, painting, bleaching

Well here it is again..........This is the post that caused a few problems earlier this week but since I don't give up easily I am trying it once more. Hopefully, without any glitches this time.

Sometimes you just can't find exactly what you want. Sometimes we have to "settle" but if you only need a small amount for a project then why not create a fabric to suit your needs?
The last couple of years I have entered a piece into the "Wee" Quilt Challenge. This challenge requires the use of plaids in the making of your miniature creation. Most often I want several very small pieces and either don't want to purchase a lot of plaids or find it difficult to get the plaid in the colour I want along with the scale necessary to be effective so I have enlisted the aid of my computer and inexpensive ink jet printer. The plaid used for the "hills" and the thistle in the piece shown above were created on my computer.
First I spend a little time "creating" the plaid I want, this usually involves scanning or photographing a plaid and then manipulating it on the computer. Change the size, colour and value to get exactly what you are looking for
This can apply to any fabric print you already have in your stash. In one case I had fabric with print and scale I wanted but needed a totally different colour and hue. Not only does the use of the computer allow you to acquire the look you are after but also guarantee a "one of a kind" finished piece.


I have been quite successful using Bubble Jet Set and Bubble Jet Set rinse. Just follow the directions on the bottles.
Most recently I was working on a piece and I could not come up with quite the right shade of blue but needed about a fat quarter (a little large for using the printer) so I decided to try paint. Paint is quicker and cleaner than dye plus you can see exactly what your finished colour will be right from the start. In this case I wanted a little extra "movement" so I chose a tone on tone print with the intention of using the reverse side. I created the colour I wanted by mixing my paints and diluting with water, then I wet my pre-washed piece of fabric, squeezed it until it was just damp and then immersed it into the fabric much the way you would with dyes. I continued to move the fabric about while "squishing" it so that the paint would settle in different spots and create random lines.
Here you can see what the original piece of fabric looked like, the right and wrong sides after painting. I let it dry completely and pressed with a dry iron. It worked great!
Now back to the plaids. I am currently working on a piece for the 2009 "Wee" Quilt Challenge……….(sorry no sneak previews just yet) The fabric I chose for the back looked like a good candidate for binding as well, but being a batik I wasn't sure just how well it would blend with some of the plaids on the front……..no problem I just drew a few lines……well lots of lines actually using a fine tipped fabric pen and created a plaid batik. I am quite pleased with the result.
When working on Earthbound I had exactly what I wanted for the outer border but could not quite find the right piece for the inner border. Believe it or not, the inner and outer borders are from the same piece of fabric. I simply took a small piece of that dark green and bleached it to remove some colour, what you see as the inner border is the result. Is that cool or what?
So if you are not completely happy with the fabrics you are using, get creative…….not only can you create and print your own, there are lots of ways to add, remove or change colours in existing fabrics. All it takes is a little imagination and not being afraid to experiment.

1 comment:

sewnut said...

Great tips, thanks.

Copyright Jill Buckley