Wanna create your very own fabric line? Sure you do! Holly DeGroot explains how…
We all love keeping up with the beautiful new fabric lines coming out all the time, but I’ve been seeing more and more talented quilters and sewists creating their own fabrics, too! Dyeing, block printing, stenciling, screenprinting, digital printing and painting are all amazing ways to take a blank piece of fabric and make it your own.
There are lots of methods to dye fabric and it’s really fun to experiment with! You can use natural or chemical dyes, such as Procion dyes, both with great results. It takes a little practise and tweaking to get the hang of it, and my best advice for dyeing fabric is to be open to whatever you end up with! Rather than having a particular shade of pink that you just absolutely have to end up with, be happy with whatever pink decides to happen that day! This makes the process a lot more enjoyable, especially when you’re just starting out. There are several great books to guide you through the process, including Malka Dubrawsky’s book, Color
Your Cloth, and the new book by Kristine
Vejar, The Modern Natural Dyer.
You can make a bundle of your own hand-dyed fabrics and piece them together like you would any other quilt. Commercially available white-on-white fabrics are really useful for this method, since the white ink will still show up when you dye the fabric another color. You can also try dip- dyeing, ice dyeing or shibori techniques to make your own prints.
Stenciling is so simple, you’ve probably already done it before. All you need is a stencil, stipple brush, paint and fabric. This is a great method to start out with and practise creating your own designs.
Block Printing is a great, easy way to play with designing your own fabric! Carve your own block with just a few supplies and transfer it to fabric, creating the repeat by hand. The imperfections created by this process only add to the beauty of the finished product!
Screenprinting is another method that you can use at home and it allows you to make multiples of your designs quicker than block printing. It does take some additional supplies though, and an exposure unit for creating the screens. You
Get your creative juices flowing and transform your fabric with stenciling, block printing, screenprinting, digital designing or painting. Why not try one with a group of crafty friends? can build a unit yourself or purchase already burned screens from a local screenprinting company.
If you want to try your hand at designing fabric digitally, Spoonflower is a great place to start! There may be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to design programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, but the help section of the Spoonflower website (or the new Spoonflower Handbook!) will walk you through the process. You can sell your own fabric in your shop, use it to create your own finished items, or share your designs in the Spoonflower shop so that others can order their own fabric with your designs.
Painting fabric by hand is another method of making your own designs and one I find especially therapeutic! You can use fabric paint – such as Jacquard Textile Color, which gives the fabric almost a dyed effect as the paint penetrates the fabric – or use screenprinting ink if you want the design to sit on the surface. You can even make a beautiful wholecloth quilt, just by painting yardage with an interesting design!
All of these techniques take some practise to find what works for you. Play around, make a mess and just enjoy the process at first! With some trial and error, you’ll soon be creating your own beautiful fabrics to use in your sewing projects. You might just find a new passion, too!
In addition to those listed above, there are several books on the market right now that explain the process of using most of these methods. Here are a few that I have personally found helpful: Beyond Cotton by Krista Fleckenstein Stamp Stencil Paint by Anna Joyce
Screen Printing at Home by Karen Lewis Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing and
Design by Laurie Wisbrun
A Field Guide to Fabric Design by
Here are some Instagrammers to follow for inspiration on making your own fabric! @annajoycedesign
PLAY AROUND, MAKE A MESS AND JUST ENJOY THE PROCESS! WITH SOME TRIAL AND ERROR, YOU’LL SOON BE CREATING YOUR OWN BEAUTIFUL FABRICS TO USE IN YOUR SEWING PROJECTS.
Tie dyeing is an age-old method of personalising your fabric – and it’s fun!