I'm finally giving up on my stack of skinny jeans! (If I ever lose enough weight to fit back into my size twos, then I'll want to reward myself with a new pair anyway.) The multiple shades of worn and unworn blue denim will form a happy family with my block print fabrics, living side by side in a patchwork quilt. I'm making it as a gift for my mom, who loves gardening, so I decided it should have a botanical theme.
With that in mind, I select the block print fabrics that have nature related patterns, and cut them into neat little squares. I also cut the skinny jeans into neat little squares - satisfying! Then, I assemble the fabrics checkerboard style and move them around until I feel a good balance. I sew the squares of each row together, then iron them flat. Next, I sew the rows together, and iron the entire quilt top.
For the backing, I use a dark denim. I like to cut the backing about 2" larger than the top on all sides so I can use it to bind the quilt. I layer the top over the batting, and both of these layers over the backing. After pin basting, I tie the corners with embroidery thread. To finish up, I fold the backing up and over the top of the quilt, then sew it into place.
Stay tuned for pics of the finished quilt!
I recently made a baby quilt out of one of my block print illustrations. It's neat to think about all the stages involved in making something like this. I list them here so you can get a peek behind the process...
1. It begins with an idea...
2. ...which I then sketch out on tracing paper.
3. After refining the sketch to a point where I'm satisfied with every detail,
4. I transfer the final drawing onto a block of wood.
5. At this point, I carve the image.
6. Once the carving is complete, I ink the surface of the block...
7. ...and print it onto paper.
8. When the ink on the paper is dry, I scan the block print image into my computer,
9. make refinements in Photoshop,
10. and save it as a JPEG file.
11. Over at my Spoonflower shop, I upload the JPEG,
12. select the amount and type of fabric I want the file to be printed on,
13. and purchase it.
14. A short time later the fabric is shipped and arrives on my doorstep,
15. at which point I lay it over batting, which I lay over the backing cloth.
16. I pin the three layers together,
17. free motion quilt it on my sewing machine,
18. and bind the edges.
Below, my favorite thing about printmaking:
I go with the blue for my quilt top and have the image digitally printed onto KONA cotton at Spoonflower.
See the quilt making process in this blog post tutorial.
See finished quilt below!
I haven't had too much experience with stamping on fabric, but I do have experience with relief printmaking. In general, I prefer to explore a process (as long as it's fairly simple) before learning the proper way to do it. That way, I'm driven by what works for the specific needs of my project, with the added result of keeping my mind open to exploring alternative routes. Here's how I went about making my hand-stamped fabric...
These photos may look familiar to you if you follow me on Instagram. I had posted them a little while back as I was printing them, but here they are all together - a happy family. I had carved the stamps from rubber, and printed on cotton fabric with permanent, archival ink. Still deciding what to sew with these. Each piece is about 8" square, so whatever I make, it needs to be on the smaller side. Suggestions?