Hand Printed Fabric – a bit more info

You know how sometimes you get an idea and you know, you just *know*, with an overwhelming truth, that it’s the right thing. Well, I got that about the hand printed fabric.

I had been feeling rather overwhelmed with possible ideas for the Hand Printed Fabric Swap, especially as Marilla has done such a great job of providing inspiration. They’re all such good ideas, but none of them was particularly standing out as being what I wanted, so as usual I had to take the ideas out of my head and put them down on paper (or at least, electrons), where I could pin them down and control them. I started trawling the net for images for an inspiration board.

To cut a long story short, this image from Devra (Puu’s Door of Time) was the starting point for the thought that turned into The Idea.

Image ganked shamelessly (well slightly shamefully, I don’t want Devra to think I’m too blasé about these things) from Puu’s Door of Time

It may not seem like so much of a big starting point, but there was something about it that was drawing me. Possibly it was the blocky shape of the print (and I was thinking “I can make a block print”), possibly it was the floralness of the print (and I’d been thinking all along about making that print a floral, because, duh, Floral!) But in the end it was the little bees that are flitting between the blocks of floral that did it for me. All at once it came to me with that Oh! Oh!!! Ohhh!!!!!!! feel. One of my dance friends, Candi, had a green costume that she called her Daisy Lawn costume. It had started life as a plainish green glittery costume, but she blinged it up with a ton of silk daisies and a few ladybird beads. It was the thought of ladybirds that clinched it.  I suddenly knew was going to be my printed fabric.

The daisy lawn costume

The daisy lawn costume – I’m really sorry to Candi, I wish I could have found a more glam performance photo, but this Trying On pic was the only one I could find of the Daisy Lawn. I’ve blurred her face, to try and preserve her Diva status.

So that’s the thing that has become my prime inspiration for this project. It’s not going to look anything like that, but this is the Starting Off Point. I just hope now that it will become something that swap partner Louise can enjoy and use.

And now onto some of the details…


The spec is that it has to be a natural fibre and it has to be at least 1 metre long by 140cm wide in order to make it a useful piece of material. Right from the start, I was thinking I might make more than the specified amount, so I could keep some for myself, so I want to make sure I use fabric that I would like myself:

  • Linen? I’m seeing a lot of Irish linen available online, and it’s making me think of teatowels! But linen is in the running.
  • Cotton lawn, poplin or drill. Will possibly be my favoured option
  • Wool? Just no. I’m not sure that it would take printing well.
  • Silk? I’m not sure my budget is up to it. I’ll have a hunt around on Ebay, see if there’s any possibility. Working with silk would be a whole different thing from working with cotton or linen, and I’m not sure I’m willing to spend that sort of money on a massive experiment.
  • While I first thought of using some white cotton jersey from the Stash, I decided a knit might not be the most stable thing for printing on, and might not be so useful to my swap partner as a woven fabric. But I might use it as a playing & practice fabric.
  • I had already been eyeing a load of white linen & cottons, up but when the Big Idea popped into my head, I realised that actually a colour would be a good base for what I’ve got in mind, so that’s widened my field (oh no! More choice!).

Challenges & How I can get around them

  • I’m limited in that I don’t have a table to work on, and my floor is carpeted, so not exactly the best working surface. I think I’m going to be acquiring a largeish cutting board, so that I have a decent working surface at least. It will be useful for other things too.
  • I’ve got NO supplies whatsoever. Luckily we’ve got a *really* good art & craft shop nearby, George Weil, and I think I shall be paying them a visit at the weekend to get some fabric paint/ink in.
  • I’d quite like to have a play, before I try the real thing, so I need to have a think about making another print other than the Big Idea!


  • This is going to require block printing
  • I’d like to keep it simple – something really easy, like potato printing.
  • I could make a pattern out of craft foam or something like that, but I don’t have little blocks of wood lying around to mount them on. However, it’s perfectly possible that the Gentleman Friend will have.
  • There may be a small amount of fabric pen work for detail.



6 thoughts on “Hand Printed Fabric – a bit more info

  1. We did lino printing at school, carved the design out with a chisel and it worked quite well as a printing block. Don’t know where you would get the special brown lino but you might be able to get a more intricate design using that!

    • I saw pieces of the lino, when I was getting the fabric paints yesterday, so if I go down that route, I know where I can get supplies. For now, I want to try *not* buying more stuff, and see how far I can get with the materials I’ve got more readily to hand.

    • Oh goodness! There’s still plenty of time… And while my ideas are fermenting along, I still haven’t quite got round to trying things out yet. Hmmm, can I fit in a bit of potato printing before I go to bed?

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