Friday, February 6, 2015

What's On The Reverse Side Of Your Fabrics?

     Have you ever flipped over your fabrics to the reverse side to take a look and see what's there? Especially the ones that you've painted yourself? Well, once I decided to use some white crinoline as a base to sew appliqué silk pieces of fabric onto for an art quilt.  (This one, here.) I didn't want any of the white to show through in case the edges of the silks didn't quite but up all the way. So I decided to paint the crinoline first. I used colors of paint that would be similar to the colors of the silks. One side of the art quilt would be cool colors and one side would be warm colors and the center was going to have a female figure in it. I placed a paper cutout of the female figure on the crinoline and used a wet sponge brush and painted with acrylic paints the various colors onto the crinoline. Then I removed the paper cutout and painted onto the then white profile of the female figure. It was a fairly ugly (but functional) piece of crinoline.
     After it dried, it fell onto the floor and flipped over. And oh, my! It was beautiful! The paint had not gone through uniformly at all. It had created a ghostly effect of the female figure. The areas around her had created marbled effects. As a whole, it couldn't be used for a piece of art. It was a shame that it was going to be buried underneath other pieces of fabrics and never seen. But since we are in the digital age, that really isn't the case.
original ghostly figure on back of crinoline

original reverse side of crinoline

     I took photos of all the good parts of it and kept them on file for future use. And that future is now. I sent out the photos to a digital printmaking fabric company and within a few days the fabric was delivered larger than it was before. The colors were true and I was very pleased with it. I hung it on the design wall for about a week and wasn't sure what to do with it. I put it away for about a month. Then I did a few sketches on my iPad from one of its photos and got an idea and out came the rotary cutter.
     I sewed panels of the digitally produced fabric together and then put it on batting and did a lot of stitching. Here's a peak of some of it in-process.
stitching in gray variegated thread

she moves
The crinoline only had a partial head and part of a torso so I had to imagine the rest. Now, I'm working on the rest of the design and a quilting design. So my message to you is that when you paint a piece of fabric, always flip it over to look at the back. You may like the reverse side better. And if you like both sides, you can take photos of the reverse side and have it digitally printed if you want to use it, also. 
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.


  1. So cool! Where would we be without our imaginations - our most valuable tool for art quilting :-)

    1. Yes, I feel bad for people who can't imagine things. It's so much fun.

  2. What a happy accident. Look forward to seeing the complete piece.

    1. I wonder how much art is result of serendipity. I suspect that all art involves some.

  3. How lovely that chance led you to a new piece of art, and how clever of you to record the ghostly dancer for future use. This is looking exciting.

  4. Yes, and sometimes, it takes years for the ideas to brew. I am excited about it so far.

  5. Replies
    1. The crinoline fabric gave such wonderful effects as the paint went only partially through it in parts on the reverse side. A marvelous discovery.


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