A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Adding the Fun!

SO MANY choices of texture, color, thread, paper, silk, cotton, linen – the fun part when adding the surface layer on fabric collage is choosing the scraps for a particular piece. I like to dump out my scrap bin on the table and rummage through it to find some initial scraps that seem to relate to one another, either by contrasting or coordinating with one another. Then I start adding to the pile. In general, I don’t limit either thin or heavy weight fabrics – a variety is great in most work of this kind.

This scrap selection includes cotton, rayon, and wool challis. I wanted to emphasize pinks that coordinated with each other.

The two collages above include silk, polyester, commercial cotton, inkjet-printed cotton, and threads from upholstery fabric.
You will want to consider the fiber content. Many synthetic or silk fabrics require a lower iron temperature than some of your other fabrics. You have choices: eliminate those fabrics; add them but remember where they are and be very careful when fusing; or go to town and love the melting and distortions that might occur. You can always cover a blooper with another scrap.
Melted synthetic sheer on crinoline backing.
Above is some sheer polyester fabric included in my collage of an old stone building. I included it because I loved the pattern on that fabric. The iron was bit too hot for it, but it melted beautifully to expose the crinoline backing, enhancing the aged character I was looking for.

In addition to fabric, I sometimes include papers and threads. In the piece below, I used a page from an old book that I had stamped with pink flowers, yellow-green paper with stamped ginkgo leaves, and a piece of scanned hand-written text that was inkjet printed on cotton, along with a variety of cottons with interesting shapes.

The process of constructing fabric collage in this way is a real creative challenge with lots of latitude and a huge learning component.

Next time, I'll share some of the numerous ways I've used these fabric collages.

Posted by Cris Winters.


  1. I found your post yesterday very helpful. It is nice to have things that one might know put together in such a great format. Thanks.

  2. Thanks so much for your nice comment. Having great information all in one place is what drew me to this blog not all that long ago. I'm so glad to be part of it this month!

  3. So cool: the ginkgo stamp at the top of the collage looks so 3D with the black fabric underneath it!

  4. Great results and I really like the distressed aged piece.

  5. Luv the texture that is happening.


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