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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How the Background Fabric Affects Your Colors

Hi All! Welcome back to 31 Days of Stitch Design.

This is going to be a short one.  I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much new information. But I thought you’d like to know a little more about how your choice of thread colors and your background fabrics work together. 

When you’re choosing threads, you’ll want to remember that the color of your background fabric affects the colors in your work.

So, here are a few tips about the relationship between your background fabric and the threads you shade with.

  1. A light colored background fabric will not show off a light value thread as well as it will show a dark value thread. 
  2. When you choose a thread color that is close to the color of the background fabric. The pros – it makes the outline stitching fade away when you start shading your design. The con – it’s a little hard to see because there’s very little contrast between thread color and fabric color.
  3. Factor in the color of your background fabric when mixing thread colors. This is because the color of your background fabric will act as though it were one of the thread colors you're shading with. 
For example, when you use blue thread to shade on a yellow background fabric, your shading may look green because the yellow fabric and blue thread will mix as though you were mixing two paint colors and give you a different color.

Look at this effect shown in the example below.

Watch this video.

That’s it for today. Let’s go draw.

Warmest Regards,

PS: I hope you’re practicing and working on your exercises.  I’ll be more than willing to answer questions.  Just ask.


  1. Clara, what do you choose for the bobbin thread?

    1. I use the same thread on top as in the bobbin. Simplest way to go. Minor tension problems will not be an issue when you do that.


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