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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Creating Texture with Stitching and Fabric Manipulation - Part 1

OK, fasten your seat belts! This is going to be a lot of info in a short amount of time!  I'll try to keep it concise but still give plenty of a technique's process steps. If you have any questions, please either post them in the comments section or e-mail me: Kelly@KellyLHendrickson.com

Now we are getting into the area of not only perceived texture but also actual texture...and a mixture of both!

So, let's get right to it........

Another group I have been a part of once decided to do a twist on the "fractured art quilt" concept. We started with a drawing of the Canal Houses in Amsterdam, split them up, designed each individual house as a separate piece, exchanged them and when we received the swapped pieces - made a wall hanging art quilt for ourselves. Everyone, of course, had their own take on how to attack this project but there was a lot of fabric manipulation going on!  I can only show you the pieces I did and which were sent to be swapped. (No....unfortunately, I can't show you the completed wall hanging....I haven't put mine together as yet.)

There are usually several techniques in each house so I'll post the photo and then the description of the techniques used. (due to the VERY vertical nature of the houses, a full photo of them is difficult but I WILL add closeups of pertinent parts)

House 1
For this house I wanted to create a ripple water feel. I chose one of my blue hand-dyed fabrics, ironed parallel pleat sets into it (I wasn't really precise about the pleats as they would be for an organic look anyway) I then stitched the pleats down in opposite directions to create a wavy effect.

I also used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to make the "carved wood" around the attic window.

**Added note - texture with dye - a tied shibori piece I had in my stash I love the look this created for a sky.
- texture with paint - I had a piece of lino cut I had used for bricks on another piece. Painted it with black and used it on this "brick" house as well.

House 2
Yes, it is Starbucks! This house was for a particular person in the swap that I KNOW loves Starbucks! The canal houses are fronted by a sidewalk and then a wall along the canal. I chose a brick wall for many of my houses. In this one, I used a grid cooling rack, laid the fabric across it and with chopsticks, pushed the fabric into the holes. It takes a bit of finessing (and I don't have photos of this process and have loaned out the cooling rack) and you need to begin with a much larger piece of fabric than you might imagine. After the fabric is pushed into the holes the way you want it, cover it on the back side (fabric holes) with an adhesive sheet like WonderUnder or something similar and iron it down. When it is cooled, remove the fabric from the grid and you have a wonderful grid of "bricks" or "rocks" or however you wish to use it.

**Added note - texture with paint - the house fabric was created by placing squares/rectangles of adhesive backed felt (sheets in the hardware store - used usually for placing under objects to keep them from scratching a table top, etc.) stuck in a random manner onto a wine bottle, painted and rolled onto the fabric.

 This is the whole "sheet" of bubbled grid fabric". I used a strip of a few rows for my canal house brick canal walls.

House 3
I wanted a dark stormy looking sky for this house. I used a darker piece of hand-dyed fabric, cut out wavy strips of a indigo shibori fabric, made using a pebble-like sink protector, and a shiny darker blue fabric I had in my stash. I stitched these on with raw edge applique. I think the sky has a lot of texture and evokes the feel of a dark storm brewing.

House 3
This house has two of the techniques I want to mention.

First - Again for the brick canal wall - I used two fabrics and wove them together to create this staggered "brick" wall. Start with a piece of WonderUnder (or similar) and weave the fabrics on top of that adhesive sheet. Then, when it is woven, iron it and you have your brick wall!

Second - The water is a piece very appropriate for this blog!! It is a sheer with organza between various other blue sheers. I zapped it with a heat gun just enough to melt away the organza and wrinkle up the other blue sheers.

OK, I think that is the best of the bunch.  I might add some other examples later in the week.

Now, earlier in this month, I had shown you the beginnings of a piece done by another of our guests artists this month, Francie Ginocchio.  Here now, since we are discussing texture creating with stitching, is the rest of that piece.

I enjoy creating my own dyed and textured fabric.  My favorite methods are shibori resist and mono-printing, both using Procion MX dyes.  Once you are finished creating lively textured fabrics, what do you do with them? -- Francie 

I was involved in a monthly12” x 12” project and one of the themes was “Texture.”  I used some of the shibori as well as mono-printed fabric to piece the background. 

Clothespin Shibori

The finished fabric I used for this piece is in the upper right


Spread out the thickened Procion dye

Created lines and cut out the poppy masks (on the right). Place the fabric over the dye and press

Setting my machine on free motion and using red and orange thread, I stitched over the poppy outlines, which were part of the mono-printing.  The strong verticals of the poppies were balanced with horizontal rows of narrow straight stitching to complete my piece. 


Thanks, Francie! I'm so glad you shared your process with us this month!

Oh and we've only just begun!! Tomorrow I'll start with getting you going in circles!!

Don't forget!!  PLEASE join in the fun and share your inspiration and texture and this week - especially your art using stitching and fabric manipulation to create texture! E-mail your photos to me at



  1. Hey, I was a tea drinker till I met you

  2. LOL!! Only the first of many successful attempts to corrupt you! And at last check...I think we are even! (for now)

  3. Oh my goodness, I think I will need to try stitching in red thread as opposed to my usual black.

  4. Great examples, Kelly and Francie! Gads... I totally forgot how much I love clothespins for resisting dyes... one of the first things I tried when I first began! And the bricks and water examples are wonderful!

  5. Some very creative ideas here. Thanks

  6. YEH!! I'm always so glad to hear you guys are enjoying the posts!

  7. Great stuff!! Just love the results


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