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, March 27, 2017

Shading/ Coloring with Fabric Collage

Up until now in the 31 Days of Stitch Challenge, we’ve used thread exclusively to color our drawings. Today, we’ll look at how to use fabric to color our drawings.

There are several situations in which you my want to add fabric collage to your work.

1. Background Fabric
When your background fabric is too light or too dark  to effectively show off your thread shading in a particular area.  

Instead of trying to use thread exclusively to achieve the effect you’re looking for, you can employ the use of fabric as an additional coloring or shading tool.

For example in this piece, creating the white petals of the flower on a black background would have required extensive stitching with white thread to cover up the black fabric.  Doing this would definitely have resulted in distortions in the fabric. So instead, I appliquéd white fabric in those areas and stitched on top of the appliqué.

"Luscious Pink" - Fabric Collage and Thread Shading on Cotton by Clara Nartey

2. Focal Point
Using fabric to add a pop of saturated color in your drawing is an effective way to create a focal point in your work and to draw attention to something in particular.

Take a look at this example.  I made the lemon a focal point in the drawing by using fabric to color it.

"Lemonade Makers" - Fabric Collage and Thread Shading on Cotton by Clara Nartey

3. Variety of Techniques
When you want to use different techniques in a single piece of work, fabric becomes very attractive as a coloring tool in addition to thread.
Take a look at this example. It includes, hand dyeing, thread shading and fabric appliqué.
"Bridge Builders"- Dye, Fabric Collage and Thread Shading on Cotton by Clara Nartey

Try the teacup example again. Use fabric to color part or all of your teacup.

That’s it for now.
Let’s go draw.

Warmest Regards,


  1. Awesome! Thank you for being so generous.

    1. You're most welcome Darcy. Glad you like the lessons.

  2. I really like the idea and how you accomplished the Bridge piece. Great series, thanks!

    1. Ann ,if you like the bridge piece you may also like it's greyscale version as shown here ... http://claranartey.com/bridge-builders-2/ It's another example of how I use fabric to color a drawing.


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