One of the most difficult parts of creating fabric art, be it art journals, quilts or garments is the question of how to add text. It can be incredibly time consuming to attempt and risk looking amateurish and shoddy. There are several techniques that I have come to favour over the years, all tried and tested, and i'd love to share them with you.
Here are my top 5:
1: Embroidery thread and back stitch
Method: Draw out lettering with a water soluble pen, trace the letters with embroidery thread using a back stitch, keeping the stitches small.
Advantages: You can create complex cursive lettering, looks impressive!
Disadvantages: Very time consuming, needs to be able to make accurate and equal sized stitches
Good for: Small lettering, lists, song lyrics
2: Appliqued felt lettering (using computer printed text)
Method: Print out full size text from computer fonts. Cut out each paper letter and pin to felt. Cut around the felt and sew onto background fabric.
Advantages: Bold block lettering, a wide range of fonts, any colours, easy to position.
Disadvantages: Time consuming and fiddly
Good for: Headlines and titles.
3: Fabric paint
Method: Use a thin brush to hand paint lettering onto fabric then seal with an iron (according to the fabric paint instructions!)
Advantages: Anything you can hand write you can add to your textiles work.
Disadvantages: Can be messy and hard to get to look professional.
Good for: Small fonts, cursive, achieving a handwritten look.
4: Lettering stamps
Method: Use lettering stampers with a fabric stamp pad or brush with fabric pens and press onto fabric.
Advantages: Re-usable, soft/ blurry/faded text if used with stamper pad, crisp if use fabric pens.
Disadvantages: Hard to get in a perfectly straight line, limited range of sizes and fonts, expensive and time consuming.
Good for: Sub-headlines, text in the background
5: Stickers and fabric paint
Method: Place lettering stickers (kids craft ones are good) on fabric, use a sponge to apply paint over the stickers. Wait for them to dry and peel off.
Advantages:Crisp sharp white lettering (if done on white background)
Disadvantages: Hard to get in a perfectly straight line, limited range of sizes and fonts, non-reusable.
Good for: Headlines and titles.
If you want to see these examples in their full context check out my fabric journals page for more info.
Well! There we go...Try them out and let me know which ones you like and share your work.
I am currently working on a large project - a quilt for the Quilter's guild. The theme is 'moving on' and I'm basing mine on Darwin's finches: The birds he studied when he was formulating his theories of natural selection and evolution.
There are 14 finch types in his study each of which will be embroidered onto a felt shape applied to a circle of patchwork. The circles are different colours depending on how the particular bird has evolved (based on the type of diet they have).
Keeping track of all of the different finch types is proving difficult at the moment, although I am enjoying the actual embroidery part.
The part that has taxed my brain the most has been trying to work out how to piece together the central quilt circle composed of three separate colours. (First time since school that i've had to use a protractor!) Circles in patchwork are always a bit tricky although I seem to have achieved the effect I wanted.
Kim is a textile artist based in Portsmouth. She studied Illustration at Kingston University before becoming a textiles teacher. She combines the two disciplines to create retro inspired fabric artworks and playful images of pop culture.