A little bit of hand painted fabric

I tried to buy 2m of white habotai from Simply Fabrics for £5 a metre. But they only had a little bit left – just over 1m. So I took it – it was very cheap.

Last night I decided I needed to do something easy and relaxing (it has been stressful at work, and a tense one at home with sewing both lace and chiffon).

So I got out my wax point and my silk paints and I painted the fabric with pink, blue and light purple flowers, and then decided on a dark purple background. Here is the fabric covered in paint and wax. It looks pretty messy, but that is half the fun.

Fabrickated painted silk
Painted silk (batik)

Later on I ironed out the wax. The colours still look nice and vibrant. I think this technique is such fun and although I just sloshed it all on (and got some on a chair so I spent half and hour with some Vanish and a hose pipe) it looks quite artistic. I don’t know if I could paint anything other than “flowers” actually. Incidentally my friend Erin Fitzpatrick, on seeing this piece, suggested we might collaborate – she is a proper artist who uses textiles in her paintings. So this is very exciting.

Batik and silk painted fabric
Close up

In the meantime I am not sure what I can make with this. When I made my painted silk dress using the same technique I cut out the dress first and then painted the fabric (being careful not to get large flowers on the bust or bottom).

Fabrickated handpainted silk dress
Handpainted silk dress

This all over design doesn’t have that problem, but I am not sure what I can make from it. A summer skirt? A little top? Any ideas for 1 metre of lightweight silk please?

27 Responses

  1. That is so pretty Kate, you have a talent there for sure. I could see this as a gorgeous cami, complicated (complimented) by grey lace to break it up a little.

  2. A little woven tee shirt style top (something like the Grainline Scout Tee) would be nice and easy to wear with skirts and jeans.

  3. Frame it and put it on the wall, Kate. It is so lovely.
    A pattern I think would work, is the Inari top by Named Clothing. Their pattern sample is very short, but adding a little bit of length makes it more wearable and it has a nice contemporary look.

  4. Perhaps a little bolero/shrug for those cooler evenings on the terrace, sipping cocktails?

  5. It’s very pretty. I can only think of a scarf for one metre, but maybe you could squeeze a top out of it, or a bias cut drapey top part of a dress. It’s years since I’ve batiked – do you use hot wax and a tjanting?

    • Hi Jay. I use hot wax and a paintbrush. I have explained a bit more in response to Janice. The tjanting tool is useful if you want to write things or create a linear design, but I like the “painterly” effect of using a brush.

  6. How about a scarf with a hand rolled edge, this piece of silk is stunning and would cheer up an autumn outfit beautifully, then when bored of it perhaps use the fabric to trim a silk blouse.

  7. I swear by this pattern for scant resources http://www.stylearc.com.au/stylearc/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=750&category_id=8&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=45
    I made the last one in fine silk chiffon, and managed to squeeze it out of 1m. The clever panels help. I double layer the bodice to prevent undue undie exposure.

  8. What about a blouse using the silk in the bodice and then a dark shade of chiffon for the sleeves…romantic flowing sleeves with small silk covered buttons on the cuffs? I also like the scarf idea from Rachel!

  9. Really beautiful

  10. Stephanie

    Like some at top I see a smaller/lightweight top with this – either a boxy t or a cami. It’s a gorgeous print and very strong so a little goes a long way for sure!

  11. I like all the above suggestions and you’re right: it does look very artistic.

    I’d be tempted to eke out a top: a loose t-shirt style, with bust darts and maybe stretched jersey neck binding and jersey short turnback sleeves.

  12. BEAUTIFUL!!Can you explain exactly how you painted it? The wax confuses me……..is that applied where you don’t want color?Thanks.

    • Hi Janice – Paint the lighter parts first, eg a pink flower, then paint hot wax over that painted part. Then add a deeper colour, say red, around it. Then put hot wax on the red. Keep going until you have built up your flowers, coating each part you painted. Eventually you have all your colourful flowers covered with dried wax. Then introduce (in this case the darkest colour) the background colour which seeps into the parts that are not waxed. Then when it is all dry you iron the fabric between newspaper and the wax melts away and leaves you with the painted fabric.

  13. I like Sherre or Jenny’s idea s.

  14. I love your flowers! I assume it is rather lightweight, so I like the blouse or cami ideas, especially paired with a lace. I suppose you could also use it as exquisite lining of a jacket — at least the bodice.

  15. Lovely. Great ideas above. Could it be paired with plain purple? Your mention of your artist friend reminds me of the ‘painting’ I bought at the Kendal Wool Fest last year – a picture of flowers fashioned from differently coloured sheep(?) fleece and protected by glass.

  16. You set yourself up as stylish, you comment and criticize everyone else’s clothes, yet your style is so incredibly banal. And you only publish sycophantic praise.
    What on earth do you think you are doing?

    • Hi Liz

      Thank you for your feedback. I would be more than happy to publish your or anyone else’s criticism. Would you like to write a guest post on a topic of your choosing? The only negative comment I have had so far was about the use of a particular word. I published the feedback ad responded to it. I do not censor the blog as you imply.

      I try to write my sytle “critiques” in a fair and balanced way, and always with regard to the person’s standing and role. But it is only an opinion, and generally as food for thought. I do get some very positive feedback when I make clothes, and generally people are generous and kind on the sewing blogs. But of course my style is certainly not to everyone’s taste.

      I hope this helps.

  17. Oh my goodness, how beautiful! The flowers look a little bit larger than on the dress? I’m afraid the uniqueness of it will be lost in too much construction, so I’m inclined to agree with those suggesting a scarf. It would be a lovely stand alone piece to dress up almost anything else. 🙂

  18. Good question! 1M of silk is certainly a challenge – I’d probably want to make a nice camisole out of it, as I think it would be opaque enough to wear as a top, and colourful enough to wear under a blazer 🙂

  19. Cut the front of a simple top in the silk and make up the back and sleeves in a good quality jersey t-shirting. Alternately, the centre panel and hem band of an a-line skirt.

  20. What beautiful fabric. You are very talented.

  21. […] could’ve been the quickest, and with some decent skills can be pretty impressing (see here). I stress the ‘I think’ because I’ve never done it so I have no idea. I’d […]

  22. Brenda Marks

    I am truly smitten with your fabric painting and surface design. Another job well done!

    • I really love this piece of cloth but still haven’t done anything with it Brenda. I sometimes take it for a spin as it works nicely as a scarf. One day I will make it up!

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