17 July 2012

Good Things Come in Threes

Here they finally are, my little pretty purses! And I'm pretty pleased with them, if I may say so myself.

Let me give you a couple of hot tips. There are two things that helped me accomplish three purses in a relatively short space of time. I designed these purses with a particular purpose in mind, you see, and I had little time to fuff about. I needed to be efficient.

As regular followers know, these purses are inspired by and based on the techniques Melanie Testa presents in her book Inspired to Quilt (please refer back to this post for more info). In the book Melanie uses thickened Procion MX dyes to design her fabrics. However, I felt I wanted to do things quick and dirty this time, without having to soda soak or batch fabric. So I used fabric paints. Fabric paints work very well for monoprinting, as long as you keep in mind that you are dealing with a medium that dries fairly quickly. Have a plan before you spread the paint on the printing plate, otherwise you will discover that most of the paint got stuck to the plate instead of the fabric. Fabric paint gives the fabric a slightly plastic feel, but with monoprinting it isn't as bad as I expected, as the layer of paint is very thin. What I appreciated most was that the paint dried quickly, so there was hardly any waiting time at all. I was surprised by and pleased with the result, and I have come to appreciate fabric paints more after this experience.

My second hot tip is to work in a series. I'm not particularly keen on doing the same thing over and over again, I get bored too easily, but working in a series definitely helps you to produce more art, as you don't have to "reinvent the wheel" with every new piece. You learn things with each piece, and can apply your insights immediately in the next piece, so there is educational value in it as well. And when the motif is fixed, as it is in this case, I was able to concentrate on other things, such as colour and pattern. I'm not planning to always work in a series from now on, but I've realised that it is definitely something worth considering every now and then.

Here are a couple of detail shots (I love the way the monoprint makes the bud look hairy - that was serendipity):

As these are purses, I wanted the insides to be just as neat as the outsides, so I used embroidery thread also in the bobbin. That also helped me to get rid of any problems with thread tension and unwanted bobbin thread creeping up to the front.

I also bound the edges on the inside and added my own tag.

The tag is made from a piece of cotton ribbon with an inkjet iron-on transfer print.

And that's my pretty purses! I had a lot of fun with these.

Thanks for visiting and see you again soon! - Annika


  1. Your purses are lovely - and I really appreciate the way you planned your design so that the little painted squares end up in just the perfect spot in the upper left of each purse!

    I have a question: I see that you stenciled the poppy outline on the organza and the squares and letters on the cotton, then layered them together to get the lovely depth of design. Did you also stencil the poppy flower head on the cotton? or is that put on using another method?

    Thanks so much and congratulations on a successful project!

    1. Thank you Chris, for your kind remarks and your question! I added the poppy flower head and bud as fused fabric collage. I could have stencilled them too, and did consider this option, but chose to fuse them, as that added a little dimension and because I also wanted to try fabric collage. In these pieces the colour on the collaged fabric is pretty solid, but you could also use patterned fabric, which would be a fun contrast to the monoprinted fabrics on top and underneath. I will probably try that next time. There are so many possibilities, aren't there?

  2. I didn't realize you mono-printed them! Fantastic! I love how the poppy bud is on one side and the flower on the other. The purses are truly beautiful. You must be doing the happy dance all over the place! Your little tag is so cute! Thanks so much for sharing your process and lessons learned.

    1. Thanks Jeannie, and well spotted: I am doing the happy dance! This process is so much fun and I keep coming up with new ideas about what I could try next. :D

  3. Annika! Why don't you live down the street! Love all of the experimentation and fun you are having. Keep it up!

    1. I know!! I'd love to be able to pop in for a cup of tea at your place every now and then!