Have you ever wanted to print your own fabric or clothing? I’ve collaborated with Colette Moscrop for this project and together we’re going to show you how to print and make your own garment.
Colette Moscrop designs and hand screen prints/stencils linen and cotton to be used in embroidery, quilting and craft projects. Inspired by the styles of the 1930s – 50s and urban living, Colette’s work has a simplistic style and hand drawn qualities. Using eco-friendly water-based inks Colette prints in rich colours and encourages you to stitch into the designs to make your project personal to you. You can see her fabrics and accessories here www.colettemoscrop.com
If you’d like to learn how to screen print, book onto one of Colette’s workshops when they restart. You’ll also cover some other fun ways to print onto fabric too, all of which you’ll be able to do at home with your new skills and some inexpensive equipment.
Colette has put together this Tutorial to help you stencil onto the panels of your Cut Couture kit BEFORE you assemble your garment. Just print, press, then sew! All you need to know about how to assemble the garments is on the individual Youtube tutorials.
Stencilling onto fabric
If you’ve ever wanted to print your own fabric, stencilling is an excellent place to start. It is one of the easiest ways to add pattern to an item. It’s cost effective and you have control over exactly where you position your print. I have designed 6 motifs that you can use for free on your own personal projects.
Click the Button to Download the Motifs
I will show you how to stencil, it’s a very simple method and one you’ll be able to master with a little practice.
You will need:
- a craft knife
- a motif to stencil
- textile ink, (I use Permaset Aqua screen-printing ink, Speedball Textile ink will work well too)
- white card
- a stencil brush or a small sponge
- an old plate / plastic tub for the ink
- a spoon
- masking tape
- washed and pressed cotton / linen to print on
- an old sheet to use as a drop cloth, ink will pass through your fabric and leave marks
Textile screen printing inks are available at www.jacksonsart.com , your local art store or on eBay. Make sure you buy a fabric ink.
Before printing on your Cut Couture Kit, practice on one or two of the spare pieces of fabric included in your kit and get comfortable with the process.
Your Cut Couture Kit won’t need to be pre-washed as the linen is already prepared for dying and printing. If printing on other fabric, before you start it’s essential that you wash and press your fabric to remove any size. If you don’t when you wash the fabric your printing may fade.
I always recommend using cotton or linen as they absorb the ink well. You can print on most fabrics, but take into consideration you will need to heat set your fabric to make your fabric washable. This can usually be done with a hot iron, follow the instructions on the ink you are using.
Trace your chosen design onto white card, tape to a window or use a light box if you have one. With a sharp craft knife, cut out the design you want to print, take care to cut all corners, go over the area a few times if necessary. Don’t be tempted to pull out the excess as this will give you a torn corner and this won’t print well.
If you’re covering a large area with printing cut out 2 or 3 stencils, as they become wet with ink the gaps can become weak and may tear, it’s useful to have a spare stencil ready so you can keep printing.
Practice on a small piece of spare fabric first. You have a bundle for this in your Cut Couture kit. If you’re using a larger design you may find it helpful to tape your design to your fabric, masking tape is ideal.
Spoon a small amount of Textile Ink onto your plate. Keeping your stencil brush upright, dip the brush into the ink and then dab it onto a clean area of plate. This will spread the ink evenly onto your brush. You want the brush to be fairly dry with ink and not dripping. You don’t want to overload your fabric with ink, use a small amount and build up the colour rather than putting on a lot of ink which may bleed under the stencil and blur the edges of your print.
Keeping your brush vertical throughout, dab your brush onto the fabric and work across the stencil to fill the area you are printing. If the area looks patchy, go over it again lightly to achieve a solid block of colour. Put your brush down and carefully lift the stencil from the fabric to reveal your first print.
There may be small imperfections with you print. Embrace them, you are hand printing and inconsistencies are part of the beauty of this process.
After some practice you can start to print onto your chosen fabric. Think about the repeat you’d like to create. If you’re a beginner try to avoid a harsh geometric repeat as anything that is slightly ‘off’ will look like an error.
Aim to keep your repeat flowing and organic.
If you want to have a ‘random’ repeat, these are actually harder to do than you think and need a little planning. I’ll show you an example later on.
If you’d like to use a sponge, the process is very similar. Hold your sponge so that you have good control over where you are applying ink and pressure. Dab into the ink as before and even out the spread by dabbing onto a clean area of the plate.
Apply the ink onto the fabric with the stencil in the same way as before. Avoid using too much ink and building up layers of ink to achieve a solid block of colour.
If you’re going to have your prints close together, allow time for the ink to dry sufficiently to avoid smudging. The temperature of the day will depend on how long this takes, if it’s warm they dry fairy quickly. Sometimes I will place a clean piece of kitchen towel onto an almost dry print so I can continue. This does have a smudge risk so be cautious doing this if it’s a special piece, don’t ruin a project because of impatience!
Alternatively leave a space and print every other section and come back and fill the gaps. This is slightly trickier to do as it’s harder to visualise where the print will flow to or to allow an accurate space without measuring everything out.
By rotating this stencil 180° with every print, the design below is interesting and has movement to it. By not keeping to a harsh straight line, nothing looks out of place and the overall print has a good flow.
This next example uses a larger sponge and a more open design. The fine midrib of the leaf may seem loose when you’re printing, but it sticks down with the ink so carry on as above and trust the process.
This is a more random looking design but this was planned. To achieve an even coverage of an area, start in one corner of your piece and work outwards in all directions. Move your stencil a similar distance each time and if you’re rotating the stencil. Make sure that you get a balance of directions to keep the design flowing.
With this larger print space, expect to cover the area a couple of times with ink to build up a solid block of colour.
Once you have completed your printing wash your brush / sponge in clean water and allow to dry. Leave your fabric to dry completely before heat setting. To heat set follow the instructions on your chosen ink, a hot iron is usually sufficient. Keep the iron moving so you don’t scorch your fabric. You’re then ready to use the fabric in your project.
Once you’re confident with printing, plan the design for your garment, here are a couple of process shots from when I printed the Cut Couture Lydia Skirt to give you an idea of how I created the repeat.
Keep it simple, consider the shape of the garment and where it will sit on your body. You probably don’t want a print to draw attention to anywhere personal on your body, keep this in mind when planning and enjoy creating something truly unique to you.