Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Handmade Herringbone Printed Fabric Tutorial

Hello Everybody!  Happy Wednesday!
Before we get started here today we just want to quickly remind you to upload your "Sewing Through the Decades" photos to the flicker group...we love this challenge and are excited to see what everyone has made!  Ok, back to business...

Today we have Danielle's tutorial on how to make her awesome hand printed herringbone fabric from last weeks boys challenge.  Not only does it look cool but it looks like it would be fun to make!
So without further ado I'm turning the rest of this post over to Danielle.

Thank you guys so much for following the competition, for voting (!), and for having me back! I'll be the first to admit that the boy looks last week were all so darling and well sewn, so I am extra surprised and thrilled to have won!

I am excited to share with you how I created the print on my shawl-collar pullover. I hope this will open up creative possibilities for you if you've never tried printing your own fabric before.
You'll need:
Speedball Linoleum Cutter
These are used to carve linoleum blocks traditionally used in paper printing.

E-Z Cut Printing Blocks
(softer than linoleum blocks)
This is traditionally used to print on paper but worked well for this application of fabric printing. I found these and my cutter at an art store but they might carry them at craft stores too?
Delta Textile Medium + Acrylic Paint
Basically, you mix this fabric medium 2:1 with any acrylic paint to make washable fabric paint. It makes the paint softer, and helps it penetrate the fabric so its not just stiffly sitting on top. It also helps make it more durable in the wash. There are lots of different fabric inks and paints that would work to do this, but I like this method because fabric ink colors can be limited or hard to find, but this way you can use any color acrylic paint you can get your hands on, so there are more options.
Start by cutting your block to the desired size (I started with a 4x6" block and cut it to 2x6"). To make my herringbone pattern, I then cut a very shallow score line all the way down the center of my block. Don't cut too deep or your block might break.
This will help the lines we carve later on to end sharply and uniformly in the middle.
Next, decide what angle you'd like your lines to be at, and cut off the top corners accordingly.
Then mark several guidelines down the length of your block that are parallel to your top angles.
Now, switching to a v-shaped carving blade, start making grooves along the guidelines . You can eyeball it and stagger the spacing and width of these slightly, for a more irregular look.
You'll do the same thing on the other side. I staggered my lines so they mostly didn't meet in the middle because that is the look I was going for. Obviously you can do it how you like.
When you get to the bottom of your block, cut out a triangle so that you'll be able to seamlessly repeat your pattern. Make sure that if you are staggering your pattern, you don't leave both bottom and top edges raised, but rather carve one edge down, so your printing will be seamless when you repeat the stamp.
Apply paint lightly with a sponge brush. Be careful not to get paint in the grooves or it may leak onto your design. I found that painting the whole surface of the block and letting it dry first, helped the paint go on more evenly. It helps the paint stick to the block in an even coat and gives you more control over the application.

(this was my test printing)
Finally, lay your block onto your (pre-washed and dried) fabric by setting it straight down and lifting carefully off. You might want to practice a few times on test fabric to get the hang of spacing and pressure etc. but I found it pretty forgiving. Its not meant to look perfect anyway so just go for it! (FYI I used a knit fabric and it worked great, but I'm sure a woven would be even easier to print on).
Once the paint is dry, set it with your iron according to the directions on the textile medium.

And that's it! Your ready to get sewing!

If you are interested in how to make a shawl collar pullover, please visit my blog: in the upcoming weeks and I'll try and put together a tutorial/pattern on how I did it.

****Thanks Danielle---and if you are wondering what her prize is for winning the Boys Week challenge I"m sorry, you'll have to keep waiting....I actually forgot to post it on Monday but will announce it this coming Monday along with the prizes for our Sewing Through the Decades winners.***

Related Posts


  1. This is so creative. I love it!
    Just a little addition...Traditionally, ink/paint is applied to a lino block with a roller. That way you don't have to worry about it seeping in to the cracks. If you like an even look, it makes that easier too!

    1. Oh thank you for mentioning that! I meant to. I actually got a roller and then come print making time couldn't find it so I used the brush. Anyway since I didn't use it I wasn't sure how it'd work with the paint.

  2. I love this idea, and the possabilities are endless! Can't wait to try printing on fabric, thanks so much for the inspiration, and for making boy clothes so fun and creative!!!!

  3. What a LOVELY idea... You did an Amazing job and the color combination was Perfect!! :)

  4. Ummmm...I had NO idea about the textile medium product. L-o-v-e! I went crazy in the art shop this morning :). Thanks for for the knowledge!

  5. It turned out really great. Thanks for all the details! Would love a pattern/tutorial for the pullover over on your blog if you get to it! Congrats on the second win!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.