Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marbled Jacket

I have been marbling on fabric for about 15 years. I first learned to marble while attending the Southern Highland Craft Guild Fair in NC. I would stand for hours watching the marbling artists demo this very old and fascinating technique.  It grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I went home to Georgia and attempted to teach myself. It took some time to master the technique, many flops along the way, but the  process - always magical.
I love to use marbled fabric in both quilts and clothing. When I make clothing, I create a muslin shell first, even for very simple patterns. I realize that designs look good on the cover, but not always on me. Making shells saves time and fabric in the long run. I make a "shell" out of any light to medium weight fabric - old fabric I'm ready to get rid of. I often use more than one fabric in a muslin shell.
I do sleeves, backs to fronts and collars. I omit the facings, hems and buttonholes etc. I'm interested in the fit and how it hangs. I make adjustments on the shell and pattern before cutting into precious fabric. I also make a copy of the pattern cover to pin on the shell - lets me know instantly what pattern it it.
I'm working with a cotton homespun which clings to any top I might wear underneath, so I decided to add a lining. I dyed a very lightweight silk in navy and green.

To marble on homespun, I used navy and green paint along with a "colorless extender" as one of the paints. Using this extender allows the background fabric to show through in places, giving it more dimension.
I cut out appliques using more marbled fabric and green linen to add a little solid color.
We had a rainy day today - a good excuse to spend the day in my studio!


  1. Wonderful tutorial on using patterns, Judy. I would never have imagined marbeling on a printed fabric, but the outcome is stunning.

  2. Wow! I LOVE looking at other's dyeing projects and only tried it once - that was enough, but the process still tantalizes me. I'll be watching and it will surely be gorgeous!

  3. Wow! Very nice marbling, and an original application too. Thanks for sharing