Friday, October 2, 2009

Flocked Fabric Printing

Do you remember the old fashioned fabric - dotted Swiss? Once in a while I'll be in a fabric store and come upon it; it has a very distinct (and nice) smell to it. If I close my eyes, a sniff of this fabric will transport me back in time to Easter outfits, party dresses and a new dress for the first day of school. My mother who sewed all my clothes made many dresses out of flocked and especially dotted Swiss fabric. I loved it then and love it now. I don't know if it's the memories it evokes or just the prettiness of it. To me it's just wondrous - even when it's not.
On a recent trip to a fabric outlet, I spotted a piece of fabric on the way out the door. I had to have it, so I went back inside and waited on line again for measuring and pricing. You see - it was a flocked fabric and not one of the prettier ones as far as the actual fabric goes. The background was synthetic, shiny and slippery - not something I would use, but the flocked design was amazing! My thoughts immediately went to using it for printing. The relief of the flocking was high enough to place a fabric over it and using a brayer, maybe, just maybe a design would appear.
So I taped the fabric onto my work table.
I used a fairly thick textile screening paint so it would not migrate. I used a piece of plastic to hold the paint and ran the brayer over and through it until it appeared evenly on the brayer.
Next I taped a piece of fabric over the flocked fabric and rolled the brayer over the top. I used a gentle touch, too much pressure could lose the design. I wasn't sure if it would work, but Yes! Success!
The color is not real even, that might take some practice, but honestly, I think I prefer it this way - it's more interesting. If I were making a whole cloth for a garment, I would strive for an even application or depth of color but I'll be cutting this up to use in quilts.
You can see the light areas where there was little paint left on the brayer and the heavier color areas from the starting point.
It's a really nice, organic looking image and think I'll find many places to use it.
Fabric as a printing tool - Who'ld thought!


  1. This is brilliant, Judy! Thanks for sharing such an original idea.

  2. What a great idea and I love the results!