A Fabric Experiment

As you know, I’m a sucker for a sale.  So, when Ivy Newport ran a super duper birthday sale (40% off!) on most of the classes on her website, I took advantage and purchased a class, Fabric in Time with mixed media artist Stephanie Rubiano.

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This was a class I camethisclose to purchasing at full price, but with Skillshare and Creativebug enough to keep me busy, I just couldn’t justify it.  But, can’t beat almost half off, right?  Anyway, the class is chocked full of good advice and helpful tips about how to print on fabric, paint on fabric, and add embelishments to your final piece.  There’s also a bonus lesson on encaustic wax, but setting up a wax station is really not in my budget right now.

This class combines so many of the things I love – vintage photography, painting and embroidery, that I was immediately inspired, and went to work with the products I had on hand.  I can’t remember why, but I bought a set of cabinet cards from an etsy seller a long time ago that were perfect for this project, and I scanned them into my computer.  I then printed out my photos on quilting cotton.  My first attempt went wonky, but the second attempt was pretty good.  There’s a 50% coupon for AC Moore today, so I’m thinking about trying the InkJet printable fabric sheets, but we’ll see.  Then, I went into a creative frenzy, and whipped up my girl before I took any photos.  Because I immediately went to work, I didn’t exactly have all of the supplies I needed.  For instance, I didn’t have any finishing spray – so I had a little problem with the water on my brush mixing with the ink on the photo, but I just moved the paint around, and embroidered on top of any water blotches.

You can see the original photo in the top corner.  And you can see more improvising.  To give the cards structure, Stephanie uses a double sided fusible, and creates a fabric sandwich.  The only double sided stablizer I have is the Bosal Foam fusible, which is really great for tote bags, and quilted wallets and such, but not so great for this project.  While it lends stability, it doesn’t really have that stiffness that painting on a stiff fabric interfacing would have.  But, I made do.

You can see she’s a little puffy from the foam, but eh, it’s all good.  As you can see, I had a bit of a water issue on the edge there, but again, no big deal.  I mean, if I were going to sell it or something, it would be problematic, but for the walls of my craft room, I’m good with it.  The little background embelishments are sequins with seed beads, and the stitching is a combination of lazy daisies, french knots, and cross stitch.  I had to watch a few refresher videos on the stitching, but it came back.

To finish her off, I trimmed the card down, punched some holes with my crop-a-dile, and inserted eyelets.  Then, I used this funky beaded wire that I’ve had in my stash forever and never knew quite what to do with to add a hanger –

All done! I thought about binding the edge to hide the water splotch, but again, eh. She’s just hanging with the rest of the girls on the craft wall, no crafting police here.

I was really excited to start my next girl, but unfortunately, it was back to work on Monday, and then I didn’t get back into the craftroom until last night. By then, I had thought of so many ideas of what to do, and I had a vision of what I wanted her to look like.

Here’s the before:

I had this idea that I was going to embroider hanging flower baskets in the window, and lots of little white french knots on her collar and her cuffs. And then, I went south -I don’t know why – and the further south it went from my vision, the more I messed it up:

I hate how bright the blue is in the window. So, I abandoned my hanging basket idea, and thought maybe I’d cover the whole window with a vine. Then, instead of using my perle cotton thread that I love, I went with a cheap craft embroidery thread because the color was better, and my stitches look so sloppy. It didn’t help that I cut the fabric too small to get good tension in the hoop. Then, the only white paint I had on hand was a fluid acrylic, and that interacted horribly with the ink from the printer, and I got a really ugly stain on her dress. I tried to cover it up and it just kept getting worse. So, then I painted it red. I hate how the red looks with the pink ribbon roses. Sigh. She’s going in the garbage and I’m going to start over. This time, I’m going to print her the same size, but on a full sheet of paper, so I can get the fabric tight enough in the hoop. I’m going to go back to my original vision of the baskets in the window, and the knots on her dress. As for the blue windows – I’m going to stick with the blue, but I’m going to use a really light colored pencil instead of paint, so it’s just a faded outdoor look.  I’m ok with starting over.  Sometimes projects just don’t work out.

And, while I still have a few more cabinet cards to play with, I ordered these tintypes from ebay:

I really love this one:

Since she’s already got the crazy faux outdoor backdrop going, I can see myself embroidering wildflowers or trees or something behind her.  We’ll see.  Of course, when I ordered then, I didn’t really think about putting the tin on my scanner – I’m really afraid of scratching the bed.  I may try to photograph them rather than scan them, but I don’t have a light box.  Another problem to be solved!  But, it’s craft, it’s all good.

Stay tuned!

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