Today, I want to try my very first blog tutorial. I'm not going to show you every single step, but I want to see if you get the idea by these 10 steps. Okay? I'll be so grateful if you play along. Actually, if you leave me feedback in the comment section by 8pm on Monday, January 17, I'll pick one of you for a giveaway of either of these new fabric goods. Sound good? Here we go...
Tutorial: How to make simple prints on fabric and then turn the fabric prints into either lavender sachets or zipper pouches. (For beginners, I strongly recommend the lavender sachet as the zipper pouch was very difficult with the lining, though much easier without a lining.)
Step 1: Draw a simple shape you want to print on fabric. I used the bottom of a spool of thread to create a circle, then drew the pointed star sides away from the circle, making a somewhat symmetrical but organically-shaped star burst.
Step 2: Cut out your simple shape with any craft scissors, part of the charm of block prints is their imprecision and proof of "the hand".
Step 3: Trace the outline of your simple shape onto a MasterCarve block--available at most art supply stores. (I usually use linoleum blocks for printing, but these blocks really hold up to their promise and "cut like butter". Use linoleum or MasterCarve blocks.)
Step 4: Using a Speedball Lino Cutter carve your shape out from the block. This material is much easier to carve than a linoleum block, but it won't last nearly as long. If you decide to use linoleum, chose a simple shape until you're used to carving. If you chose the MasterCarve, be careful not to crack the edges of your design as you carve--it's very soft and can tear with too much pressure.
Step 5: Now your shapes are carved, hooray! Select a fabric print such as Jacquard Screen Printing Ink. I've tested several fabric inks but I like this one because it's thick enough to use for block printing.
Step 6: I didn't show you this step, but you'll want to scoop out a dollop of ink and roll it smooth with a brayer. I usually use a piece of glass or marble for the ink and you can find these at most art supply or hardwood stores. Roll your brayer in the smooth ink, then coat one side of the carved shape. Flip your shape over and "stamp" your fabric but leave the shape face-down.
Use the back of your hand to press the shape into the fabric or you might want to use a rolling pin or the bottom of a canning jar. To avoid smudges, be careful the block doesn't move while you are applying pressure.
Step 7: Voila! You have printed on fabric. Now, you'll want to let the ink dry, iron to fix ink if necessary (your ink should indicate if heat-setting is needed) and then cut your fabric to desired shapes. If you have a specific project in mind, you can design your prints especially for the project.
Step 8: I decided to follow this wonderful zipper pouch pattern, but I had a very hard time with the lining. Every time I would finish a pouch, the zipper would catch in the lining when trying to open. So, I resulted to making the pouches without linings so the zippers wouldn't catch. Much easier.
Step 8 detail: You can see how I altered the pattern to make my pouches without a lining so I could trust them to zip and unzip.
Step 9: A simpler sewing solution is the lavender sachet. Simply cut two pieces of fabric the same size, place them right sides together and pin. With your sewing machine sew three edges together and then sew just the ends of the fourth side. (Make sure you do not sew the fourth side completely or you won't be able to turn the fabric back to the right sides.)
Then, flip the fabric back to the right sides, fill with lavender buds, pinch together so the buds don't spill (I used binder clips), then sew the fourth side by hand using a simple blind stitch. (For more detail, use this pattern.) Voila! Now you are truly finished.
Step 10: Enjoy your handmade goods. Stash vintage buttons in your zipper pouch or add a lavender pillow to your sweater drawer. I keep a lavender sachet on the desk in my studio and it makes the whole room smell wonderful. (I also have pouches and sachets in my Etsy shop if you'd rather purchase one than make one, but I do hope you'll make your own too!)
PS--What did you think? Could you follow the steps that were missing photos? And were the tools obvious even when not shown? Eep! So exciting. Would love your two cents and I'll pull a comment on January 17 to win either one lavender sachet or one zipper pouch, as seen here. Happy 2011, friends. And thank you for your feedback. xoxo, k.