I made some throw pillows this week using sun printed cloth that I created this summer. Stencils are a wonderful way to get pattern on fabric through sun printing. I love how throw pillows add color and make any space more cheerful.
I used the Amiens Plan cathedral stencil, the Hemp Flower stencil and the Bodacious Pods stencil. For the hemp flower and the pod stencil I traced the stencil onto freezer paper. I only used part of the hemp flower stencil so that I could get individual flowers. I traced all the lines and then cut out around the outside of each shape. I saved these shapes for the sun printing.
Start with a washed piece of white piece of cotton in your desired size. Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets because they will repel the paint. Keep in mind your end product, because I had to add strips of fabric to the sides of my painted fabric to make it big enough for the pillow size I wanted. They looked nice with the extra fabric strips, but if you don’t want to do extra sewing start with a larger piece of cotton.
You have to start with transparent fabric paint for this process to work. Opaque paint or thick paints won’t sun print. Setacolor by Pebeo or Profab by Pro Chemical and Dye transparent fabric paints both work well. I haven’t tried out other brands, but any thin paint should work. Mix your paint with water (2 parts water to 1 part paint). Place your fabric onto a plastic covered surface that you can move around. I used a small table. The plastic makes clean up much easier. I anchored the plastic with bricks so that any breeze would not blow the plastic up over the fabric.
For this next part you have to work quickly so that your fabric stays wet. I sprayed the fabric down with water so that it was very wet.
Then I applied the fabric paint and water mixture to the fabric in the shade. Paint the fabric with two to three colors and blend the edges. I sprayed the fabric with extra water to make the paint blend better.
While the paint is very wet place your stencil or freezer paper pieces on. I placed the freezer paper pieces in a random pattern across the fabric. Make sure that they are pressed down and are making full contact with the fabric.
Then move your surface into the sun and wait for the fabric to dry. When the fabric is dry you will have the outline of the stencil printed onto the fabric. After the paint is completely dry, heat set the fabric with an iron.
Next I placed the stencil back onto the shapes on the painted fabric and traced all the inside lines of each one.
I placed the fabric onto a piece of white flannel that was slightly larger and pinned it down with quilting pins. The flannel will add a slight loft the quilted piece without being too thick or puffy. I did not use a backing fabric since this piece will be the inside of a pillow cover and won’t be seen.
I picked a coordinating thread for each piece of fabric and free-motion quilted the shapes and the negative space. For the cathedral I only did select lines, and for the others I followed the basic shape of the inside lines of the stencil.
Then I squared the quilted pieces and sewed strips onto each side. I wanted a piece that was big enough to fit and 12” X 16” pillow form. I added a zipper to the bottom edges of each pillow cover, so that they could be removed for cleaning.
Here are some links that explain how to sew a pillow cover if you want more information.
Here is a link to another sun printing tutorial that explains more of the possibilities of this wonderful printing method.
I hope that you can find a way to brighten up your living spaces this week and maybe even make some pillows that you designed yourself.
Have a great weekend,