From the monthly archives:

May 2009

Post image for Preparing your fabric for Printing or Dyeing *BIG Tip Alert*

Don’t do this step and you risk RUINING your end product.

You may have never thought about this step but its’ absolutely crucial to a good finished product if you are dyeing or printing fabric. I have in the past tried to get away without doing this and sadly when it comes time to wash my product for the first time the pigment washes out in spots or fades unevenly. This is because all new fabric has been treated with sizing and finishes before it gets to you. You need to wash your fabric in order to get this sizing off otherwise it can and most likely will resist the pigment bond or cause your dyes to unevenly penetrate the fabric. There are two ways to get rid of the sizing in fabric, the official ‘right way’ and then the way that most of us do it. You can do it either way but the ‘right way’ usually requires a large studio where you have a access to large pot to wash the fabric in. I don’t, so I prepare my fabric in my washing machine.

You can buy ready to print fabric and some printers do but it costs more and generally only comes in white or natural colours. But if you don’t have a place to wash out your fabric or the time (and time is money!) then it’s another option. Fabric.com offers a dye ready fabric called KONA Ready Dye White at a decent price. So check that out as an option too.

The Right Way to Prepare your Fabric:
Boil material for 30-45 minutes in a solution containing 3 teaspoons Lissapol (soap) per 8 litres of water. Raise the temperature to 76 degrees celsius. (40 degrees maximum for silk and wool).
Remove the fabric from the bath and rinse carefully and dry. It’s a good idea to iron it out while it is still a bit damp.

My Way of Preparing My Fabric:
Wash in your washing machine in hot water with a detergent that is free from dyes, perfumes, and softeners. Repeat with one more washing then dry in your dryer. Removing fabric when it’s still a bit damp and press it.

BIG TIP: Sew the edges of your fabric before you wash it. You can use a a simple straight stitch. This will avoid massive fraying and tangling of your fabric. It can be quite a task to sew the edge of multiple meters of fabric but trust me it’s far better than trying to untangle 20m. of fabric.

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Good luck and happy printing!

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Reverse Engineering A Handbag

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Designing A Pattern From Scratch As a rule, when I want to learn how to do something new I learn best by doing. I could read, read and read some more but my learning curve is steeper if I just get my hands dirty and jump in. So last year when I decided to start […]

Read more → May 27, 2009

Using Strippers and Banishing Ghosts.

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All screen printers do it, or at least they should. Once or twice  a year I take the time to rejunvenate my screens. I try to wait until I start a brand new collection and when the weather turns nice enough to do outside. It is a labour intensive process but it totally rejunvenates my screens and so I […]

Read more → May 20, 2009

What does a gorilla, a dumb-dumb and an oil crisis give you?

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Pure Inspiration! Let me explain. Gorilla: It’s no secret that I love animals. If you’ve read my life story you’d see that I have had a lifelong passion for them which led me to study animal behavior psychology in university (pre art school). So it’s natural that they are a fairly constant focus of my work […]

Read more → May 17, 2009

Toronto Outdoor Art Show. I’m In!

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The largest outdoor art exhibition in Canada!  My July this year will start off in Toronto for the Outdoor Art Show on the 10th, 11th and 12th. I just found out last week that I was accepted into the show. I meant to apply last year but I forgot to send in my application. No […]

Read more → May 16, 2009

“Print In Fashion” by Marnie Fogg

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“Print In Fashion” may actually be worth your money. Even though I disagree with the first 100 words written in the book I think it stands out as a great book to own for anyone who wants to understand how the print industry and the fashion business collide. Most books on prints in fashion are irrelevant long before they […]

Read more → May 8, 2009

Inspired By Nature?

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While on vacation, not working, my mind was having a hard time resisting the urge to not work. Everywhere I went I saw fabulous prints and patterns popping up in nature. It was really gorgeous. And I got to thinking about some of my favorite modernist designers and how they expertly transformed the natural world […]

Read more → May 6, 2009