Friday 10 May 2013



Did I tell you my ambition this year is to make more fabric!!

I want to design and produce more Flower Press fabric designs. In particular I want to screenprint more designs, and if I've been a bit absent, a bit distracted that's why. I've been working behind the scenes to make this happen.

As you know from my recent Sewing with Flower Press post I get a big kick out of seeing what people make with my fabric. Up till now that has mostly meant digital quilting cottons. I love the way with digital I can create multicolour quilting fabrics like my Bricks and Marble prints and print them on quality Kona cotton. What fun! With digital design you can do anything - if you want to combine a hundred colours into one design you can. Swatch or yardage? No problem. Its a designer's dream.

Screenprinted fabric comes with more design limitations. There's more preparation in producing it. But handprinted fabric has its own quality which make us love it. Personally I love the vibrancy and texture and the graphic quality of screenprinting. I love the feel of it, the strong printed designs and the way they sit on the basecloth.

To me basecloth is all important to screenprinted textiles so part of my journey towards producing more has been finding the perfect basecloths. 

I'm always on the lookout for good fabric, and over the years have amassed samples from all over the place. My first criteria is they must be natural fibres which narrows the search to linen, cotton and hemp.

I love 100% linen for tea towels, its hard wearing qualities and substantial feel make this sustainable fibre a star.

For fabric panels that are going to be sewn I prefer linen/cotton blends to straight linen. I think they combine the great strength and character of linen with the better drape and usability of cotton. I find them easier to iron and a finer texture.

Cotton in all its guises is another favourite. There's something about the feel of freshly laundered cotton, its strength and durability and ease of care that make this versatile fabric so very popular. No wonder that quilts are made almost exclusively with cotton.

I was so happy when I sourced the perfect white cotton fabric recently. I love the weight and drape and feel of it. I also found some fabulous coloured cottons to play around with. I can't wait to print some of these neutrals.

And lastly, hemp is a new fibre to me. While I've seen this fabric around I hadn't had much to do with it up close until recently when I got some unused yardage when buying some secondhand screens. 

Wow, I was really impressed. Its a really nice fibre and it has a real radiance to it. It sort of glows. Its also smooth and strong and has great eco credentials. I snapped up a big batch of different weight hemp fabrics a couple of months ago when a local wholesaler had a sale, some of it a hemp/organic cotton mix. This will be fun to print on too.

As for the printing, I'm getting there. It is taking a while to get my setup perfect. The good news is that with my such a great range of fabrics bought I am a few steps closer to my goal. Expect some scrap packs made up of test prints to go up soon. I'm a big fan of the scrap pack myself (remind me to show you my collection some time!) so it will be fun to share some of my own.

p.s. yes, I know, I've messed up my blog template recently experimenting with tabs! I need to restore my saved template but life has been too busy. Time for a complete overhaul methinks!


  1. Love this post Susie. I agree with everything you've written :)
    I'm hoping to produce a greater range of handprinted fabrics this year too. Can't wait to see what you've been working on :) Kx

  2. I love that purple! What a colour. I keep hoping hoping HOPING that I'll have a printing table big enough to start some sort of meterage printing soon.... Maybe by the end of the year. Until then it's kitchen table printing for me.
    I love hemp fabric - so beautiful to print on and sew with, and so versatile with all the blends and weights and weaves. It has surely come a LONG way since the "hippie" days of hemp clothing.

    Can't wait to see what you start working on.

  3. My red rickrack skirt is still one of my favourites!

  4. Your base cloths look fantastic. Here in South Africa we are very limited to base cloths so yours look very exciting!I love the idea of pure linen and hemp.


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