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Surface Design Sample Savvy

Embellishment techniques for fabric require a bit of doodling around, testing each idea on small fabric samples. In preparation for the first Fit for Art La Cascade adventure, Enchanting France-Embellishing Fabric, I have been doing just that, scheduling time every couple of weeks to test ideas and techniques.  If you are not coming to France, similar sample making techniques will be practiced in the “Surface Design Fun” class August 1 at the ASG conference in Boston.

If you can clear your mind of the need for finished projects, sample making is a very freeing exercise.  You try out new ideas and techniques for no other purpose than to learn the process and spark a creative fire.  Even though I have been using these techniques a while, embracing the sample making process gave me the freedom to push the boundaries of each concept or technique.

Painted samples.

This is what the participants in our French retreat will do this summer.  Theirs will be a most luxurious week enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of French village life, seeing new sights and practicing embellishment techniques.  I am so excited to watch their ideas and skills grow and flourish in the cozy La Cascade art studio.  But I also couldn’t help thinking of ways these samples could be worked into successful finished projects.

Samples buttoned to a ribbon for display and inspiration.

In a previous post you read about the free motion raw edge collage samples I turned into fabric post cards.  After making a series of collage pieces, I chose the best to turn into postcards that now decorate a jacket.

Some of the fabric postcards.

Another idea required me to step out of my garment sewing comfort zone and create a tote bag that includes painted samples, boro samples and free motion quilting techniques.  I used a collection of small coordinating fabrics I purchased in Paris years ago to connect the samples with sashing.  I used my memories of previous French trips to inspire composition of the painted and boro samples.

French fabrics purchased in Paris.

It took a while to finish the samples and then design and construct the bag.  My tote bag is a sample of samples and I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Partially constructed.

As I use it, I plan to assess how I like the size of the bag, the length and thickness of the handles, the flat bottom design, the usefulness of the interior pockets and more.

Interior pocket designed for my phone.

I will also pay attention to how each technique stands up to the rigors of tote bag life.  So when I make another one, it will be even better. That is what samples and things made with samples teach you, how to keep tinkering your way to perfection.

The Boro Side

Do you have a practice of making samples or a series of samples?  Have you used your samples to decorate a garment, accessory or wall art?  Participate in one of our Surface Design events or retreats. Take the class at the National ASG conference or save the dates, July 15-22, 2020 to come along on our Enchanting French adventure next year.

Carrie and her mom making Boro samples at last year’s Summer retreat.

Happy Sewing, RAE


1 thought on “Surface Design Sample Savvy

  1. What a great looking tote!

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