22 August 2012

Scribbling on Fabric Tutorial

First of all.  Thank you so much for your kind words on my last post.  Hardships seem just a bit easier when you know someone else is going through the same thing.  Like my mom commented, there's an amazing community of women who come here and I appreciate it.  So, thanks.

Secondly, do you remember when I had my 15 minutes of fame on designmom.com?  Yeah, that was fun.  I thought I'd bring that tutorial back over to my own humble little blog.  I'd love to hear if anyone has tried this technique yet.  After looking at the photos again, it gives me a hankering to try it again on something else (especially when I've just stocked up on a few more sulky thread spools!)  It would be neat on a headband or fascinator or a pocket or a skirt overlay...thoughts?
✂ ✂ ✂
Every so often I hold a series on my blog entitled "Once Upon a Thread."  Basically, it's a bunch of sewing fanatics who come up with projects based on children's literature.  I love it.  Sometimes my mind wanders when I ought to be focusing on the book I'm reading to one of my kids....oooooh!  I know what I could make based on this book!  It was no different when I discovered Hervé Tullet's phenomenally enrapturing (and just plain fun) books.  Once I got The Scribble Book in my hands, my mind began churning and this is what I came up with: Fabric Scribbling!
This technique will work on any pattern piece, of course, but I made mine on the collar.  Let's get started.
What you'll need:
✂ Pattern Piece: Start with something small like the collar, a pocket, or small ruffles, and if you're really ambitious, you could do an entire skirt overlay.
✂ Fabric: I used some chiffon nylon that doesn't fray, but you can use some fine regular tulle, it just won't be as soft.  Here's a good online source.  Trim the seam allowances that you won't be using.
✂ Thread: Use a decorative thread with a bit of sheen on both the top and in the bobbin.
✂ Water Soluble Stabilizer
✂ Water:  In a spray bottle that can create a fine mist.
 This is what the water soluble stabilizer looks like.  You need the heaviest weight for this project.
Using variegated thread that alternates between a few different shades makes it look more like you've pulled the colors from a giant box of crayons.  You will also need to attach the darning presser foot on your sewing machine.
Cut a piece of the stabilizer the same size as your fabric pieces with the wrong side facing down.  Spray lightly with the water and smooth the fabric on top of the stabilizer.  Allow to dry completely on a hard surface.
Before you begin sewing you will need to lower your feed dogs, those jaggedy things that go up and down, moving the fabric under the presser foot.  There will either be a button or a knob that will disengage (or lower) the feed dogs.
Lower your presser foot and begin sewing toward the middle (or on the edge of the seam allowance that will be enclosed inside the seam.  Hold the fabric as tot as you can and move it any direction you want to make scribbles!
 You can scribble, write in cursive, whatever you feel like doing.
 Rinse the fabric in warm water and slightly agitate it to help dissolve the stabilizer, until no longer sticky.  Dry flat or iron on low and continue with the construction of the garment.
I found that the closer I sewed to the edge, the flatter it lay.
 And if you haven't checked out The Scribble Book, it's pretty fantastic.
 Now I just need 5 more copies for the rest of my kids!

Plus one for me.


  1. Awesome! I'm halfway to figuring out how to make a pangolin for Nicole for Christmas--her favorite book right now is Anna Dewdney's Roly Poly Pangolin and there aren't any commercial pangolin toys out there!

  2. I love this post!
    Did you use any pattern in specific for this dress?
    I love it!!! the NECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. you are so kind to put together such helpful tutorials! the last picture of your beautiful little one looks like a photo out of a magazine~



  4. Yes, that last photo, WOW. Darling dress and great tutorial.

  5. Yay! Thanks for posting this. I would've never figured it out on my own.

  6. Stunning, stunning, stunning! (As always.) Great tip about using the water soluble stabiliser. I want that dress for me :)

  7. Cute, cute, cute! Good tutorial too. Makes it seem pretty easy/do-able.

  8. Great post! Your daughter is too cute. She has a 1920's look going, so pretty!

  9. Did u make the dress pattern? It is awesome! The stitching, the colors, the collar is fantastic. Do tell if the dress pattern can be found anywhere.

  10. She is absolutely DARLING! That dress is amazing! I've never thought to free hand with stabilizer, I do a lot of free hand quilting and it might be easier with stabilizer, hmmm, I may have to think on that, and the necklace? Oh Katie, I'd just love to be your neighbor!

  11. I love this adorable dress.

    Funny that I would happen on this blog today. I have spent the Summer trying to figure out how to free form a tree on a quilt square, I have been putting it off. Today, the kids went back to school and I have just a moment to grow a tree. Just needed the umpf to do it.

  12. Ooooh this is so pretty! I need to do this one day. Thanks for sharing the tutorial and your blog is not a humble little blog, it's one of my favourites in the whole blogosphere! :-*

  13. Kathya and Anita: there is more information about the pattern I used as a springboard in the original posting here:


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