Working with paper

I love to incorporate many different textures and materials into my textile art work. One of the materials I adore to work with is paper. All sorts of paper – gift wrapping, tissue paper, craft paper, scrapbooking paper, paper doilies, paper towel, paper bags – the list goes on.

You can rework papers by painting, distressing, hand stitching, layering fabrics, glimmer, folding, tearing cutting and wherever your creative mind takes you.

Grab some paper and experiment.

A hint for you if  you are intending to free motion embroider or to sew paper, is that it is good to be able to reduce tearing. What I do to strengthen the paper is to iron a fabric backing onto the sewing paper using  fusible web. To do this cut a piece of fusible web the same size as the paper you are going to sew lay it over the back of the sewing paper and without removing the backing which is attached to the fusible web use a dry iron the melt and fuse the web to the paper. Then peel the paper backing off the fusible web and iron it to a piece of  fabric trimmed to the size of the sewing paper (I use calico or gauze) .Fusible web melts when dry heat is applied.

A small paper project

No 1

Choose some fabric and paper, in this project I have used a medium to heavy weight scrap booking paper, hand dyed felt, water colour paper and silk fabric.


Fusible web, felt or any fabric, water colour paper or such and another plain fabric. I chose four different scrap booking papers two patterned, one with butterflies and one with flowers.

no 2.

To start with cut three square layers, two paper, one fabric and each cut slightly larger than the other, as you can see in this image. You will sandwich the felt/fabric between to layers of paper.

No 3

Cut the fusible web to the same size as your top layer of patterned and your felt/fabric layer. Iron the fusible web to the back of the patterned paper and fabric. Make sure you leave the backing which is attached to the web on the fusible web. If you have not ever used fusible web before there is a fabric side and a paper side, the fabric side is what melts and adheres. After the web is fused to the patterned paper and the fabric peel the attached backing  away from the fusible web.

Handy hint: I use baking paper both underneath my work and on top when using fusible web to protect the work space and iron


No 6

Now place the patterned paper on top of the felt/fabric and iron with a dry iron until the fusible web has melted. Do same with the felt/fabric to the bottom paper layer. Cut your bottom layer of plain fabric slightly larger than the existing  bottom patterned paper layer. You will need to cut a piece of fusible web the same size as your bottom patterned paper piece. Then dry iron the fusible web onto the back of the patterned paper, remember not to peel the attached fusible web backing until it has fused. Keeping the layers upside down (large piece of paper is now at top) place your plain fabric on the sticky side and iron again until it has fused together. Now you are ready for sewing.



Now I will make my sewing machine ready for free motion stitch by attaching the free motion embroidery foot and dropping the feed dogs. If your machine doesn’t allow for free motion embroidery you could make a zig zag boarder or whatever you choose. The first layer of stitching I have created a boarder which is free and organic, not measured. I only use straight stitch, go for it make it your own.

No 12

Just for a bit of fun I am using a decorative tape such as what is used in scrapbooking and stitching it close to the original felt/fabric boarder. I have added more stitching to the outside of the tape and onto the back piece of fabric. Just play and see what you like best.


no 14

As this finished art work is going to be flowers and butterflies I have added green zig zag stalks.


I cut out the butterflies and flowers from the paper you can see in the background, I add theses to the existing art work and create a 3d effect.




You can see here just using a straight stitch and different coloured threads you can attach the flowers and butterflies.


Finally I mount it onto a piece of water colour paper. Dabble round the edges in a little water colour paint  and then rub a gold glimmer or buff over the tape and edges. This project is just for fun please enjoy the play and take creating with paper as far as you desire. The last image shows you some different ways I have used paper.



old city pictures sh fb 007-1



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