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Archive for the ‘Surface Design’ Category

Screen Printed Garments!

Monday, July 20th, 2020
My new Queen Anne’s Lace top. I screen printed my custom designs onto Cotton Couture solids (courtesy of Michael Miller Fabrics), this color is “Luna.”
In the summer of 2020 I saw Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewitt somewhere online and ordered it immediately. It’s FAB! is available many places including Amazon . DO check out Jen’s site, here. Of course it took until April to start playing and until now to post. For the workshop and this post I wanted to use a pattern currently available that is similar to two vintage (circa mid 1980s) patterns that I still make over and over because I love them so much.
There are LOTS of great photos and step outs in the book.
Table of Contents
Since my favorite patterns are decades out of print, I selected this one for this project in case anyone wants to buy the book for further instruction. It comes with the pattern included.

I’ve been developing some new classes using paint on cloth and I thought as part of being a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador and a Janome Artisan what better thing to do than combine all these things I love in one! Some of you may remember this post from when I did a DIY improvement to my hall sconces; one of the lampshades was Queen Anne’s Lace screen printed on linen. I used the thermofax screens I made for that again for this top.

Step one is testing various mixes of color to get just what I wanted. You can see a colorful little plastic “flat not-a-spoon”–that is a make-up paddle, available in packages on Amazon for about $5 for 100 (more than a lifetime supply). They are great for getting into small paint jars. I used to use some Gelato spoons a shop gave me, but the flat paddles are better for scraping off (and not wasting) excess paint).
The paints I used are ProFAB Transparent paints from ProChemical and Dye, but most textile paints will work. These have a particularly soft hand to them. Starter kits are a great and cost-effective way to try them out (I have a pair of kits available here; also available in just one or the other types of paint).
LABEL what you use, what base paints are in the mix. I can promise you, with three yellows and three blues in 15 minutes I will forget which one is which! I keep these test-scraps for future reference.
I used freezer paper to make stencils for the stems. I could have made a thermofax screen, but the mesh is expensive and Freezer Paper is cheap.
I used a thermofax screen of grasses I had used for my lampshade for the bottom of the garment. I cut oversized pike for the front, back, and what I thought would be a trim for the sleeves. I later decided to leave the cuff/bottom of the sleeves plain.
I used the grass screen to decorate the “facing” piece. Instead of putting the facing on the inside of the garment, I turned it to the outside as a decorative element.
Ooops! Sometimes goobers happen. Any unwanted random little smudges of paint are quickly wet and scraped away. Or you just live with them.
The printing was done in four steps: 1. Print stems over freezer paper stencil and let dry. I ended up adding another flower later on, so had to add another stem as seen here. 2. Print grass with thermofax screen. Let dry. 3. The thermofax screen for the Queen Anne’s Lace was made from my pen and ink drawing. My lampshades were all green on white linen. For this blouse, I wanted the flowers to be white, so I **carefully** screen printed the stems through the screen (seen above left) and let them dry. 4. Then I went back in with a creamy white (mixed from white with a dab of yellow) to do the flowers. This is the point where you pray you don’t mess up!
When mixing light colors, start with a larger amount of the lightest color and put in just the TINY-est touch of color…it takes surprisingly little yellow to turn that glob of white into a softer white or barely-green. After purchasing the multicolored make up paddles, I discovered these square cornered white ones. They are great for applying small amounts of paint carefully through a thermofax screen and for getting into the bottom edges of the ProChem jars.
Once I had the front and back printed, I pinned them together and tried them on. The grasses on the bottom looked sparse, wimpy. And I wanted the shirt a bit shorter. So I went back in with the same screen, offsetting it so the same shapes weren’t repeated too closely, and did a second layer higher up. I didn’t care if the printing didn’t follow all the way up what would become the hem on the inside. And that way I could just use the same screen instead of making another one.
For the “facing” on the outside, I cut the outer edge of the interfacing very carefully so I could iron the seam allowance over it and create a lovely, smooth outside curve.
If you are new to garment making, be SURE to clip your curves well so that the facing turns and lies nice and flat.
My favorite way to get a perfect edge stitch is old school: using the zipper foot!
Place the edge of the zipper foot against the edge where you want to stitch. In this case I need to use the left side of the foot. Move the needle so that it drops a few threads away from the folded edge. I use a fingernail or thumbnail as an edge guide and don’t sew too quickly. There are indeed “edge feet” for this purpose, but I find that the blades can bend or not be as precise as I want them to be (not to mention visibility isn’t as good as doing it this way). I’d already completed the top when I took this shot, so you can see how perfectly my Janome M7 stitched!
For the hem, I decided I would use a blind hem stitch instead of hand-sewing it. The blind hem stitch I selected is for woven cloth, with straight stitches in between the zigs (#18…on the yellow part of the screen you can see that stitch 19 is a blind hem stitch for knits). Over on the white, it shows the settings and to use the G foot which I am holding up It has an “ice skating blade” (i.e. guide) in the middle.
You can see the metal guide in the center of the foot. As above, I set up this photo after the garment is complete, which is why you see stitching at th bottom of the image. To prepare for blind hem stitching, you fold the hem up with the raw edge pressed to it will be inside the hem. You then fold back the outside of the garment so that the soon-to-be-hidden part of the hem is barely visible, about 1/8″. The body of the garment folds away to the left. The straight stitching on the hem is done with the needle in the curvy part of the “blade” where it stitches on the inside of the hem. The flat part of the blade snugs up against the folded back fabric, and the “Zig” part of the stitch takes a little nibble of the outside of the garment.
My thread matched the Luna Cotton Couture perfectly. It is challenging to see those tiny hem stitches on the right side of the garment.
Back view
Side view–I love how the design goes all the way around. I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini tutorial! Thanks again to Janome for their 16+ years of sponsorship and to Michael Miller for having me as a Brand Ambassador this year!

Check box! TWO Ribbons!!!!!

Friday, February 28th, 2020
for Lupines and Rose Hip

And yes, I meant every single one of those excessive exclamation points. Usually I’m lucky to get two out of two quilts juried in to a given show. This time, not only did both Lupines and Rose Hip get in to the Mancuso Brother’s Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, they BOTH RIBBONED!!!!!! That is a bucket list item that I never, ever, Ever, EVER expected to check off! Guess what…done! To the judges: THANK YOU for making a dream come true!

Rose Hip, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2019. 36″ square. This quilt won Best Use of Color in the Wall Quilts division at the show. One of my favorite quilts, in part because it is of my beloved Maine, but also because I’ve been able to meld my personal hand dyes, a hand dye by Lisa Walton, fabrics printed and over-painted by me, to create a cohesive image.

I’ve never won a prize such as Best Use of Color at a national level show, so I am particularly pleased–my work is about color, and then about the quilting. Next August 5-7 I’m going to be teaching a three-day workshop, Exploring Paint on Cloth, at ProChemical and Dye in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’ll be sharing the techniques I used in both of these quilts in that workshop and hope some of you can join me! Details in the hotlink. I’m deep in the planning for the specifics of what we can do in three days and getting so psyched for it!

Lupines won Third in Wall Quilts…given the quality of the quilts I am surprised, delighted, honored…. there are some mighty fine quilts in this show! And once again, to the judges: THANK YOU for making a dream come true!

A Snowy Owl at the Library of Congress!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

Well today sure started off well…. got an email from curator and exhibit organizer extraordinaire Donne DeSoto that my Snowy Owl, from Acadia National Park, will be on display at the Library of Congress soon! Here’s the LoC’s information on the exhibit–I SO wish I lived close enough to go see it!

Here’s my owl, based on photographs I took at nearby Clarry Hill Ridge. Of course I had to pick something from Acadia National Park, here in Maine. The fabrics are my hand dyes, include a little bit of paint, and lots of threadwork!

This quilt is part of the Inspired by the National Parks exhibit which debuted in the National Parks Centennial Year. The exhibit will finish its phenomenal run in February at the Mancuso Brother’s Mid-Atlantic show. Donna told me the exhibit has been to THIRTY ONE venues in the three years it has traveled! That is astounding! So many thanks to Schiffer Publishing for putting out the tome with all our quilts and to the other participants. But most of all, special thanks to Donna. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work it is to keep tabs on so many quilts and get them traveling so many places for multiple years. THANK YOU DONNA!

Christmas arrived early thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics!

Monday, December 30th, 2019

I mentioned earlier that I am DELIGHTED to have been selected as a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador for 2020. As part of that we received, just before Christmas (Squee!), a box of goodies to use. I cannot WAIT to get into the studio to play. As a reward for getting all the gift wrapping and prep actually done before the 24th, I treated myself to opening the box on December 23rd, but waited until today to post and share the joy.

There are so many goodies in this package I hardly know where to start, but since I am prepping for a new 3-day workshop, Exploring Paint on Cloth (details here) August 5-7 at ProChemical and Dye in Massachusetts, I think I’ll start with the Krystal and some of my thermofax screens and paint!

These are the “color cards” for this year, and OH MY what joy awaits inside. It’s going to be a FUN year!
Here’s those color cards opened up. Top to bottom: Fairy Frost, Marbles, Krystal and Cotton Couture–all 214 colors!!!!!!! SWOON!

Thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics @michaelmillerfabrics for selecting me. Can’t wait to get started on my projects!

Free for ONE Week, my episode on The Quilt Show

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

For just ONE WEEK  from October 13-20, viewers anywhere with the not-so-secret code will be able to see my episode, No. 2508, on The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson, will be able to see the episode for free!    Just use this code:  {  http://thequiltshow.com/watch/show-list/video/latest/show-2508-sarah-ann-smith?artist_coupon=25081013  }  from the 13th to the 20th–I so hope you enjoy it!   Free Viewing time starts at 12:00:01 a.m. Sunday October 13, 2019!  
I will confess–I was mightily relieved and happy when I saw it on the 6th when it went live for members of The Quilt Show.   It looks great, I didn’t look or sound like a total dork, and I packed in a lot of information!

First it was live, now it is free for ONE WEEK ONLY! Click HERE to see it before it turns back into a pumpkin/Members Only viewing!
Taping was such an amazing experience…this vast soundstage, seeing the huge booms with the cameras (you can see one coming in from the left), how they project the logo onto the wall and faux brick wall, how the massive counters just roll around the space, how a longarm can easily be rolled hither and yon. Behind photographer Adele Merrell (thank you AGAIN for these fabulous photos and memories), to her left and back, are the risers with seats for the audience. And on the right, one of the two large monitors, one on each side, so the audience can see what the camera sees (in case the camera is blocking their view).
The audience, watching Alex and Ricky talking about how to get perfect miters on borders.
The impressive array of monitors in the control room where the producers sit. The communicate with the cameramen and crew through headsets.
Justin, Alex, me, Ricky and John, the four principals (the ARJJ in the Quilt Show ownership) in the TQS logo aprons I made for them with custom thermofax screens. I was delighted they were in use on the set within days of taping!
At the very end of the last segment…can you tell I was happy and relieved it went well?

Here’s that special link again… it will ONLY work from midnight a.m. October 13 through October 20, 2019. It means anyone can watch the episode, not just TQS members. But I gotta say, I have been around a long time, know a lot, and yet I LEARN a lot from watching The Quilt Show. I’m proud and pleased to now be a part of–as they put it–The TQS Family. Thank you Ricky, Alex, Justin, John, Shelly, Lilo and all the gang!