This is the 28th episode, wow! I’m past the halfway mark in my year-long challenge exploring how to draw on fabric. It’s very exciting to see a drawing on paper, recreated on fabric using simple tools like sewing machine needle and threads.
When I talked about the upside down design technique in episode 26, I promised to do a Suspension Bridge. So this episode, it’s all about the suspension bridge and the 6 reasons you should draw onpaperr before fabric
Last weekend, I talked to one of my “follow-along students”. I was so pleased that by watching my videos and reading the tips and techniques in my blog posts, she’s creating her own stitched drawings. I’m really proud of her progress.
What’s more, when she emailed me pictures of what she’s been working on, I was totally blown away. I advised her about the importance of drawing your sketch on paper before you draw on fabric. And then, I thought it’ll be good to share the information here for all. Especially if you’re looking to learn how to draw on fabric, or you’re following along with me in Stitch the Sketch.
To draw on fabric, start with a photo or subject you like. Working with something you like keeps you motivated even in the face of challenges.
I usually draw my design in my sketchbook. Then I enlarge and trace it to tracing paper. Then, I use one of the methods for tracing on to fabric to trace my design onto my background fabric. So 3 steps here: (1) draw the bare outlines of your design (2) shade your outline drawing (3) enlarge and trace to fabric.
Even if you don’t know how to draw, you can trace. Trace your design on paper and shade it first before you trace it onto your fabric. Only then should you draw on fabric with your sewing machine.
This process, although seemingly long, has advantages. I find that it gives me three opportunities to learn the intricacies of my drawing before working in threads and fabric.
If you’ll just stick around with me, I’ll show you many more benefits to this approach.
6 Reasons You Should Draw on Paper Before You Draw on Fabric
- Undo Without Ripping Out Seams
It’s very easy to erase your pencil sketch and redraw it or make edits. But it’s extremely time and effort consuming to rip the stitches out when you make a mistake as you draw on fabric.
- Familiarity with Your Line Drawing
You learn the minute details of your sketch/design when you’re drawing (on paper). Each pencil mark you make is a learning point. This learning helps you make important decisions about how to draw on fabric even before you sit at your sewing machine to stitch.
- Good Pencil Shading Translates to Good Thread Shading
Don’t just stop at drawing the outline of your sketch. Take it a step further and shade your sketch. Use different shading techniques – cross hatching, spaced parallel lines, solid colors, and squiggles to name a few. Also employ at least three different values of shading – light, medium and dark. This helps you determine what values work best for shading on fabric.
- Sure Fire Method for Thread Selection
Being able to choose the right threads for your work is a very important element in this kind of work. After all we”re talking about stitched drawings here :-). Both your outline drawing and your shaded drawing give you the winning combination for making the right thread choices (especially values) for your design.
- Evaluate the Strength of Your Composition
When you draw your design and stand back to take a look, you’ll notice really fast if you’ve got any problem areas. You can objectively critique and edit problems in your design at the “drawing on paper” stage. Because it’s just a matter of erasing. However, because t’s tedious to correct an already stitched design, you’ll be less objective at the “draw on fabric” stage.
- Cell Memory
Drawing on paper first, results in cell memory for your brains. Without realizing it, your brain memorizes the strokes you use to draw and trace your design on paper. As a result of that, when you start to sew, it no longer becomes uncharted territory for your brain. The result is you’re more relaxed when you’re sewing your drawing. That alone is good enough reason for you to draw on paper first.
Do you draw on paper before stitching? Why or why not? Will you try to draw on paper first, before you draw on fabric? Share your thoughts below.
Watch and read about the entire Stitch The Sketch series.