Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to create a simple Fabrique of your own.

I've been doing Fabriques for a few years now, five or six, ever since my sister told me over the phone how to create fabric art . She explained it to me in a matter of a few sentences and I got the stuff and tried it.  Loved it. Became hooked.

So I'm going to explain it here, in case anyone else wants to try it.
The idea is to create wall art, a picture or an abstract, with fabric scraps, but NOT by sewing them.  This is crucial and a huge draw for me, because ever since ninth grade home ec, I have been, shall we say, uncomfortable around a sewing machine. I will describe how to do a simple abstract in this blog and later will expand to doing a picture.

First, get yourself some foam board.  It comes in 20 x 30 inch boards at Hobby Lobby, for about $5, but which you can often find at half price.  That's a pretty big piece of board for a first try, so you may want to use your t-square to cut it in half or even into 10 x 10 squares.

When the foam board is cut to size, create a one-inch margin around the perimeter.

You will also need:
a pencil
an exacto knife
some fabric scraps
a seam ripper
sharp scissors

On a separate piece of paper, work up your design.  As Caroline, my sister, told me, just make a swirl with your pencil on the page, one that loops over itself a few times so that you end up with lots of enclosed spaces. Be sure that the end point meets up with the beginning point.You aren't going for anything too complicated, but a figure that gives you seven or eight spaces. I like to encourage first-timers to do a few of those to get warmed up and free flowing. When you get the feel of it, do another one on the foam board, staying inside the margin lines.

Using the exacto knife, carefully trace your lines, creating a slit about half way into the foam board, but not all the way through it. Go over all the lines and while you're at it, go ahead and with a straight edge (metal, if you have it) cut the margin lines.

It is into these lines that you will insert your fabric.

Now choose your fabrics and decide what will go into which space.

Start with an inside area and lay the fabric over that space. Tip: Use the edge of the fabric, instead of the center, to save as much of it as you can. Using the seam ripper, gently push the fabric into the slit, following the line all the way around the space.  Take out any puckering if you can. When the whole space is covered and the fabric is securely tucked in, clip it as closely as you can to the foamboard, laying your scissors sideways.

Remove the extra fabric and tuck the fabric in cleanly all the way around with your seam ripper.

Do the same thing for each space, adding color and charm as you go. You will see that most of your lines hold two fabrics.

You now have your no-sew fabulous art piece pretty much done. 

As for the surrounding area, you may prefer to leave it white.  You may want to add a fabric to provide background.  This gets tricky.

Now that you've had a little experience, you can see that getting a large piece of fabric to lay down smoothly and accommodate all those curves and corners, not to mention the margin corners, will require some expertise, if not magic. But magic is what we do.  Forge on.

You will need to add some lines (or cuts).  (We need to come up with a word for those trenches.)
You might like to reduce the background size to quarters, bringing a line in from the corners to the design. If those spaces still seem to be too large, go ahead and add a cross from the center of the top margin to the center of the bottom margin and from side to side.  Now you will have eight more manageable spaces to fill.  Mo' bettah.

Let me know how it goes.  I would love to see your photos.

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