Paint on Fabric, not on walls!

coloring, Fiber art, How to, mixed media, painting on fabric, workshop -

Paint on Fabric, not on walls!



Do you have to know how to draw to paint or thread sketch on fabric?

 If you are like a lot of the people I interact with you have been a quilter for a long time.

Beginning with...

Traditional Quilt Blocks

  • Straight lines/seams
  • Colors
  • Visual textures/patterns on the cloth
  • Values
  • Easy to sew (chain piecing is fast)
  • Easy to cut (rotary cutters & straight edge ruler)

Curved Piecing

  • Using acrylic templates
  • Smaller rotary cutters
  • Templates available for traditional patterns like Pickle Dish, Double Wedding Ring, Drunkards Path

For Pictorial quilts:


  • More freedom of expression
  • More time consuming
  • Many methods: needle turn, freezer paper, hand or machine stitching, fusible web

One of the things you saw over time with the quilt movement was as people continued to quilt, the quilting became:

  • more precise
  • more complex
  • piecing both easier (with shortcuts) and more difficult (smaller pieces)

The trend...

...over the past 10-15 years has been Modern Quilting.  In general this reflected a desire for

  • larger scale pieces
  • using solids
  • lots of negative space
  • a trend from simple, close set sort of wobbly lines to where a longarm quilter can really show off her abilities to create less uniform but very complex art…or
  • designs like zentangle or doodling with thread
  • Or very precisely placed curves, as you see above, where you have to really know your stuff to get the effect you are aiming for

As quilting has changed direction (which is necessary in any field or the category just dies), we have seen a resurgence of other areas in fiber arts.  What springs into my brain right now is Knitting and Crochet.

We see an emphasis on creating large scale creations with oversize yarns, using larger tools and even doing the process using our arms as tools.

What this tells me is...

  • we still want to create
  • We have limited time
  • We don’t necessarily care if it is super precise (although it can’t be too wonky)
  • We still crave connection with others
  • We still want to be part of a community
  • We want to play, to do something fun
  • We want to make things that are useful and lasting

Where does this leave us?  How does painting on fabric or thread sketching fit into this? And do you have to know how to draw!?

First off... No you do not have to know how to draw.  You have to learn how to trace. I'll draw it for you. And teach you how to transfer it to fabric so you can paint it!

 free motion or coloring       

  1. It is fast, fun, and easy
  2. It doesn’t require a lot of tools to get started
  3. Doesn’t have to be precise. In fact it is better if it is NOT precise!
  4. Can be done with or without a sewing machine
  5. Has a wide application: It can be used for quilts, garments and home décor.

What is the drawback?

People think they must know how to draw.  But is this actually true???  What can you, a beginner, do?  Will it look like something the cat dragged in?  

Not if you learn the basics.  Seriously.

If you have wanted to step into the next, exciting arena, join me for a workshop on how to get started painting on fabric.  I would love to teach you some basics that would allow you to see how anyone, at any skill level, can create beautiful artwork on fabrics. I am in the process of developing an interactive workshop online. 

Do you want to know more?  Send me an email at and I'll add you to a contact list.

Are you curious about how you will learn to do this online?  Actually, you are involved in the process of creating this as we have the workshop.  This allows me to know what you are struggling with as it happens.  You learn about what you want to know, not get a cookie cutter class. 

  1. My plan is an interactive process... online, and done in short, daily blasts...each step should only take about 15 minutes.  
  2. The workshop has a definite starting and ending date. 
  3. You will be provided with 15 minutes of instruction every morning.  You have the option during the workshop of submitting questions. You can write your questions in the comments. I can answer right away if you are on "live" with me, or review them nightly. 
  4. Because you can interact with me, if you are “stuck” at any point, I can immediately address it the next day.  I will show how to do whatever it is you need.  This allows me to know where you need more help as well as helping you to clarify where you think your problem is.  It’s a major reason why I believe interactive is so important.  I don’t want to put a video together and have one area that is not clear but it’s too late to give more detail in it.  I’ve been there.  No matter how often you watch it, how you slow down the viewing, it still is baffling! Frustrating.  Annoying!!
  5. If life gets in the way and you cannot be present every morning, you can watch a replay of the workshop lesson.  Some people do better blocking off a morning to work through multiple steps rather than doing something each day.
  6. If you need to review the steps, they are available during the workshop and for 3 weeks afterward.  We all learn at a different pace.  And we all learn differently. Plus this gives time for it to settle in your head and then still get some questions answered. You aren't abandoned at the end of the class.
  7. Because many of us learn best by seeing it done and hearing it explained, this is done with live video. 
  8. However, if you are like me, you need to read the directions… so there are handouts provided.  You can create your own “book” to refer to later. These are available as files you can download.  Save the PDF to your computer or print them and save them in a folder or do both!

Are you a kinesthetic learner?  My son was.  I taught him to read in short order by “rewarding” him with instructions to RUN up the stairs between every sentence he learned to read. They were really long sentences, like:  "See Spot", "Spot is my dog".   Hey! Whatever works! He was reading everything within about 3 days. Obviously, you can pause the video at any time and run if that’s your gig.  Most of you won’t need to run, though. 

This is a hands-on workshop, so you will physically be creating your own project along with me.  You are provided with a supply list so you can be prepared with your products when the workshop begins. These are not cumbersome, hard to find, or super expensive items. 

Want to know more? 

Send me an email at 

I'll add you to the list and let you know more.  Just tell me you are interested in the online class about painting on fabric. The plan is to offer this in September, before the holiday crazies start!  Besides, you may actually want to create some items for the holidays using these techniques. Yes, you can make something lovely that other people will appreciate.  More importantly, you will love doing it!

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!



email me at with any questions you have or just get added to the Painting on Fabric list.

1 comment

  • Trisha Barnes

    October 22, 2019 (Edmonton, Alberta Canada)

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