Color and Design, DIY Sewing

Patchwork Color-blocking is like Painting!

You all know I was first an artist before I became a sewist right? Until last year when I started sewing all my clothes, I made more paintings than clothes for myself (but pleeennnty for my kids). When I started sewing more, I wanted it to fill the same creative need as painting. I’ve done that in different ways in the past 6 months. Besides real paint on the fabric, or designing fabric digitally, I have enjoyed painting WITH fabric. That’s right. I’m calling patchwork, quilting and color-blocking…. paint-with-fabric. That’s what it feels like to me! I love juxtaposing different colors and shapes to make a new fabric design. You can see I also did this here-– only for this version I was scared, and just appliquéd it to the top of the existing pant fabric.

First I want to talk about how I patch-worked 4 different fabrics to create this Kaste Dress. I used heavyweight ponte from Stylish Fabrics (they have a great selection!) because I didn’t want wonky patchwork and this dress was meant for non-woven.

You can see on My Design Line, the original color-blocking lines were a little different. I had originally thought I’d only do a few different blocks of color. But something happened when I began…. I just wanted to keep cutting and sewing pieces together! I was having so much fun cutting different shapes, “painting” with the fabric, that I couldn’t be stopped. I went with it.

You can see on the left panel that first I would sew the pieces together (I serged mine, but a lightening stitch would also work). Then, I would lay the pattern piece on top of it and cut out the correct shape (right side shows this).

When I needed to make a piece that would be sewn to another panel of patchwork, I would put them next to each other to see where I wanted them to be joined (shown here), and then I would cut out the pattern piece.

When you are “painting with fabric” this way, you have to constantly check how things work next to each other before you sew them up!

Here I laid them next to each other to see what I thought before sewing the lower back left and and right sides together.

Look at that dress! And the TULLE I added to the sleeves might be my favorite part!!!

Next I want to show you how I did it on a shirt!

Look at that patchwork! I used scraps from previous mustard yellow projects to make the patchwork for this top.

I actually had to alter the pattern front for this top to have that diagonal line in the front. I cut it and added 3/8 in seam allowance to both pieces. (Also, it was supposed to be on the fold so I had to add 3/8″ SA to the center of the pattern as well.)

Here you can see the steps I took.

  1. I sewed strips of fabric together of varying widths.
  2. I took to chunks of sewn strips and sewed THOSE together (like quilting!)
  3. I laid the pattern piece on top and cut it out.
  4. I took the first piece I cut out and laid it on the remaining quilted fabric (RST) to determine where I wanted to cut out the other side

This is how I felt about that top!!! SO HAPPY!! The sleeves were also from another pattern that I bought JUST to make those cool sleeves. (MCCall’s m7890)

It’s not super complicated to patchwork. You need to be aware of grainlines and stretch, but other than that, its just like quilting but for your clothes! Or like I say, painting with fabric!!!

GO DO IT! And tag me on your makes so I can see! Check out more info and photos on my INSTAGRAM (and a dance that’s coming tomorrow!)

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