Getting started with fabric and fibre

Fabric and fibre resources

  • A supply of open-weave fabric, for example hessian, netting
  • A resource box of scraps of plain and patterned fabrics in a variety of textures
  • A collection of discarded clothes and household fabrics, for example curtains, towels, sheets
  • A wide selection of fibres, including cotton, nylon and lurex threads, wool, string, raffia, grasses, straw, rope, cord, twine
  • Scraps of available trimmings, for example lace, ribbons, cords
  • A collection of discarded buttons, beads, sequins and large fruit stones and seed pods that can be pierced
  • Large stitching, knitting, crochet and tapestry needles
  • A simple loom or any small rigid frame
  • Scissors
  • Glue

A mixed-media approach could include:

  • Tie-dyeing, painting or printing the backing fabric with fabric paint or crayons and using the shapes that result as the basis for the appliqué design
  • Painting scraps of sheer fabric (such as curtain net), applying them in layers to the backing surface and cutting them back for interesting colour and textural effects
  • Adding decorative stitches in contrasting fibres and colours over and between the applied and/or painted shapes
  • Adding beads and sequins
  • Adding padded shapes for a three-dimensional effect
  • Combining any collage material with appliqué

The finished work can then be hung as a wall hanging or used as a cushion cover, for example.