Getting started with fabric and fibre

Observation and curiousity

The colours, shapes, forms, patterns and textures in the visual environment are a rich source of inspiration, especially for appliqu? work and weaving. Colour can be the most exciting aspect of a project. Close observation of everyday objects such as bricks, tree bark or peeling paint may show unexpected colour combinations. Initial experiments in collage, for example, may be confined to a limited colour range, with different textures added for contrast. Subtle colour differences may be introduced later in collage, applique, weaving and knitting. Children should be encouraged to use colour expressively as well as representationally.

The visual environment is an excellent source of ideas for creating textural effects. Close observation helps children to see that everything has a texture, whether smooth, rough, shiny or matt. Ways of interpreting texture in fabric and fibre could include:

  • Using fabrics that have interesting textures, for example knobbly, shiny, glittering, wispy, silky, corded, plastic Using a variety of fibres, including wool, string, plastic strips, cotton thread
  • Pulling threads, making holes, fraying, folding, pleating
  • Attaching oddments such as beads, feathers, buttons, pieces of old jewellery, wire
  • Experimenting with stitches of their own invention and, as they acquire dexterity with the needle, with established stitches
  • Adding pieces of knitting, crochet or weaving to the surface of a piece of fabric to create an effect