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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Textile book

When browsing through Pinterest I came across a book made from fabric. I had a light bulb moment and decided that a textile artist should have a textile book. It makes sense because I can stitch my samples and trial pieces in it for further reference.
If you want to make one here is what I did.
I made the pages from muslin. Mine took 3 metres but yours may take more or less depending on the book size and thickness.
Cut muslin in to manageable sizes and paint with a runny PVA and water mix. I think Modge Podge would also work. This will stiffen the muslin and make it easier to handle. Lay it out on greaseproof paper to dry overnight.
Decide on the size of your book and make a cover to size. My book is 10 inches square. I decided to make my cover from felt but also needle felted other fabrics in to it with my embellishing machine. I added some hand dyed muslin, silk carrier rods, silk fibres, yarn and some scraps of chiffon. Next I added some hand stitching in concentric circles to give it texture. I made my cover 11 inches square but underestimated how much smaller it would become after stitching. If you intend to add lots of stitching I would recommend an extra 2 inches instead of one.
I decided to use the coptic method of binding but other methods would work as well. 
Your pages are made from the stiffened muslin. Do remember to cut each piece twice the size of each page when making your signatures. For a book 10 inches square the muslin should be cut 10 x 20 inches. Instead of folding with a bone folder I ironed the fabric. I found it much harder to stitch the pages together than it is with paper because even when stiffened the muslin moves around more.
Instead of using tapes or ribbon for the coptic binding I decided to get strips of muslin and twist them in to a cord. This worked quite well.
I have started to use my book to keep track of experiments that I've tried. It's always useful to keep them even if you feel that they haven't worked. Sometimes when looking back at a 'failure' it will spark off a new idea. My first page was a 'failure'. It started life as a hare, somehow turned in to a kangaroo but then my face book followers voted it to be a Jack Rabbit!
The second page is more promising. I have layered lots of fabrics, added machine stitching, blasted with a heat gun and then added hand stitching. The design started off inspired by tiles but now reminds me of little jewellery boxes or maybe a stained glass window. I think I will explore this technique some more.


  1. I admire your textile book. Sooooo creative and your pages that you have done your textile art on are just wonderful. You are very inspiring.