February is known for the month of love and passion, so I took advantage of this theme to combine two things I am very passionate about, my love for sewing and my love for painting. My inspiration came from watching my Facebook feed which is loaded with post from both sides of the art world, and I started seeing more posts where people started making coin purses and such out of their paintings, and I had to try it at least once. I know I can print fabric from places like Spoonflower or similar sites, but I wanted to use an actual painting.
The moment I signed up for the tour I poured the paintings on two 16x20 Artist's Loft canvas that I purchased from Michael's. I used 2oz. of craft paint in each color white, black, pink, red, silver, and teal for a bit of contrast, also purchased at Michael's. When attempting fluid art, you must add a pouring medium to make sure the paint flows properly. Normally I use Floetrol, which is not archival so I use it when practicing techniques, but in this case I wanted to make sure I started this right and used Liquitex Pouring Medium. I honestly didn't measure how much medium I used, but it was enough to make it the consistency of warm honey. I do not add water, but instead use a paint extender which is simialr to water but does not weaken the binders in the paint like water could. The best tool I used in this process that helped most of all was a washable marker. I could mark directly on the canvas and it washed right off with the smallest bit of water.
In speaking with Canadian Artist, Lori Grondin of Creative Souls Canada, I should have used Golden's GAC900 instead, a fabric medium that can be heat set to maintain the integrity of the painting. Liquitex also makes a fabric medium too that does not require a heat set, but I am certain heat set is best. Now I know for next time. If you would like to check out some beautiful examples of what is possible in fluid art, and then some, please check out Lori's links. They are not affiliate links, but I want to share just what is possible and she has an amazing talent that must be shared.
With the paintings done a month in advance to make sure they cured prior to sewing, I needed to find a pattern that was simple enough for this challenge. I turned to my Pinterest collection and found a great little free lined tote pattern on Craftsy designed by The Inspired Wren. Renee from The Inspired Wren is found all throughout the sewing community, and she has an amazing pattern collection available all over. The size for this particular tote was perfect for the canvas I used in the paintings. The pattern itself is beautifully written with easy to follow instruction. I highly recommend this pattern if you are looking for a good tote pattern. I also loves that it was easy to change up a bit for little things like adding extra pockets inside the side pocket for example. I would have added another pocket to the inside but I wanted to keep this first version basic.
For the construction of the bag, I followed the pattern instruction as they were written. I picked up some Duck Canvas Fabric in red for the pocket, straps, and bottom of the bag. I do recommend picking up a little more than the 1/2 yard to make sure you have enough for the straps as I almost ran out. I found a white basic cotton in the remnant bin that was perfect for the lining.
My most difficult challenge with the pattern, and it was totally due to the use of the painted canvas and no fault of the pattern itself, was turning the bag. Sewing the painted canvas I expected to be a little hard on my machine, but it handled it like a champ. It took what seemed like 30 minutes of trying to turn the incredibly stiff fabric, most likely a result of using the incorrect medium. I had a few cracks and some small parts chipped off. Thankfully I was just able to cover those up with patches of paint so they are far less noticeable now. Once it was turned I had to add the lining, but knew I could not turn anything again so I had to alter the directions just for this part. I stitched they lining as directed, and then pressed the edges of the lining with my iron to form a clean edge. The canvas folded down easily without the use of heat. I matched up the edges and top-stitched around the entire bag, making sure not to sew the straps. It was a bit hard to keep it lined up since I could not pin the canvas as it does not heal like fabric would, and I did not have clips to use instead.
For those who paint and sew, I hope this inspires you to give it a try. Combining both my favorite arts has been a rewarding learning opportunity, one of which I intend to pursue further. These totes are perfect little gifts for anyone.This particular one is for my daughter who loves to read. I am not a professional painter, but I hope this helps answer some basic questions I have seen people have on the how to sew a painted canvas. My best advice is to just get some basic materials and test out what works best for you. Trial and error can sometimes be a great learning tool.
Be sure to check out the amazing other bloggers on this tour. You can find the entire list below.
February 1st: Sewing By Ti (intro), Mahlica Designs
2nd: Sewing With D
3rd: Sewing With Sarah
Sunday, February 4th: Tenille's Thread
5th: My Heart will Sew On
6th: Kathy Kwilts and More
7th: Stitched By Jennie
9th: With Love In Every Stitch
10th: The Bear and the Pea Atelier
Sunday, February 11th: Our Play Place
12th: My Sewing Roots
13th: Margarita on the Ross
14th: Very Blissful
15th: Seams Sew Lo
16th: Sew Sew Ilse
17th: Aurora Designs
Sunday, February 18th: Sewing Scientist
19th: Manning the Machine
20th: The Fairy Dust Bin
21st: Hazelnut Handmade
22nd: Kate Will Knit
23rd: Lulu & Celeste
24th: Flaxfield Sewing
Sunday, February 25th: Twinado Alley
26th: Ma Moose
27th: Auschick Sews
28th: Oak Blue Designs