Fabric Design and Print

May 4th Report: Fabric design and print

My overwhelming feeling about this project is that I have only scratched the surface of a vast topic, with much of my work still, “work in progress”.  However I do feel that I have learnt a great deal this semester, mainly this year.  With the ‘thin line’ and ‘thick line’ fabric designs and variations I think I have begun to design for print rather than try to print designs.  I have made progress in several areas:

  1. Use of Photoshop; I have deepened my knowledge of several aspects of this software, particularly in the use of colour and in the various ways colour can be set up for print in different print techniques.  Understanding of half-tone has improved, mainly by web sites such as Photoscreenprint although I have not had as much hands-on as I would have liked.
  2. Use of Illustrator; moving files between Illustrator and Photoshop deepened my understanding of what takes place (again with the help of web sites) when different formats are converted and/or vector and raster conversions occur.
  3.  Drawing directly onto a tablet screen using applications such as Graphiter, Sketchbook and Sketchable, alongside traditional drawing on paper helped explore fabric design.  The tablet lets me make many sketches very quickly, most of which are discarded almost equally quickly.
  4.   I found Digital Textile Design, Bowles and Isaac, 2012, to be particularly useful, along with Textiles Now, Cole, 2008.  Post-Digital Printing, Catanese and Geary, 2012, was useful in an inspirational way, as were, Sashiko,, Brisco, 2005, Land2D (exhibition catalogue) Tucker and Biggs, 2005, and African Fabric Design, Friedland and Pina, 1999.
  5. Although my placement with Shinobi screen printers in Bristol has not yet worked out (just three days and no actual printing, so far) I did get quite a few tips and am still hopeful of getting more experience by this route.
  6. Screen printing: several screen print sessions have helped improve my knowledge of printing lengths of fabric, largely thanks to the technicians.
  7. Digital printing: I had quite a bit of help from Becky Hill with the first Wildlife Masks print – (she tried hard to make a cmyk separation for an earlier file, ‘Tread Lightly on the Earth but eventually gave up and I printed digitally).  This certainly improved my knowledge of Photoshop colour separation.

May 4th. Now ready to make garments from both the ‘fine line’ (3m x 1.3m)

Finished digitally printed ‘fine line’ fabric

and the ‘thick line’ (2m x 1.6m) fabric pieces.

The gallery above shows the ‘thick line’ fabric which I screen printed yesterday at Bower Ashton.  This is the second lot of fabric with this design but this piece also has the silver dye and batik crackle underlying the print.  I made the ink translucent, which meant using just a couple of drops of colour to 1/2 ltr of medium.  The result wasn’t perfect but is good enough for a dress, I think.  I have learnt lots from this process.

April 30th. I have made quite a few posts about the work on the ‘Line’ designs so won’t duplicate that here, just say that I have had some success and some disappointments but overall I feel I am making progress and gaining knowledge.

Work in progress

Looking forward to collecting my digitally printed fabric on May 2nd from Bower Ashton and then making this up into a dress, initially.  I am also hoping to screen print onto fabric I have prepared at home (see Posts).

I have drawn on several technical books including but not exclusively Digital Textile Design, Bowels and Isacc (2012) – especially for building designs in Illustrator ; Textiles Now, Cole (2008); Fabric Printing, Kennedy and Varrall (1994); Hybrid Prints, Fishpool (2009).  I have taken some inspiration from Prints, Art and Techniques, Lambert (2001); The Edge of the Land, Goodwin (1995) – many b/w landscapes; and many other sources.


April 20th.  Continuing to work on the Masks fabric design, trying to think in terms of print rather than ‘attractive’.  I am gradually reducing these six colour images to b/w, but finding it quite a challenge.

March. Making quite a lot of sketches for fabric designs, particularly the ‘Mask’ fabric but also for ‘Line’ designs, here are a few. Also continuing with ‘Line’ designs, see Posts.

February 18th. Completed digitally printing (at Bower Ashton) the first ‘British Wildlife’ piece for a quilt, and I have added another project called ‘Tourism’, which will be concerned with fabric printing.  I have also started a collaboration with Marius Grose, a photographer, with a view to creating fabric designs.

British Wildlife quilt 1 – in progress

January 10th 2017.  This project is concerned with printing onto fabric using a range of methods.  By the completion of the MA I would like to have a far better understand screen printing onto fabric and dyeing fabric.

Girl with Cat, stamp, 12cm x 12cm 2017, by Evie Miller, laser etched in lino

At the moment I am working on ‘British Wildlife’, ‘Girl and Cat’ border stamp,  and drawing abstract patterns for possible fabric prints.


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