Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Canvas Bag by Alan Scott


I had been given a few canvas bags - the ones that they give away when you attend those seminars and large crafting shows, where the supplier wants you to promote their stand/goodies while you're walking around. I had an idea about maybe changing the front of one of them by using what we all have and that's stamps. During my time while I was doing my Textile/Surface Design Degree, I built up a collection of materials, that while not large enough to make something, were of a size where I could add them to a project. While I was doing my degree, my Dissertation and end of Degree show was all about recycling. Mainly denim, so this project was a chance to dip back into that mind set.
The stamps were once again from a collection that I'm finding hard to beat and they are from Dylusions designed by Dyan Reaveley. The stamp sets used were: How Does Your Garden Grow DS008Inbetweenies DYR34575 and Pondering Petunia DYR34483


10 inch Cotton square
Heat Gun (used to fix the mediums used when colouring and printing)
Selection of Acrylic paints (here I have opted to use mostly the paints from Eco Green, nice rich colours and you only need a little. I also dipped into my paint collection and used PaperArtsy Fresco Finish)
Gloss Gel Medium (to help bind the paint onto the canvas. Also to give a glossy finish)
White Tile/Painters Pallet (to help mixing)
Black Tipped Waterproof Pen 
Tim Holtz Distress Markers (using only the fine tipped end)
Odd bits of wool each length is approx 14 inches long
Cream/Yellow Sewing Thread
Sewing Hoop
Sewing Machine
2 other larger squares of complementary fabric to build up the project
Fabric Measuring Ruler
Masking Tape


First thing we need to do is iron our fabric so that it will lay flat when we are stamping onto the surface. Oh before I forget - you can still make this project even if you're not fortunate enough to have a sewing machine or not able to beg, borrow or long term borrow one. The stitching can all be done by hand. The embellished stitching you can glue the fabric into place and use stamps to decorate. So please don't feel you can't join in, you can. I try with all my projects to enable all crafters to try my project whenever I can.
To test out what works best on this fabric, I 'road tested' several crafting mediums so that I had some idea of what would and would not work. I suggest this is something that you do every time you're working with fabric, as it will save a lot of stress later down the road. 
The materials to be road tested so I know what will and will not work. 

Recording what effect - how they would react with each colouring item.

Using the Brilliance Graphite Black Ink Pad, I stamped an impression onto the cotton square. Then using the heat gun (replacing the iron), I heat set the impression making it that little more stable if used in a moderate manner.

By using equal amounts of the paint and the gloss medium, fully mixed together this was then used to colour the selected area of the stamped image.

The photo on the right shows the colour that was used for the glasses. Again equal amounts were used.


For some strange reason, when I used the fine tipped end of Tim Holtz Distress Pen, I was able to lay down colour in small areas.
Then to add more detail (like the photo above on the right), gel glitter pens were used to add sparkle.
Now its time for the hair. For this I used wool that complemented the colour scheme I selected for the figure.
By folding the wool lengths in half, then making a knot with a loop at one end - I did this 7 times. The reason for the knotted end was that when I had secured the wool into place, I could trim the loop and that would then give me a fringe. 
The stamped image was secured into a embroidery hoop and using a yellow thread, the wool was secured into place. 
For this project, I used my Toyota Oekaki Freehand Machine.
After the first layer of wool was secured, taking more of the same wool, another layer was then added. This was done so that the hair would have bulk.
Selecting 2 thirds of the wool, it was twisted together and then folded under. Using the freehand abilities of this machine, I was able to add some tacking stitches in places to secure and make the twisted wool secure. The ends were then folded under the raised area and secured into place by using the Cosmic Shimmer PVA, which as we crafters all know, will dry clear, flexible and secure. 
Now that I had finished with the figure, it was time to start to build up the image. Using the birds and flowers from 'How Does Your Garden Grow', when stamped onto the base line of our figure, it grounded the whole thing. Where there was space, by using a fine tipped black marker, just to give more ground as you can see in the finished photograph. The image was then given a frame using the Inbetweenies stamp set. 
Using again, acrylic paint and a gloss medium, the flowers and birds were coloured in.
Gel glitter pens were again used to add sparkle and extra dimension. 
Using a Singer Sewing Machine and a cream thread, I first did a running stitch securing the cotton layer onto a base layer. Then using a complementary thread and a decorative stitch, the running stitch was covered.
After each layer of fabric was secured into place using a sewing measuring block, I was able to make sure that all the widths were equal and the corners were also equal.
All that was left to do was to secure the final layer into place and then make sure that all the fabrics were safe enough to do the last stage. Secure this all onto the canvas bag and then spending a lifetime removing threads...

Here you can see the final stage. Using sharp tipped scissors, I was able to remove threads from the warp and weft. This was done with all layers. You can also see here the decorative stitch used and the lines drawn using the black marker pen.
There you have it, one of those simple bags that are given away, turned into something that can be used for another purpose. I'm not going to say that this bag will take all the wear and tear of everyday use but it should be okay to use for hiding that special present or as that small beach bag used on holidays. You will have a one off, a bespoke piece. Who knows, you might be able to use some of those unwanted clothes, instead of throwing them out, recycle them into a bag embellished with stamps, we have in our collections and coloured in using those acrylic paints that we bought but don't use as often as we should. 
Any questions please send me a message and I will get back to you a.s.a.p. 
Happy Crafting,


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