Textile Printing at Leeds Art College

Hello everyone!
I thought it was about time for a full round up of my Textile Printing course. This is going to be picture heavy I’m afraid and I’ve not even included all the pictures!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 1 and 2 we worked with disperse printing using heat set dyes on man made fabrics. Using paper soaked in dye and a giant heatpress, I played with geometric shapes on coloured polyester and crepe.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art collegealmond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 3 we made paper stencils using scalpels and when taped to mesh screens we could pull binder ink through onto any fabric we liked. Mine was an utter disaster due to poor squeegee technique and rubbish stencil.

Week 4 was about free form painting direct onto a screen using Procion reactive dyes. I printed a splatter print onto cotton lawn and silk.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 5 and 6 we prepped for future sessions by coating screens in light sensitive emulsion and thanks to a huge light box we exposed imagery onto the mesh. We drew the images in thick black pen to act as positives and when the screen was exposed the black areas washed away creating a negative that would allow ink to pass through in just those areas. I chose pineapples!!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

While our screens set we also dyed silk, satin, velvet and cotton in big pans using tiny amounts of dye and lots of hot water. Excitingly I also got to use the digital printers while our fabrics soaked! I printed 1.5m of paper crane print cotton drill and 1.5m of painterly triangle print silk.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 7 was the start of my pineapples adventures! We pulled binder ink through our screens onto any fabrics we wanted. I chose to print fluorescent pink ink on white cotton and crepe de chine and black ink on brown polyester.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 8 we tried discharge screenprinting where a smelly seaweed-based paste bleaches the colour from dyed fabric. As well as devore printing which removes cellulose fibres leaving the man made fabric base behind – e.g removing the nap from velvet to create a relief. I used my pineapple screen again to discharge print on my dyed cotton and silk. And freestyled a brush painted devore print on my dyed satin and velvet.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college
almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 9 and 10 I decided to expose a new screen with hummingbirds and printed onto some colourful viscose. I printed teal ink on pink and pink ink on purple. Plus I had time for a sneaky little bit more disperse printing.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

It was such a wonderful course, I’m actually a little sad I can’t repeat it next term but I’ve already signed up to a pattern drafting course.

Here are the details for Textile Printing: The course I did was a short evening course run by Leeds Art College, over 10 weeks for 2.5hrs. The tutor is Kirstie Williams who also runs independent print courses.

The course costs £185 with all materials provided but you bring extra if you want to print something specific.

I ended up with enough fabric for 3 dresses, 4 tops, and plenty of A2 pieces for tote bags or small garments – silk pineapple knickers perhaps?!

The new term starts in a couple of weeks so I suggest you sign yourself up asap if you’re interested!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

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Never Mind The Pollocks

Hello everyone. I’m back to share some progress from my textile printing evening class!

For Week Four we used Procien dyes to hand paint screens and used a substance called manutex to push the colour onto the fabric.

Now being a terrible freehand artist this scared me. I started obsessing over what was the simplest geometric shape I could draw without it looking wobbly and crap. Then I realised I could splatter my dye like Jackson Pollock! So I investigated a couple of techniques – dribbling and spraying the dyes.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

My tutor advised spraying by flicking the bristles of a brush or toothbrush would be best because the dye has to completely dry before being able to print and thick dribbles might slow things down. I was able to apply three colours (it took 25 mins to dry in between each).

You get to print twice with this method. The first print comes out very vibrant and the second ghostly. We were advised to try cotton first, then silk.

My cotton lawn turned out better than I could have hoped when I first lifted the screen.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

But it did fade after steam setting. Still pretty but not as intense colours.almond rock procion dyes textile printingalmond rock procion dyes textile printing

The raw silk turned out pale and delicate.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

I’ve got extra of the cotton lawn and silk unprinted so I think I can make two tops with splattered fronts or use the prints as accents. I’m still working it out as I know I won’t have time until the end of the course to sew anything up.

Both prints sort of remind me of Jawbreaker gobstobbers… which I like.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

 “Here comes the science”

Procien is the principal brand name for what are actually reactive dyes. They take their name from their ability to form strong covalent bonds with cellulose fibres, resulting in excellent washing and light fastness properties. This process can be used on all types of cottons and viscose rayon but also work quite nicely on raw silk. So basically natural, smooth close-woven fabrics.

Dye is applied by hand-painting directly onto the screen. Manutex is an Alginate based thickener made from seaweed that can be used to thicken Procion dyes for screenprinting OR as we used them, as a “pulling” agent to push the dyes through the screen.

PHEW! So a lot of info in this blog post and I don’t know whether you’re all finding it interesting. I hope you are enjoying reading my updates as much as I’m enjoying the classes.

I’ll be back soon with finished sewing, I promise. I just need to upload my photos!

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The (almost) Paul Smith Shirt

Happy New Year everyone!

The first blog post back after Christmas is always an odd one. You get slightly out of the habit don’t you.

I’m here to share some pics of a shirt I made as my Dad’s Christmas present as well as a few other things!

paul smith shirt almond rock

The fabric is from Fabrics Galore who had a few different bolt ends of Paul Smith shirting at their stall at The Knitting and Stitching Show.

I used one of Dad’s M&S shirt as the template for the pattern, I made a quick muslin to check the pattern and cracked on.

Aren’t the colours lovely!? It’s a fun micro-plaid. And it was fun to use bias for the plackets, yoke and pocket. To make it a bit more of a formal I added collar stays using Fiona’s excellent tutorial.

paul smith shirt almond rock

I finished it Christmas Eve morning and wrapped it up before heading over. He seemed really happy with the shirt and wore it out for New Year! Result!

Next up I thought I’d share you what I got from the Sewing Secret Santa that Lisa – Stitched-Up From The Start – organised. My parcel was sent by Teresa at Navy Blue Threads!

It was a lovely parcel wrapped in gingham with a lace bow that was chocca full of lovely gifts. She clearly thought so hard about what to pick for me which made me beam.

almond rock sewing secret santa

There were handmade lavender hangers, a pin cushion, two cute crafty patterns, a sewing themed tin and needle case, plus saving the best for last… the cutest pair of zipper earrings you ever did see!

almond rock sewing secret santa

Thanks so much to Teresa for my thoughtful gifts and to Lisa for organising a fun swap!

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Gathering Supplies

Over the last couple of months I’ve slowly been gathering supplies for a new jacket.

Since making my Anise I sort of laughably said I’d never make another coat or jacket. Well that didn’t last long.

I started in October by whittling my pattern choices down to three favourites. Burda Pattern 7115, Burda Download 9 2014 #120, and a Vintage McCall’s 8420.


You can see I was interested in a notched collar and a pea coat shape. I did want something a bit longer than a jacket but not quite a coat.

I came pretty close to drafting something myself but then I settled on the Burda and will adjust as needed (pattern on offer here).

While shopping at Samuel Taylors in Leeds I saw a beautiful pale aqua wool coating but couldn’t shake the idea of a darker teal colour.

And at SewBrum Barry’s came to the rescue with a lovely textured green coating half way between teal and emerald. And I already had coordinating thread in my stash yippee!


During a fortunate spot of eBay surfing last month I found a seller offering this gorgeous high heel print silk satin and snapped it up for the lining.

It’s a soft grey colour with some shoes in outline only and others coloured in pink, green, yellow.

Now I need fusible underlining and interfacing, and coordinating buttons.

Sadly with all the Christmas sewing I’ve got on my plate I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make a toile but I hope it’ll be soon. I’d like to get back to selfish sewing haha.

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Sweet Dreams of Paris

I’ve mentioned a few times my longing to go to Paris.

In fact I’ve only been to France once, aged 15 for a kayaking holiday which wasn’t exactly a cultural delight. It was mostly shrieking teenagers and French men in speedos.

It has to happen one day. Right?

almond rock atelier brunette Eiffel Tower vogue 1102

But until then I can settle for bulk ordering fabric from Anna Ka Bazaar.

I ordered this beautiful Atelier Brunette Eiffel Tower print along with some geometric polyester earlier this year.

Postage was a smidge higher than I would like but I talked myself into it. You also get a 10% discount code by joining the newsletter. It arrived a lot quicker than the estimated time.

almond rock atelier brunette Eiffel Tower vogue 1102

Even though the weather isnt cooperating I decided to dig out the Vogue 1102 pattern from the John Lewis sewing bee day. It was such a wonderful surprise when the bodice almost fit me out the envelope (that never happens to me) and I much prefer single waist darts over bust and waist darts when you have a printed fabric. I’ve paired it with a gathered skirt instead of a circle this time.

I altered the back bodice and made a new facing using the Simple Sew Ruby dress back pieces as a guide and thankfully it worked first time without any gaping. There are some small diagonal drag lines but I didn’t get those on my muslin so what’s a girl to do!?

almond rock atelier brunette Eiffel Tower vogue 1102

Unlike my JL daisy chain dress I used the facings AND I lined the whole thing. The idea came from Marrie B actually. And it meant I got to use a ludicrous teal viscose lining without risking unwanted peeking.

(Gotta brag, that viscose was an absolute steal. Samuel Taylors had a remnant bin half price sale. 1.5m for £3 down to £1.50. Yeehaw! I have loads more to share from that sale.)

almond rock atelier brunette Eiffel Tower vogue 1102

I’m not sure it’s a very flattering colour on me but I dont really care since the print is fun. Since taking these photos I’ve been wearing the dress with a belt which looks better. It’s had a fair few outings and know it will be regularly worn next year!

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