So many crafts, so bring on the fabric

This first section of the course will highlight different crafts that use fabric. Then the elements of art and principles of design are defined.

Fabric crafts:

Example of quilting using fabric from reprint and repurpose.

A quilt is a multi-layered textile, traditionally composed of three layers of fiber: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting or wadding, and a woven back, combined using the technique of quilting, the process of sewing the three layers together. Blankets, clothing and even household items like table runners can all be quilted.




Example of the appliqué technique using reprint and repurpose fabrics.

Appliqué is ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern. It is commonly used as decoration, especially on garments. Appliqué can be hand sewn or done with a sewing machine.


Example of embroidery using orange embroidery floss and hand printed upcycled fabric from reprint and repurpose.

Embroidery is the craft of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins.


Handmade clothing using upcycled and reprinted fabric from reprint and repurpose.
Handmade clothing

Making clothes by hand includes many benefits – like getting a perfect fit, less waste, higher quality and unique pieces! While handmade pieces are more labor intensive, they are less common, and therefore special. You can see the level of detail applied to each garment. These are all cherished qualities that are still associated with added value even in today’s world.

Handmade toy cat using upcycled reprinted fabric from reprint and repurpose.
Handmade toys, bags and home goods

Handmade projects are a labor of love, creativity and handcrafted design. You are creating something fun and wonderful that can be used for yourself or shared as a special gift. Also, you can create exactly what you want and not be limited to what is available in stores.




Elements of Art

The elements of art are the building blocks used by artists to create a work of art.

40x40-fabric-line Line – Line is a mark with greater length than width. Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal; straight or curved; thick or thin.

40x40-fabric-shape Shape – Shapes are closed lines. Shapes can be geometric, like squares and circles; or organic, like free-form or natural shapes. Shapes are flat and can convey length and width.

40x40-fabric-form Form – Forms are three-dimensional shapes expressing length, width, and depth. Balls, cylinders, cubes, and pyramids are forms.

40x40-fabric-space Space – Space is the area between and around objects. The space around objects is called negative space; negative space has shape. Space can also refer to the feeling of depth. Real space is three-dimensional; in visual art, when we create the feeling or illusion of depth, we call it space.

40x40-fabric-color Color – Color is light reflected off of objects. Color has three main characteristics: hue (the name of the color, such as red, green, blue, etc.), value (how light or dark it is), and intensity (how bright or dull it is).

40x40-fabric-texture Texture – Texture is the surface quality that can be seen and felt. Textures can be rough or smooth, soft or hard.

Principles of Design

The principles of design describe the ways that artists use the elements of art in a work of art.

40x40-fabric-balance Balance – Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. This includes symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial balance.

40x40-fabric-emphasis Emphasis – Emphasis is the part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention. Usually this can be done by making one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area could be different in size, color, texture, shape, etc.

40x40-fabric-movement Movement – Movement is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the work of art, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines, edges, shape, and color within the work of art.

40x40-fabric-pattern Pattern – Pattern is the repeating of an object or symbol all over the work of art.

40x40-fabric-repetition Repetition – Repetition works with pattern to make the work of art seem active. The repetition of elements of design creates unity within the work of art.

40x40-fabric-proportion Proportion – Proportion is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) relate well with each other. When drawing the human figure, proportion can refer to the size of the head compared to the rest of the body. 

40x40-fabric-Rhythm Rhythm – Rhythm is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a feeling of organized movement. Rhythm creates a mood like music or dancing. To keep rhythm exciting and active, variety is essential.

40x40-fabric-variety Variety – Variety is the use of several elements of design to hold the viewer’s attention and to guide the viewer’s eye through and around the work of art.

40x40-fabric-unity Unity – Unity is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which creates a sense of completeness.

You have completed Part 1! Great job.

Questions? Email us! 

Want more information? We want you to learn the basics (found in Parts 1 – 5 of this mini course), and get creating! As your interest and passion grows, you will learn more. There will be great book reviews, blog posts and an index of resources available in the blog section.

Preview of Part 2:

  • Use the knowledge of design elements and principles when looking at different fabric prints.

  • Take design concepts we learned to the next step and apply them to fabrics selections that work well together when placed next to each other.

Move on to Part 2