Create Something New with Quilting & Mixed Media

I started Cloth Paper Scissors magazine back in 2004 in part to give voice to forms of art that mixed fabric and stitch with paint, glue, and embellishment but were not strictly speaking art quilts. Forms like altered books, fabric and paint collages, shrines, assemblages, and paper quilts.

One of my favorite ways to use art quilting techniques in a form other than a quilt or home décor is in a fabric book, and I've made many of them to prove it!

Fabric books are like collections of mini art quilts. Each page or spread is a little work of art unto itself. When the pages are put together, they can tell a story, explore a theme or series, or serve as a sampler for techniques you want to explore. You can work on them all in one go or a page at a time. And they make thoughtful gifts!

If you're new to making fabric books, here are some ideas you can try, taken from past issues of Cloth Paper Scissors:

  Make separate quilt sandwiches and bind them together. In this book the artist focused on playing with the simple shape of a pear using her photos of a bowl of pears. She altered the images with computer software, printed them on canvas, and colored them. The artist then stitched the canvas images each to a quilt sandwich and hand stitched a design in contrasting colors. She bound the book by running a purple ribbon along the back of each sandwich before adding a backing fabric.
Stitch your fabric to a pre-made book. Kelli Perkins pasted plain canvas to the sanded pages of a child's board book, hand stitching around each spread. Then she free-motion stitched sayings and cupcake designs onto painted watercolor paper and fabric, respectively, and glued these motifs onto the canvas.

Make a binding-free, accordion-fold book. In this no-sew technique, Debbi Crane painted and collaged canvas, then used a simple cut-and-fold technique to form a book. You could also use stiff material such as Peltex, Lutradur, or duck and stitch the edges closed, if you prefer.

  Think outside the book. Belinda Spiwak made treasure pockets out of screen-printed fabric and felt, stitching and collaging all over each one to add texture. She made embellished closures from butons, ribbon, eyelets, and clips, then bound the book with a stab stitch using embroidery floss. Note that if you choose to bind (instead of mount) the pages of your fabric book, be sure to plan for the binding in your design. For example, make the the pages a little wider and position the decorative part of the page more to the right.
  Bind with ties or rings. Set grommets into one side of each page and punch holes through the fabric inside the grommets. Then link the pages together with decorative yarn or ribbon, or slip metal rings through the holes to bind, as Beryl Taylor did in this fabric book that celebrates stitch.

Fabric books are easy and fun to make. So why don't you pull out your stash materials and favorite techniques and give one a try?

Other topics you may enjoy:


Hand Embroidery, Quilting Daily Blog

2 thoughts on “Create Something New with Quilting & Mixed Media

  1. Hi
    I got this email today, would appreciate it if the projects had the Cloth Paper Scissors Issue numbers as I would have liked to go back and review a couple of them (Belinda Spiwak’s & Pat Gaignat’s)
    I have all the issues, so it would tke some time to find them otherwise.

  2. In May Leilani (cps forum) challenged us to make a simple fabric book–It was like a mini creative explosion. These little books are so much fun. And combining the painting, embellishment with my natural comfort zone (fabric and fibre) is the best of both the quilting and mixed media world. These books are quite intriguing. People can’t resist touching and asking questions.