Mixed-Media Quilts and Collage: Tips for Stitching on Paper

For a period of time, I made fabric and paper quilts using vintage maps. I stitched a collage of fabric to make the bird (and sometimes flowers, too), then stitched the bird (and flowers) onto the maps.

mixed media stitched cards by kristin peterson
Mixed-media stitched collage cards by Kristin Peterson, featured in the November/December 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

After I completed the quilt/collage, I edged the piece in a boldly colored art paper, then another layer of cut map (sometimes a newer map, with only about 1/4″ showing). Often I’d add hand stitching, millinery flowers, and bits of book pages to these mixed-media quilts before matting and framing.

I had so much fun pulling all the different pieces together into a cohesive piece of art. I still have a stack of maps, I’m still fascinated by the beauty of birds, and I plan to add to that series of mixed-media art quilts soon.

In the meantime, I like to play with paper, collage, and stitching whenever I get the chance. These collaged and stitched cards by Kristin Peterson are the perfect project. She offers a how-to in the November/December 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Here are some of Kristin’s tips for mixing paper and stitch, adapted from the article:

  • Use a variety of background papers to provide additional meaning or symbolism to the card. Other ideas for papers include sheet music, magazine images, or newspapers. I like vintage book pages.
  • If you use glue in your collage, always be sure to let it dry before machine stitching. If the glue is not completely dry, it will be difficult to stitch, and could cause problems with your machine.
  • Make sure the paint is dry before stitching. If your card is not completely dry, the paper will be “soft” and the stitches may tear your card. When sewing shapes, go slowly on turns or sharp corners. [Note: if you can lower your feed dogs and free-motion stitch, you have a lot more flexibility in making your shapes.]
  • For circles, sew at a slow and steady pace with continual movement, turning the card as you sew. Circles do not need to be perfect. In fact, I like them to be uneven.

The November/December 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors marks 10 years of mixing fabric, paper, stitch, and more. I’ve enjoyed every issue and invite you to celebrate with us by getting a subscription of your own.

P.S. Do you include paper in your art quilting? Leave a comment below and tell me how.

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4 thoughts on “Mixed-Media Quilts and Collage: Tips for Stitching on Paper

  1. I used an open weave Japanese rice paper that I stained and painted as an overlay for the inset of reverse applique in a recent abstract art quilt on display with others from my art quilt group. People said they loved the texture and mysterious quality it gave the work. I’ll be experimenting a lot more with adding paper accents to my fiber art!

  2. I used an open weave Japanese rice paper that I stained and painted as an overlay for the inset of reverse applique in a recent abstract art quilt on display with others from my art quilt group. People said they loved the texture and mysterious quality it gave the work. I’ll be experimenting a lot more with adding paper accents to my fiber art!

  3. I use lots of different ‘stuff’ on my art quilts & cards. One of my more recent quilts has drift wood & sea shells & real beach sand! I’ve used special paper, & metals & just about anything that can be sewn to a surface. Even eyeglass lenses?

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