Thursday, 18 September 2014

Conscious Design when Crafting

Here's the problem I have encountered. I love to craft, I love sewing and making things. BUT, my taste does not lend itself to filling my house with loads of fabrics and I don't like a look that is 'homemade'. So how does a person indulge their love of crafting while still making things that will fit into a contemporary aesthetic?
Some things to consider:
- Choose a base color and/or fabric that will add cohesion. For me it was natural colored linen. It is beautifully neutral and I have not found a color that doesn't work well with it. The linen looks clean and minimalist and blends well. Consider some other fabrics: ecru muslin, indigo dyed cotton, white cotton, burlap. When you have chosen, stick to that choice.

While the maple leaf blocks in this quilt are made from quite old-fashioned floral designs, the white cotton gives it a contemporary twist. This quilt could be put in many a modern home and it wouldn't fight with the established decor.

- Complement the base color and/or fabric with carefully added patterns and colors. Not only does this result in a less loud and homemade look, it is very economical. You don't have to go crazy buying yards of gorgeous prints. A fat quarter will go a long way. In fact scour thrift stores for cool fabrics that you can use from old clothes, then use it sparingly to add emphasis.

With these book covers, I added just a few squares of patterned fabric for emphasis. These fabrics came from all over the place, one is an old bed sheet.
- Don't be afraid of blank space. This is common advice in graphic design. You don't have to fill every blank piece of fabric with applique, embroidery and patchwork designs. Sometimes a trim of squares in patterned fabric is all you need or a button or two. Less is more because it doesn't get lost in an assault of busy-ness.
The white background really enhances the origami crane.

- Play with texture. Using different textures is very fashionable right now and is a fun way to incorporate different crafting techniques. Pair chunk knit with a cotton panel in a pillow. Mix different fabrics, but remember go easy.
The two materials here are burlap and cotton. There is no intricate design, the interest comes from the contrasting textures.

- Stick with basic designs if you want to play with colors, sewing techniques etc. Tote bag designs are everywhere these days. They're popular because the designs are simple and therefore easy to execute, but the simplicity gives you a blank canvas on which to experiment with patterns or embellishments. I see a lot of patchwork blocks that are beautifully intricate but I don't enjoy the look because so many different patterns and colors have been used. The more intricate the project the more conscious you need to be of not going crazy with materials.
This messenger back was extremely easy to do and a very simple design which meant I could be bold with fabric. Both fabrics are from old bed sheets.

1 comment:

  1. Now you have read about conscious design, look at the Zakka board in the previous post and see how these ideas have been used in the different projects curated on it.