Surface Design of Textiles

Techniques that use colorants:

Colorant: Any material applied to cloth that imparts color to it.

Dye: Colorant that chemically bonds with the fibers

Pigment: Colorant that adheres to the surface of the fibers

Painting: Application of a colorant to the surface of a cloth in a non-repetitious manner by means of a brush, sponges, or other instrument.

Printing: Application of a colorant to the surface of a cloth to create a repeatable design by means of a prepared surface which is pressed against the cloth.

Block printing and silk screen are common methods of hand printing textiles.

Resist: Any process by which areas of the cloth are protected from the action of dyes.

  • Batik: The application of waxes, pastes, or similar material as a resist in order to created a dyed design. This link will take you to additional examples of batik from Indonesia.

  • Tie Dye or Shibori: The wrapping or covering of areas of cloth as a resist in order to create a dyed design. Shibori is a type of stitched tie dye as practiced in Japan. This link will take you to other examples.

  • Techniques that use a needle and thread:

    Applique: The technique of stitching cut shapes of fabric onto a background fabric.

    Embroidery: the decorative application of threads to the surface of a textile by means of a needle.

    Patchwork: Pieces of fabric, usually in different colors and patterns, assembled to create a larger panel.

    Quilting: Stitching which holds layers of fabric and (usually) an inner layer of padding together. (Note: quilts need not involve patchwork, and patchwork need not be quilted!)

  • Trapunto: A special form of decorative quilting in which shapes outlined in quilting stitches may be slit open from the back to add extra padding, creating a raised, relief surface.

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