2 Book Reviews on Printing Fabric

I recently was asked to review two books; both of them were completely different, although both tackled the art of printing and dying fabric. I have only dyed fabric with procion dye (and you can read about my most recent adventure here), so I’m not terribly experienced in the subject. But, my friend Emily went to school for this stuff, so I knew she would be able to produce some good book reviews on the subject! Either of these would be great books if you are interested in becoming a fabric designer!

First up is Printing on Fabric by Jen Swearington, and then we will visit Embellish Me by Laurie Wisbrun. Take it away Emily!

Get your supplies prepared cause you are gonna want to print right away!

I LOVE this book!  Printing on Fabric: Techniques with Screens, Stencils, Inks and Dyes goes into a lot of depth and gets specific about supplies and methods for printing on fabric.  The images in the book are a mixture of photographs and drawn illustrations which just add to the charm.  But don’t think this book is all about just pretty pictures.  Jen Swearington knows her stuff and makes sure that she gives you ALL the information you need to be confident in trying out these techniques. 

Cute doggie on her handprinted prize winning pet bed. 🙂

Swearington starts the book off with color theory, fabric types, ink and dye specs and even has a section on setting up your studio (believe me you wanna know about that!).  From low tech stencil printing to more detailed prints and even repeats it is all covered here in a very approachable way.  Her sense of humor really comes across in the intros to each chapter and even in some of the projects at the end of the book, I mean who doesn’t wanna make an pet bed with prize winning ribbons on it? 

Thorough Setting up your studio instructions, what more could a girl want!

I would highly recommend that you get this book if you are interested in screen printing on fabric, even though I have screen printed before I will keep it on MY shelf as a great reference and refresher before I start a project.

Get ready for lots of techniques!

Embellish me: how to print, dye, and decorate your fabric  is a book with a lot of techniques on how to make your fabric projects a little more special.  Laurie Wisbrun’s book has four parts: 1. The Basics, 2. Techniques, 3. Going Pro, and 4. Resources.  She  sets about showing you the basics of embellishment starting with lists of tools and fabric know how followed by a very well written chapter on creating patterns.  Some of the techniques that she covers include: screen printing, block printing, cyanotype, dyeing, bleaching, batik, and how to work with beads, fringe, lace and even embroidery. 

Great explanation of making a repeating pattern. 🙂

Throughout the book Wisbrun interviews designers asking them about process, inspiration and advice they would give someone about starting a handmade business.  I found the interviews to be interesting and I loved to hear what designers had to say while looking at beautiful images of their work.  The book has a lot of inspiration images that really get you wanting to try some new techniques, but I found that not all techniques in the galleries were covered in the chapters.  I found some of the technique directions to be a bit too brief and have too few pictures, only three embroidery stitches are covered and the galleries show many more stitches…not so empowering.  If you are just starting out in the world of embellishment this book with expose you to a bunch of techniques so you can decide where to start embellishing your projects.

Inspiration page for embroidery…look at all that stitching!
Thanks so much for the great book reviews, Emily! 🙂

Share this post

2 replies on “2 Book Reviews on Printing Fabric

Comments make my day and I love to reply!