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Embellishments: Paint on Knits

Threads #204, Aug./Sep. 2019
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Knit fabrics are comfortable and easy to wear because their stretch enables them to move with the body. The same stretch presents a challenge for stitchers who love to embellish, because many decorative techniques inhibit the fabric’s elasticity. However, there are methods that can work.
I’ve had great success with dabbing lightweight liquid paint onto knit fabrics to create intricate designs. I’ll show you how to do it so the fabric is not distorted or stiffened in the application process and the new details dry quickly. The paints are easy to mix into a variety of colorful tints and hues. The design possibilities are myriad. With proper care, the paints are permanent and can be machine-washed as well as machine-dried on a low-heat setting.

Rae Cumbie is a teacher and designer living and working in Maryland.

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