Here at Sew we're always thinking up new ways to create with fabric, so when designer Corinne Bradd suggested we use our home computers to decorate our projects we just had to find out more! By simply feeding the material into an inkjet printer you can totally personalise any make with photos, text and more. The possibilities are endless, so have fun!
- Fabric: polycotton, orange 40cm x 60cm; white 20cm x 30cm
- Self-adhesive foam, 31cm x 22cm, two sheets
- Fusible webbing: 20cm x 30cm; plus scraps for attaching embellishments
- Scraps of patterned cottons, ribbons, embroidery threads, and buttons for embellishing
- Eyelets: 3mm, plus punch and eyelet setting tool
- Thick card: 22cm x 31cm
- Coloured card: 230gsm, A4, several sheets (enough to fill your finished book)
- Colour inkjet printer
- Double sided tape
- Approximately A4
Lay out a 20cm x 30cm piece of white polycotton (right side facing downwards) and iron a 20cm x 30cm sheet of fusible webbing onto it to secure. Leave the backing paper of the webbing in place. Divide and cut the rectangle into quarters, to give four 10cm x 15cm pieces.
Set your computer and printer to work with 10cm x 15cm sheets and a matt paper setting. Print your desired photographs onto the fabric, ensuring that the material is fed into the printer right side up (the paper backing should be facing downwards).
Whilst the prints are cooling, cut the piece of orange polycotton in half, to give two 30cm x 40cm pieces. Once dry, peel the paper backing from the prints, and crop the pictures as necessary. Arrange in the centre of one of the pieces of orange fabric (set the other aside for later) and pin them into place.
Iron the remaining fusible webbing onto the wrong side of several pieces of scrap fabric, and cut into 1cm wide strips. Use these pieces to frame the printed pictures, overlapping at the corners and cutting the ends at a slant. You can also incorporate ribbons into the design at this stage if you’d like. Ensure that your design does not occupy a 5cm border around the edge of the orange rectangle.
Once you are happy with the composition, fuse all of the components into place with a cool iron. Cut small heart motifs from the fabric scraps and fuse them into position in the same way.
Work embroidery stitches around the edge of each fabric piece by hand, using an assortment of techniques in varying colours of thread. Chain stitch, blanket stitch and whipped running stitch will all be thick enough to cover the raw edges of the fabric and neaten the design (see the Sew Essentials Pull-Out Workbook for embroidery ideas).
Similarly, add embellishment to the photographs by outlining areas with backstitch, such as working curled lines over hair and adding flowers. Sketch your design with a dressmaker’s chalk or vanishing pen before starting for a really neat finish.
Turn the finished panel over (so that the right side is facing downwards) and press, before adding buttons to the front of the work. Press again over a folded towel and lay flat to cool. Press the second, undecorated rectangle of orange fabric.
Stick each sheet of self-adhesive foam to a sheet of thick card. Turn the work over so the foam is on the underside, and fix double sided tape around the outer edge of the card, 1cm in from all sides.
Turn the work over again so that the foam is now facing upwards. Position the stitched orange panel over the foam, so that the design falls in the centre. Fold both short edges of the fabric over to the wrong side and secure in place with the tape, pulling tightly as you do so.
Mitre the corners of one long edge and secure the fabric onto the card with the tape, as above. Repeat for the other long edge, tightening the material as you do so. Repeat steps 10 and 11 to cover the second piece of foam-covered card in the same way. These two pieces will form the covers of your book.
Turn both covers over so that the card side is facing upwards, and stick a line of double-sided tape onto the folded fabric edge, around all sides. Place a sheet of A4 card on top of each cover, to hide the raw edges of the folded fabric.
Using a punch tool, make six equally-spaced holes down the left side of the front (embellished) cover, 1.5cm in from the edge and 3cm apart. Lay the front cover on top of the back cover, and use it to mark the position of the holes for punching.
Lay a sheet of A4 card on top of the front cover so that it sits with an even border on all sides. Flip both the cover and the card over (so that the cover is facing upwards) and mark the hole positions for punching. Use this piece of card as a guide for marking all the other sheets.
Set a 3mm eyelet into each of the holes on both the front and back covers, to stop the fabric from fraying and keep them neat. Assemble the album (with front cover on top, back cover underneath and the sheets of card inbetween) and prepare to bind together through the holes with a double thickness of embroidery thread.
To bind the book, start at the centre of the spine. Weave a length of thread up through one hole, around the spine and back up through the same hole. Then, take the thread down through the next hole along, around the spine and back down through the same hole again.
Repeat working the thread through the holes until you reach the edge of the cover. Come back to the centre of the work by stitching back through the holes in the opposite direction. Carry on binding until you reach the other side of the cover, then work back again to reach the central starting point. Knot the thread tightly at the back of the album over one of the holes, and trim the ends.