At QuiltCon earlier this year, Krista Fleckenstein mentioned she was working on a book. Without seeing any of the projects or talking about the content, I knew I wanted to see the book. As a devoted follower of her instagram account, her design aesthetic and screen printing work interested me. I could not imagine that her book, Beyond Cotton, would end up completely exceeding my already high expectations.
The Book Itself
Everything about the construction of the book is appealing. The spine is soft and durable along with the paper feeling crisp allowing for the clean and clear photographs to pop from the page. I used the front cover flap to store papers while I was shopping, which was a surprise feature. It looks like a coffee table book with the added benefit of fun techniques and projects.
Contents of the Book
The book is broken down into accessible mixed media techniques with experimental projects. Krista takes you through the steps to try painting, block printing, screen printing, dyeing, leather work and bias tape and make projects like wholecloth quilts, stuffies, pillows, leather baskets and an apron. For each technique, there are recommended supplies along with practical substitutes if possible. Her tips are handy and well thought out.
My Project from the Book
I had a hard time picking a project from the book since I wanted to make all of them! Since I forced myself to pick one thing, I decided to try hand dying. Krista recommends Dyna Flow fabric dyes and I purchased mine at Dharma Trading Company.
I picked up the colors she recommended and a few extras. Along with the paints, I purchased Kona Cotton PFD (ready to dye) fabric along with half a yard of linen. I saw these fantastic napkins from Leif Shop and thought I would see what the dyes would look like on a linen fabric base. Here are the cotton samples:
I used both toothpicks and round buttons placed on top of the painted samples to provide additional visual texture to the dyes. After painting/dying them, I left them to dry in the sun. It was relatively warm and they dried within three hours. Here are the linen samples (the left is the front side of the linen and the right picture is the back side of the linen)[one_half] [/one_half][one_half_last] [/one_half_last]
While thrift store shopping one day, I found a beautiful but damaged leather jacket. It seemed a perfect time to try sewing with leather. Using one of my fabric samples on the back side, I sewed a leather piece to the back side. Normally, my coasters end up wet but I thought the leather would absorb some of the water. Krista’s tips were very helpful so any imperfections are my own! Making one coaster with her tips has given me the confidence to know I will be using more leather in the future.
I have noticed other people are making projects out of the book and tagging them #sewingbeyondcotton on Instagram. How fun!
Have I convinced you that you need a copy of this book!?! If you live in the United States, leave me a comment with which technique you would like to try and I will randomly pick a winner on Tuesday, December 1st. Good luck!
** I received a complimentary copy of the book but am giving away a personal copy of the book. All opinions about the book are my own. **