About Suzi

Marbled Arts creates luscious Hand Marbled Fabrics and more. We love to create unique, handmade fabrics. We hand dye, hand marble, snow dye and stencil to name a few. Then we turn it into wonderful Quilts and Wearable Art. We located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Birch Trees Table Runner

Paintstik & Stencil Birch Trees

We can always use a little inspiration in our lives. Karen Nickelson just sent me photos of the Birch Trees Table Runner that she created using Paintstiks and the Aspen Tree Stencil. Karen started with White Cotton Fabric, so the Trees would be White. Then used the 12 x 12 inch Aspen Tree Stencil, Brushes, Matte Purple Sage, Payne’s Gray, Iridescent Charcoal, Brown and Pearl White for her creation.

Aspen Tree Stencil showing part one.

Painter’s Tape and Sticky Note Update

The Background was painted in as shown above. Don’t worry if you get paint in the highlights of the Birch Trees. If you look at the two photos below, pretend that the background is painted. Painter’s Tape has been run down the side of the tree, you can now us the Payne’s Gray or Black to paint in the highlights the tape will keep you from getting over-spray on the background. I also use Sticky Notes to help keep my hand from smearing the background while I am doing the highlights. Sticky Notes also help to mask off around those little tiny spots on the branches.

Building the Birch Tree Grove

Karen decided that she did not want to do individual 12 x 12 squares and then sew the squares together. Instead she made the trees appear to be a large grove of Birch Trees. Painters tape and sticky notes became her new best friend.

Aspen Tree Stencil showing two parts

How to Quilt the Birch Tree Table Runner?

It is always fun when I get to consult on a project. I know that sometimes I just need a second set of eyes to take a look. I received a couple of photos that said “1/4 pop of color Brown or Purple?”. The Purple strip just made it sing.

Birch Tree Table Runner Ready for Quilting.

Finished Birch Tree Table Runner

Machine quilted just enough to give it depth and texture to the Table Runner. I love how the background color goes from Light at the bottom (foreground) to dark for the deep background. You can really see all of the branch details.

Completed Birch Tree Table Runner

Close Up

I always like to include a close up photo, that way you can see the details easier. A fair amount of blending going on, so the the color change is gradual seamless. Painters Tape was placed up the side of the tree so the Payne’s Gray detail could be added, using the smallest Stencil Brush. I love how the same stencil can be used and look entirely different. Four Seasons Example. You can fond all of the supplies at Marbled Arts

Details of Birch Tree Table Runner.

What is Hand Marbled Fabric?

Marbling is an ancient offset printing process. Simply put, Paint floats on a thickened liquid base. The design is created using a variety of rakes and combs.  The paint will transferred onto the fabric when it is gently placed on to of the marbling base.

How do I make Marbled Fabric?

I start with 100% Cotton PFD (Prepared for Dying) Fabric.  I first Hand Dye the fabric to get the color I selected to create.  My Hand Dyed Fabric is cut to the desired size for marbling, soaked in an alum solution and allowed to air dry.

A thin layer of paint is floated on the marbling base.  I like to use a selection of six different colors. I find myself fiddling with the color combination until my heart sings.

A variety of Rakes and Combs are used to create the design.  I currently create four designs Waved Icarus, Dragonwing, Freestyle and Stones.  The Hand Dyed Fabric is gently lowered onto the floated paint and then carefully removed. 

It is gently rinsed in cold water and allowed to hang dry.   

Once Dry the Marbled Fabric is left to cure for fourteen days.  Then Washed, dried, ironed and is ready to use in your latest creation.

You can always find my Hand Marbled Fabric on my website www.marbled-arts.com

How long does it take to make Marbled Fabric?

Starting with PFD Fabric to luscious Hand Marbled Fabric, the entire process takes a minimum of eighteen days.

Do I need to pre-wash fabrics from Marbled Arts?

Our dying process guarantees that your fabric is pre-shrunk and washable.  We always recommend that you rinse any fabric in warm water until it runs clear, before you include it in a project.  Why take chances?

How do I care for my Marbled Arts Fabric?

We Recommend cold water, gentle, delicate or hand wash cycle using non-detergent soap (Synthrapol, Dr. Bronner’s or Orvis Past Soap).  Our fabrics may be dried in your home dryer on a medium setting and then ironed on the cotton setting.

Mad Mad Mask Making Maven

Mad Mad Mask Making Maven

On March 6, 2020 my first Quilt Show was canceled and with it about 99.9% of my income. Don’t get me wrong I totally support the decision to close WA State down to flatten the curve and save lives. But as a self-employed person 99.9% is a huge hit. So I started making Face Masks. I could not find a pattern that I really loved. That lead to designing my own. My family now refers to me as the Mad Mad Mask Making Maven.

Side View of Women wearing Face Mask.
Front view of Women Wearing Face Mask

Etsy.com Here We Come

I have always wanted to try selling on Etsy.com. It is a totally different market than selling at Quilt Shows & Sew Expo. It all started with adding my Hand Dyed Bamboo Socks to Etsy. Etsy has recently changed some it’s policies, so finding the current info was a challenge. I made several Face Masks and gave it a try.

Side View of Man wearing Face Mask.
Front View of Man Wearing Face Mask.

Success For the Mad Mad Mask Making Maven

I am happy to say I have actually sold quite a number of my Face Masks. My motto has always been “When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemonade and Carry On”. And if you are interested in purchasing my Face Mask you can find me on Etsy.

Thank You to Bob for being my Model.

I thought I should also add photos from some of the folks that have purchased my Face Masks. Everyone it a little different, so how they wear their Face mask might be a little different.

Male wearing face mask.
male wearing Face mask

Create a Wearable Art Garment!

If you are looking to create a Wearable Art Garment this pattern (Kwik Sew K4104) gives you space to play.  The Lined Open Front Jacket is pretty easy to construct.  It took me longer because of all the embellishments and Quilting that were added.  When I plan to Quilt on a garment constructed with Hand Dyed Cotton Fabric, I always use Flannel as batting.  The Flannel has been washed and dried a minimum of three times in very hot water and dried in a hot dryer.  This is done to get any possible shrinkage out of the way. 

Kwik Sew 4104 Open Jacket

First Cutting

Because I planned to Quilt on this garment, I initially cut the fabric out one-inch larger than the pattern pieces.  This allows for any shrinkage that occurs during Quilting and Embellishing. 

Paper pattern showing the extra one inch added.

Accent Designing 

Accent colors are Hand Dyed Lavender, Sky Blue and Marbled Cerulean.  The strips were made using a ¼” Bias Tape Maker.  The Ultimate Marking Pencil (UMP) was used to draw the lines for strip placement.  After sewing down the colored strips, I used a hot iron (Steam or no Steam, works both ways) to remove the UMP lines.  At this point I felt a little stumped, things didn’t look right, my creative eye was not happy.  Thinking it was time to put the project into a Time Out.  My sister suggested that I hang the jacket on my new dress form to see what I thought.  Realized that I had been constructing in 2D and my brain had been dreaming in 3D.  With a few minor adjustments and I was ready to move on. 

Shows the drawn lines and color placement.

Quilting Design


The Ultimate Marking Pencil is used to draw very basic Quilting outlines.  I always allow myself the freedom to create and adjust as I am Quilting.  The beauty of the UMP is if you are not pleased with the design you can iron it away.  I love the face that once I am done Quilting, I can iron away the markings and no one knows that I Quilted outside the lines.

Shows proposed quilting lines drawn with UMP.

Quilting


Quilting takes time, give yourself time to Quilt.  I always use extra pieces of Cotton and Flannel to do a sample to find the right thread, needle, stitch length and tension.  Remember everything is a huge adventurous experiment.

Close up of Tone on Tone Quilting.

Second Cut


My Fabric has been created.  Time to cut out and mark everything.  Construction of the jacket took less time than making the fabric.  The pattern called for tons of Understitching, so I chose to leave an opening in the lower center back of the lining.  It made it easier to get to all of the places to Understitch.  I sew it up by hand when everything was finished.

Paper pattern piece on quilted and embellished fabric.

Finished Wearable Art Jacket

This is View A, but with all of the Embellishments and Quilting I chose to put pockets in the side seams instead if the Welt Pockets.  Jackets need pockets in my world. This is how I Create a Wearable Art Garment.

Front view of finished jacket K4104.
Back of finished jacket.
3/4 view of finished jacket K4104.

Dress Form Fitted

My garment making career started in seventh grade.  The only place I could find clothes that sort of fit was in the Boys Department at JC Penney, because I was a very tall skinny kid.  A lot of years have been spent dreaming of having my very own Dress Form Fitted to my shape.  Then one morning I woke up and thought, “What am I waiting for?”  This article is not about how to fit your dress form (it will include some helpful YouTube video links), but about my adventure and things that I know now that I wish someone had told me before I started.

What to expect –

  • My first consideration was budget.  I would have loved to say I have unlimited funds and could purchase a Professional Dress Form.  In the real world I have a Mid-Range Budget. 
  • Look at reviews to get an idea of what will and will not work for you. 
  • Do Not expect you dress form to come out of the box and be a perfect double for your body.  Every woman is unique.
  • Do some basic measurements of yourself, it will give you a good place to begin.  Bust, Waist, Hips, Hip to Waist, Neck, Back Waist Length and Height from back of Neck to floor.  
Adjustable Dress Form

Selection –

I had narrowed my choices down to two Adjustable Dress forms.  I then compared my measurements to the two dress forms.  I went with the one that my measurements fell into the middle of their size categories.

Waiting for my dress form to arrive was the worst part.  I tried to “Buy Local” but no one carries Dress Forms locally.  She arrived in one box.  Assembly required.

Help!

The thought of trying to measure and adjust everything all by myself was daunting, so I call in reinforcements to help get my Dress Form fitted.  My sister Karen was up to the challenge.  I found two handouts that were helpful with measuring and having a place to write all of those measurement down. Here are some of my thoughts: 

Front Bra & Padding added to Form
Dress Form with Padding

Then it come down to adjusting here and there.  Measure, adjust here and there.  Padding, measure, adjust here and there.  Total time 4 ½ hours and a lot of laughter.  It was really interesting to see my shape in 3D, as opposed to 2D (Flat) in a mirror.

Finished off with Snug T-shirt

We added a snug fitting T-shirt, so I would not get frightened every time I look her way.

My Only Issue –

The only real issue I had with the Dress Form that I purchased was the base. If you look at the very first photo of the Dress Form it has a silver base that was worthless. Flimsy, if you breathed on the Dress Form it would fall over.

Found a great office chair at the Goodwill for $4.99. When I got it home discovered it was in much better condition than the one in my Studio. Swapped them and gave the office chair and Dress Form to my husband Mike (man that makes all things you cannot buy at the store). And this is what I got back.

New Office Chair Base.

A stable rolling base for my Dress Form. She has her dancing shoes on. Works perfect!

Mandarin Collar

Finished my Marbling and have move to making samples of new Patterns. Mandarin Collar is Kwik Sew K4195. This is the Vest Version. Personally I think it is a Sleeveless Top. Went for bright and fun fabrics, Snowed Dyed Fabric, one Yard piece and 1 5/8 Yards of Hand Dyed Forest Green for size Large.

Mandarin Collar Kwik Sew Pattern K4195

I found the Mandarin Collar to be a fairly easy pattern to put together. As I have a new sewing machine there was a bit of a learning curve and just getting used to the machine.

Completed  Mandarin Collar Top
Back View

When I do samples for my booth I try very hard to sew as the pattern is written. But the way the directions had you do the Sleeve Opening, was not to my liking at all. Instead I found my self using hand made Bias Tape (Snow Dyed Fabric) for the finish. I also had five of the Copper and Silver buttons, so five buttons rather then the suggested four.

Close up of Sleeve Bias Band

Loved using my Snowed Dyed fabric for the Contrast.

Snow Dyed Fabric

Inspiration!

When I attend Quilt Show, I take photos of quilts that inspire me and post them on my Facebook page. Think of it as spreading the inspiration around. Pam Seaberg is a frequent visitor to my booth and website. She shared some of her creation with me so I thought I would pass them on.

Spoiled is off to the Fall Show in Paducah, KY. The lovely Cobalt Blue background is one of my Hand Dyes.

Lady Indiscretion is off to Houston, TX. The Blue Green Background is one of my custom Hand Dyed pieces. I remember Pam saying she wanted lots of variation in the color.

Belle Story is also off to Huston, TX. I forgot yo ask, but I have a feeling that a whole lot of Belle Story is my Hand Dyed pieces.

Life is an Experiment

Somewhere along the line I have come to view my life as one big experiment. In my studio if something sits still to long it could end up in a dye bucket. Recently I received a bolt of Tone on Tone Cotton Fabric and I have questions.

What happens if you throw it into a dye bucket? What happens it you use paintstiks on the printed part of the fabric? Will it stick?

I tossed it in with some Pansy Purple Scarves that I was dying and a whole new look appeared. Added some Iridescent Gold Paintstik, that had been cured, heat set, washed and dried.