Give Your Quilt Art More Drama with Costume Shop Materials – Quilting Daily

When some people pass glittering tulle, pastel sheers, sequins and beads, and rows of embroidered trim at the fabric store, they see costumes. Art quilters see stash.

In fact, many art quilters have also had a hand in the theatre realm. At some point, they looked at the snips of this and that on their cutting table, thought “What if…?” and created a wall hanging.

Here are five examples of theatrical materials that can add drama and dimension to your quilt art.

With tulle, MistyFuse, and bits of sparkly things
from a theater costume shop, you can create dimensional fiber art, by Alice Berg.

Tulle: Tulle can play many roles in your quilt art, from an almost invisible bit player entrapping bits of other fibers (often with the help of some MistyFuse fusible web) to a stand-out solo as glittering snow in a landscape quilt. 

Organza and other sheers: To create depth in a fabric collage or quilt, you can’t beat sheers. Depending on the colors you use, you can achieve shadows and even color combinations. Organza also comes in handy with many surface design techniques.

Beading: Beads catch the light, which is why they make popular costume embellishments. In art quilting, you can use beads for realism (such as a bird’s eye), texture, or fabric embellishment.

Trim: If you’ve ever been to a vintage textile show, you may have seen period costumes dripping with lace, ribbons, and trim. You can often find these luxurious trims at flea markets, specialty shops and online. The prices can be steep, but I find a little bit of these textiles can go a long way in a mini quilt or fabric postcard.

fiber art with fosshape by leisa rich
Dimensional art quilt by Leisa Rich, using FOSSHAPE.

Stabilizers and foundation fabrics: The same kinds of non-woven materials used to create fantastical costumes and masks can be used to create three-dimensional quilt art.

One of these is FOSSHAPETM, a unique white, pliable, nonwoven fabric that resembles felt but can be formed into various shapes when exposed to heat and pressure. It is most often used in the theater world to construct parts of costumes, props, and sets.

So, if you are looking to give your quilt art more drama, go to a show for inspiration. And be sure to get our Ultimate 3-D Fiber Art Collection, with MistyFuse, FOSSHAPE, and instructions from three top quilt artists. 

P.S. Have you been inspired by costuming from the ballet, the theater, or even “Dancing With the Stars”? What caught your eye and how did you use it in a quilt? Leave your comments below.

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