I have recently gone back to my painting roots and have been painting on organza to embellish the hems of bridal gowns, overskirts (like the one shown here) and jackets. Having a short attention span, pleating and collaging fabric is not always enough for me. I am always looking for other ways to embellish and change the nature of the fabric.
Here are some tips on painting on sheer fabrics. The first thing to be aware of is that the sheerness also allows a lot of the paint to “fall through the weave” onto the surface below. I have developed a couple of tricks to combat that situation. I also primarily work in polyester organza because I am usually pleating different sections of the garment and it needs to be 100% polyester to hold the pleat permanently.
I use metallic textile paint because it adds to the gloss of the fabric itself. I use a combination of regular metallics and HaloPaint made my Jacquard. It gives the fabric an iridescent look. The metallic and pigment particles tend to separate to create an almost pearlized quality seen in abalone shells. The image to the right is a test sample for the organza overskirt shown above.
I am also making Peacock Coats for Spirit of the Earth in Santa Fe, with hand painted peacock feathers on the bottom of a pleated coat. I make a template, repeat it and put a plastic sheet over the top. To keep the fabric and paint from sticking to the sheet below, I find clear plastic container lids are great to prop up the fabric when painting.
I am also working on my next article for Belle Armoire magazine which will be an expanded version of this article. So be sure to look for it in the November/December issue.