Painting on Organza

Painted Organza Overskirt

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.

Painted Rose

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. 

peacock template

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. 

Painting Peacock Feather

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.


About Justine Limpus Parish

Associate Professor - Art Center College of Design apparel design - Product Design Dept. costume design - Entertainment Design Dept Fashion Instructor: Mt San Antonio College Workshop instructor: Disney Consumer Products
This entry was posted in BELLE ARMOIRE ARTICLES, FASHION DESIGN, SEWING and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Painting on Organza

  1. Suella Postles says:

    That overskirt looks like satin in the photograph. Beautiful!

    I struggle to get the Bele Armoire magazines here in Britain without payingalmost double to price when the postage is considered. I know of no one who now sells them in the UK. Borners used to but alas, closed.

  2. Thanks for the note. I pasted it along to the folk at Belle Armoire. Hope they can do something so you can get it easier in the UK>

  3. Wall Heater says:

    ~”- I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives useful information -“‘

  4. Adam says:

    Hi, was wondering if you could share some tips, on how you fix your fabric paint or the polyester organza. I painted and used a hair dryer to dry it, and even hung it to dry, but it still feels sticky after a couple of days and even though it feels dry, when you hold the fabric some color still rubs off onto your fingers.

    Hope you can advise in any way. Thanks and appreciate it loads.

    • You can set the paint with a hot iron…but a word of warning – If you used polyester organza to paint on be sure to test it first for heat level. Also you must put a muslin pressing cloth on first to protect the fabric. You can actually get it quite hot with the pressing cloth.
      It takes a little trial and error so test first.
      good luck.

      • Adam says:

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. Thing is, my polyester organza is pleated and if I iron I’m afraid it’ll become flat. So I am usin a hair dryer. Any other alternatives you might know? Again, thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Hi Adam,
    If you can slide a wooden block on the pleats as you slide the iron away, you might be able to preserve the pleats assuming they are flat and not mushroom pleats. if the fabric is still in pleating paper, you may have to put the iron directly on the fabric, but you would have to test the heat setting, and you take a risk. sorry I cannot be of more help. Poly organza takes quite a bit of heat to get the paint to stay….hence the pressing cloth.

  6. Anne-Marie Hofman says:

    Thanks I was really disappointed that Jacquard could not answer my question on painting on organza and then I googled your blog. Can you please advise which Lumiere paints are the best. Would like to get more glow into the dress.thanks.

    • Hi,
      Dharma Trading Co. online is a good source for all textile paints, dyes etc. Lumiere is the only one I know of that has the metallic colors. That is what I used. They are made by Jacquard. You can also get metallic powder to add to other paints. The people at Dharma are very knowledgeable. Good luck.

  7. joanna says:

    thank you . i like organza ( i have silk now) but i heard that that the organza i was given was the crispy version which is not so readily available now. I believe its called organda? How can i paint on this? The last time i painted on it , i used a very toxic paint but i did not know about that. Can you tell me what to use on silk Organza to keep the paint color please .. i don’t mind ironing but it seems like its not easy.

  8. Shenandoah says:

    Hi, Was wondering if you further embellishments with beading or metallic threads?

  9. Hannah says:

    Hello Justine,
    I have just purchased some very yummy grape leaf and grapes organdy cocktail napkins with Madeira embroidery. I have purchased a lot of these, nearly 50 but 36 have been painted in fall colors and I know what you mean by the Lumiere paint, they shine brilliantly and it is wonderful. But some of the coloring is not that well done or attractive, and 12 are a very pale gold color with a very slight luminescence. I would like to paint the gold ones as well in fall leaf colors. They are organdy, not organza. I am only guessing that they are cotton. Could you link me to your exact directions on how to do this? I believe I read directions from you saying to soak the fabric in vinegar, use wax etc. It is possible to only use the paint without soaking the napkins, especially on those that have already been painted? I think these date to the 1930s so they may be more fragile than I think but they are very stiff, from paint and from starch is my guess Would be great if I could just wet them and add paint colors very thinly and let dry and then heat set.

    • Hi Hannah, I didn’t say anything about soaking in Vinegar or using wax…must have been someone else. A good source for info. is Dharma Trading Co. in N. California. They are the go to for most of us for textile paint and dye supplies and are very knowledgeable if you call them. Good luck

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s