Poppy Things

Flower Transferring to Fabric

Chelsey Sawallich

I pull a lot of my inspiration for my designs from anything natural or botanical.  For a project for one of my Design classes at Kendall, we had to incorporate an innovative technique or a technology to something that has to do with our major and what we want to do after we graduate from KCAD.  

I've always been drawn to prints and bright colors, and have always wanted to try a method of natural dying or flower pounding on fabric.  For my project I chose to make an outfit using the innovative technique of flower pounding.  Shown below is my process of transferring flowers onto a silk skirt I constructed.

Since it was my first time doing this, there were definitely some errors that I made and some changes I will make for the next time I do this.  My process below was:

  1. Find an arrangement of flowers in your color palette of choice.  The purple and deeper colored flowers transferred the best! The greens and yellows transferred splendidly as well.  Pinks and peaches do not transfer well and end up discoloring to brown. (at least they did for me.)
  2. Lay out your fabric or constructed garment on a hard surface.  Place the flowers strategically in the order you'd like them to be transferred.  I constructed the garment first instead of printing on the fabric before constructing the garment because I wanted to place the print on certain areas of the skirt.
  3. Cover the garment with a cheaper cotton or fabric, or place a fabric you'd like to use for something else to get the complete use out of the flowers.
  4. Take a hammer or mallet, wrap it in a sock or with something to prevent the edge of the tool from transferring onto the fabric.
  5. Hammer away! And reveal the beauty.
  6. I soaked my fabrics in a salt/water/vinegar solution to prevent the colors from distorting and it didn't work, it made my colors fade.  Next time I will try soaking the fabric in the solution before doing the flower pounding.

I did notice that the colors transferred brighter onto the cotton that I layered over the silk.  I'm not sure if that's because it was a natural fabric and the silk was synthetic and had polyester in it, or if the order of hammering had something to do with it.  Either way, more experiments to come!  This was a lot of fun, and I plan to do more over Christmas break.

xoxo Chelsey