In 1734, South-eastern Prussia a guild was founded for the blue and Schönfärber crafts, wherein linen, and in later years cotton fabrics, were printed using a particular indigo blue dye and a resist process.
History and Development
Although Blaudruck or Blueprint fabric design is highly parochial and a traditional folk art, rather than existing on a commercial level, the ideas and inspiration for this form of textile design, had its roots in the wider art forms of the eighteenth century. Peasants from Cottbus and Lusatia were influenced by elaborate tapestries, expensive furnishings and blue and white porcelain styles they saw in around them during the 18th century. Blueprint then developed into a cottage industry of hand-woven linen fabrics, made by the rural population, and then dyed predominantly in indigo blue but occasionally in red or yellow.
For many handcrafts, as well as Blaudruck, industrialization spelled the end of most blue printing workshops and only a handful remained to carry on this craft.
The color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and appears first as brown. After drying, the material is placed in a developing bath, in which the brown ink changes to a bright blue by a chemical reaction. The fabric is finally boiled, pressed and then ready for use. Printing must be done very carefully, as errors can not be corrected. This craft process is a further development of the original reserve print and is used when a blue pattern is to be created on a white background.
It is a dyeing process, not a printing process as the color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and initially appears brown. After drying, the material is then placed on racks in a developing bath, and a chemical reaction turns the brown ink to a bright blue. Lastly, the fabric is boiled and pressed before it is ready for use. The fabric is hung on an iron frame in layers and dipped into a deep ‘Färbebottich,’ or vat.
An alternative process can create a similar blue colored fabric using a form of etching using a corrosive substance (etching), which also leads to a white pattern on a blue background.
The ornamental motifs and patterns that are used, in Blueprint textiles, are some of the oldest known patterns used in textile design. Florals, perpetual borders and Christianity motifs were popular themes and clearly an integral part of folk’s lives.
“Blueprint” have been used to decorate such items as tablecloths, pillowcases, curtains, and wall hangings.Even in clothing fashion, it was used as as an element of ethnic minority from the Lusatian region. Aprons, in particular are printed with different patterns on the front and back
Traveling to different places in the world gives me an excuse to investigate folk traditions in fabric design. Something I find incredibly inspirational when it comes to designing my own artwork. Fabric and furnishings can also reflect the cultural and historical nuances and traditions of a region.
Norwegian embroidery and weaving
Where would you find a beautiful fabric motif like this, but Innsbruck?!
Hardanger embroidery on a cafe curtain
Norway is a country, where you will find many original and distinctive fabrics in many different forms.
Click on each individual photo to see a larger version
I am often called upon to make a soft splint in my job and thus have to engage the services of a sewing machine, something that I have developed an intense Love- hate relationship with!!
It constantly surprises me that young girls do not know how to use or operate a sewing machine! There are many instructions guide out there but most problems in using the machine fall in to the following categories, and thus I am sharing these with any beginner sewers out there.
Looping stitches on underside of fabric
Incorrect threading can cause this
Upper tension too light
*The presser foot is not positioned correctly or laid down before sewing
Wrong needle size or thread type for fabric sewn
Bobbin under thread breaks
Lower tension too tight?
Bobbin has been unevenly wound ( vary the machine speed when winding bobbin)
The bobbin has been over wound and is too full
Both upper and lower tension is probably too tight
Presser foot is not resting fully on the fabric
Fabric is being pulled through the machine
Machine is threaded incorrectly
Thread has been wound on bobbin unevenly
Wrong needle size or type
Machine not feeding properly
Reverse is engaged (believe me, it CAN happen)
The feed dog may be lowered
Insufficient pressure on the presser foot
Guide fabric through until machine feed dog can grip fabric securely
Incorrect threading of machine
Incorrect threading of bobbin – usually threaded clockwise
Common sewing problems are something I ponder about