I recently debuted my new fabric line, Primo, at Fall Quilt Market. Let’s take a look at how this line came to life starting with the tchaps.
I’ve been working on this line for over two years: planning, imagining, designing, shaping, agonizing, sewing, and all of the other -ings that come with designing a line. Over the next series of posts, I’d like to take you through this process from start to finish, so you can see how Primo came to life from May of 2017 to October 2019.
Designing the Tchaps
The process that goes into making a batik fabric starts with the tchap (pronounced ‘chop’) which is the design that you use for the wax resist. It’s kind of like a stamp, except it’s usually made of metal or wood.
My tchap designs start from hand-drawn sketches, and for this collection, I did 5 different designs across 24 different fabrics. We’ll look at the fabrics in a separate post.
Let’s start with the spiral! It’s one of my favorite shapes to doodle and to quilt, so it makes sense for it to show up in my fabric designs too!
When you do a hand-drawn sketch, it has to get scanned in, cleaned up, and then adjusted so that it can be turned into a repeatable design. Without these adjustments, it will be very obvious on the fabric where the design starts and stops.
The next design is triangles! I love that these are so organic and free. I didn’t worry about whether the lines were perfectly straight or if the inside fill touched the outside.
I sketch with a black permanent marker; it makes it hard to control the ink flow sometimes, but knowing I can’t “erase” a line somehow gives me more confidence. If it looks really bad though, I’ll either start over or use correction tape to erase.
The next design in the line is a fun pattern I call bubbles. It’s hard to draw a perfect circle, especially once they get large, but I’m happy with how these turned out.
Initially, I drew all the circles as outlines only, and then went back to color in certain ones. I think it helps the circles stand out more.
The next design is called dash. I sketched this one on the diagonal, but you’ll see what we ended up doing when it came to the actual printing of the fabric.
I decided to alternate every other line with filled in dashes. It’s such a fun print.
The last tchap in the line is called stripe. It takes all of the other tchaps and unifies them into one design.
We did something really fun with this tchap when we placed it on the fabric, and it actually took two rounds of strike offs to get it right!
The next step in the process is to choose the tchap colors for the wax resist, and then the backgrounds.
What do you think of the process so far? Which one is your favorite tchap design?