Purple Calla Rescue-How to save fabric paintings!


Gammill Quilting Artist Karen Marchetti saves a washed out fabric-painted design that might have otherwise been cast aside! Watch her beautiful Calla Lily come back to life with stitches:

When it comes to fabric painting, saving a project-gone-bad is really quite simple. I’ll rewind back to the beginning…recently, I tried a new fabric painting technique. Well, let’s just say I didn’t follow the directions exactly as they were written–this tends to be a problem of mine. Even though I didn’t follow the directions, my project looked awesome!

PHOTO_01 Calla

It looks great, right? Here I am setting the paint according to the directions (why I chose now to read), or so I thought (that’s a hint that things are about to go bad):

PHOTO_02 Calla

And the next step was to rinse, or should I say, the fail. Of course, you knew that was coming, that’s the whole point of this article.

Here is what my project looked like after the rinse and final pressing:

PHOTO_03 Calla

I’m not going to go over all the details of the technique, what went wrong, why it went wrong–well, we kind of know it has a little something to do with not following directions. What I am going to share is how you can save this project so that it is no longer a failure and can once again become the beautiful piece it was intended to be.

The flower is still there, the leaf is still there–it’s all the additional paint layers, shading, and highlights that rinsed away. We can totally fix that with thread! That technique is called thread painting and I happen to do it on the Gammill. Yeah, the project is not ruined, it’s just changing!

Instead of me inserting a million pictures (or 50), I made up a slideshow to share my process with all of you. Now remember, as with most techniques, there are as many ways to do something as there are people. This is my way. I hope you enjoy the process!

Karen Marchetti, Gammill Quilting Artist

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Rina Hovden



I liked the music but was disappointed I could not see the pictures. I am sure you did a fantastic job with thread painting.


I love what you did with the cala lilly. It cetainly helps to have a picture.
I am hoping to start with thread painting soon.

Karen Isaacson

I have to say that what the author thought was a failure actually looked like a gorgeous watercolor version, not a failure, to me.

Hey dear, Thanks a lot for sharing such great stuff. I have got some excellent ideas in your post. I think fabric painting is very versatile; you can use stencils as Rosanne I have found in your tutorial, and maybe I can experiment with stamps and free-hand art. It’s a good idea to start by pouring off a small amount of paint onto a disposable plate before beginning, so you don’t accidentally contaminate your whole jar of paint. Am I right in my observation, dear?