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I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for, and I was hoping you all could help me figure it out. (And I do hope I'm posting in the right group!  I wasn't sure!)

I've been trying to find some nice sturdy fabric (think upholstery or something) that has a *very* widespread pattern on it.  So, as an example, say you were making a chair cover, and the main fabric was solid red, but on the front left corner would be a pretty design.  Or if you were sewing up a set of long drapes, the fabric would be a solid color, with just a small design on the bottom. 

I'm not looking for soemthign that has just a border pattern.  I'm just trying to find a solid fabric that has a pattern, but the pattern is *widely* spaced out, so you coud just grab a small section of the pattern whil the rest is solid.

I don't know if this type of thing even exists - I've been trying all kinds of terms to find it and coming up empty for the last 2 months.  I'm beginning to wonder if people just buy solid-color fabric and then dye or embroider these little bits on the edges - but o me it doesn't look like that. (There was a recent example on a bag that I saw, but I can no longer find it - and it's driving me crazy!)

here, maybe if I do this - I found a picture of a regular handbag, and I'm photoshopping it to illustrate what I mean.  Kep in min, the design (when I see this type of thing) isn't embroidered on, or appliqued on - it looks like it's part of the print - like it was dyed to be this way.

Would anyone know how to accomplish something like this?  *is* it just a dye-job?  Maybe painted dyes (it doesn't look like fabric paint, either!)

Thanks :)

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Oh, I don't have a particular project in mind yet - I've just been interested in this particular thing. i've seen it on pillows (where one corner has the design), on clothing (I tend to see it a lot in skirts or blouses), etc. I was just interested in how it was done. I've heard of painting fabric with dye before, but if that's what this is (rather than actual fabric paint or screen printing) how would one accomplish say, white on black? people don't paint fabric with *bleach* do they?
Thanks so much for all of this information! I really appreciate it :)
I'd recommend you investigate the fabric painting books available at (Dharma being a primary source of fabric dyes) and maybe other on-line resources.  There are lots of copyright free designs you can use (scaled up or scaled down) and some pretty slick methods for transferring them to fabric where you can do a "paint-by-number" approach even if you hve NO artistic talents.   The exact how-to information should be in a book -- probably complete with fantastic pictorial illustrations.   Stamps (as suggested by another commentor) are "possible" but then your are stuck with the scale of the stamp -- that's why I'd recommend you look for a much more hands-on, generic how-to book.  You might even find you could borrow one from your local lending library! 
I am quite sure it is a solid fabric with some sort of method to add the butterfly in one corner. A dye or reverse method of dying.
for simple logo, you can use the stamp.

Try a Stencil:

Although in manufacturing that spot graphic was probably screen printed on solid fabric, you can get a similar look with a stencil and spray paint.  I think these are available at the big craft stores and I've seen cute stencils for sale on  It's also fun to use acetate and cut your own designs.  I have also used contact paper for more simple graphics, just use scissors to cut out the design, peel the back and stick it to the fabric.  To keep most stencils from shifting, I use spray glue on the back of the stencil so it adheres flat to the fabric.

Paint: For color you can use traditional stencil brushes and fabric paint.  If you want to try spray paint,  lightly 'dust' the stencil  with spray paint until you get the right level of color.  And yes, I use regular spray paint from the hardware store when I can't get fabric paint.  There is an odor that fades away if you hang it out to 'air'.  I use this same technique to use lace and crochet as the stencil, and spray over those to get a lacy pattern. 

Note: to prevent wet paint from bleeding through the fabric to another layer, be sure to have a pad of newspaper behind the fabric, especially when painting on garments.  I also add a 'mask' of cardboard around the stencil, in case the wind blows the spray (you need to play with this outside or in a big space with air circulation).

Here is a nice stencil tutorial from DesignSponge:

hope your projects are a success!  Jen

Another idea for creating your own or finding something unique is Spoonflower


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