Collect together a pile of fabrics in all the colours you love. They can be plain or patterned, smooth or textured, but the colours should sit well together. You could use one of the patterned fabrics as inspiration for your colour scheme or select a favourite postcard or picture as a way to co-ordinate your choices. You will only need scraps but gather together a nice wide selection. Throw in some metallics and maybe some pieces of lace or braid.
Next, find a piece of background fabric – calico or firm cotton is ideal. Something around A3 size will give you plenty to work on, but lots of mosaic squares too! Cover it with bondaweb.
Layer small pieces of fabric all over the background, slightly overlapping so you have no unsightly white/cream showing through. (This is when a coloured background could be helpful.) When you have done this iron firmly.
Even though you have ironed these to the bondaweb backing you may find that the pieces aren’t completely secured, so I find it helpful to stitch a line on most of the patches, using a thread in one of the fabric colours. In the picture below you will see that I have used yellow and that the stitching isn’t very neat! Don’t worry about that, you are just trying to anchor the patches down loosely, and in any case, you will be ‘scribbling’ with your machine later. Use your darning foot – essential for wobbly lines! – and only put one line per patch, don’t worry about going right around the edge of every one.
The picture above shows the next stage too. Start to cut out even smaller pieces of fabric and trim and put them over joins, sticking them down with a dab of Pritt stick. The white pieces of paper are Heat n Bond, a heavy duty type of bondaweb. You get a much more solid covering of transfoil when you use it as opposed to Bondaweb, but the latter will be perfectly fine too. I also put the transfoil over the edges, all the time trying to blend the colours and gold from one patch to the other. Below you can see the additional patches I have added, plus the transfoil shapes.
Another advantage of the Heat n Bond (try to get Ultrahold) is that it can easily be cut into shapes. I find this tricky with Bondaweb as the glue always wants to separate from the paper backing, but this doesn’t happen with Heat n Bond. In the photograph below you can see that I have cut some simple lemon shapes and leaves.
Make a selection of threads based on your patched background. I always use tones of those colours, plus a gold metallic thread. This is where the fun begins! Taking one colour at a time, start to ‘doodle’ on your background. Add pattern and detail all over, using your stitches to flatten awkward edges and enhance frayed ones. Try to take a scribbled line from one patch through to another and don’t think about it too much – random is better. Build up with all the colours, going back into some areas that need more attention afterwards. You might even add a few more patches of fabric or transfoil if there are areas that are too open or plain. Finish with the gold or the metallic.
If you are doing a separate motif, like the lemons, I suggest you leave that section until last. You may even want to apply the Heat n Bond pieces after you have finished everything else, which will save you accidently scribbling over a leaf! When you do stitch it, use a dark colour thread that shows up on your mosaic background.
Finally, slice your mosaic background into squares. I find that 1″ squares are best, simply because they are easier to cut with my board and ruler, but I have used 1 1/2″ too and they look very good. In the sample used as a demonstration in this post, I kept the section with the lemons on in one whole piece and then used 1″ squares to complete the other side of the square. It is mounted on a 12 x 12″ canvas board and has a cord around the edge to neaten. Nine little squares make super cards, but you will have so many squares that they can be put to all sorts of uses. I bond the squares to another background – some more cotton if making into cards, but also onto pelmet vilene if I want something that is more like a tile.