Yes I am still alive!

Have been getting a steady flow of thermofax screen orders coming through, usually prefaced with a query along the lines of ‘..if you are still in business”!  Made me realise I have been neglecting this blog.  However I haven’t been idle.  For one thing, I just sent off a bunch of Aussie Hero Quilts to soldiers and sailors serving in the Gulf, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  As well as making quilts for them, I print labels to go on the back of the quilts.  If anyone is making a quilt for them, all they have to do is send me a SSAE and let me know how many labels they want and I will pop them in the mail.

sceen printed label for AHQ



Direct to garment printing

image of a white daisy like flowerDTG printed cushion

DTG printers are mainly used to print t-shirts, tote-bags, aprons etc.  They are inkjet printers specifically designed to print to fabric.  For many years I made do with printing to fabric using my home inkjet printer, which works fine providing you have the right sort of printer, or if not, use pre-treated fabric, and, don’t mind putting up with the size limitations.  The print areas of DTG printers vary depending on whether they are single or double platen machines.  The one I use is a double platen and can print up to 45cm x 60cm.

I have just completed this cushion for a client who wanted a very special flower (it looked like a white daisy to me but apparently not!) printed onto grey fabric with a quote about sisters. I extracted the flower from the background in Photoshop, resized and rotated it and added the text.  One of the good things about the DTG process is that it provides photographic reproduction, so you can incorporate all the sorts of photographic effects (drop shadow, bevel and emboss, strokes etc) that you can’t use if you are say using a thermofax or other screen printing process.

This is now on its way across to the other side of the world – I hope she likes it!


You can see a bigger range of examples of DTG printed cushions on my website  Remember, if you can create or capture a digital image, you can print it, with photographic quality, onto fabric.

Small things

I like making small things – they are quick, no big investment in time or materials and very satisfying.  You can sort of work in a series doing lots of small things in a row to work through an idea.  These cards bring together my love of working with rusted fabric, snippets from my embroidery and a few new techniques.  Although not a scrapbooker, I have recently peered into that world and discovered a thing or two that is handy.  A Cutttlebug paper embosser for one, that allows me to add some embossed detail to cards to combine with lace and bits. The last two cards have been embossed.

The numbers 3 and 9 and the ‘@’ were all cut with a an electronic stencil cutter – these are way too much fun and have great potential for surface design.


This little card was inspired by Helen Smith’s work.   I don’t have the sort of printing press that she does, but after a bit of research discovered the Cuttlebug – lots of fun! Technically I think what she did is called collograph printing, whereas I embossed – suspect there is a subtle difference there, but don’t know enough about it!

Digital fabric printing

vintage postcard printed onto fabric

A little while back I showed some vintage postcards from a friend’s collection.  I have scanned all of these at high resolution and recently printed one onto fabric.  This cushion is 35cm x 45cm.  This idea has lots of potential for preserving and sharing old documents – imagine great-grandma’s birth or marriage certificate.

Digital fabric printing produces photo quality images onto fabric and opens up all sorts of possibilities.

A  number of quilt artists use digital printing onto fabric in their work, including Wen Redmond, and Sandra Meech.  At the recent tACTtile exhibition in Canberra I saw a couple of pieces by Beth Miller where she had embroidered/machine quilted on digitally printed fabric images which were close-up of tree bark – very effective.

Do you know of any other quilt/embroidery artists who work with digital fabric printing?

My new venture!

collage of digitally printed photo cushions
I am very excited to announce that I recently launched a new venture – Hilary Metcalf Designs – custom made cushions featuring digitally printed images and text.

I have a range of designs, and am always available to do custom orders – and I have lots of other ideas bubbling away.  At the urging of my daughter I have finally succumbed and launched a  Facebook page.  Initially found this a bit challenging – couldn’t figure out ‘Likes’ from ‘Friends’ at first, but starting to get it now!

So please check out my new webpage and if you are into FB, pop over and ‘Like’ me
(I know, that sounds so needy, but apparently that is what I am supposed to say!)