I started with a large piece of medium weight white cotton fabric. It doesn't have to be cotton, that is just what I had.
Next I used fabric paints, stamps and stencils to add pattern all over the base fabric. I didn't worry about perfect prints from the stamps. I wanted some of it to be lighter in different areas.
After placing the fabric on plastic sheeting, use watered down acrylic paints to paint all over the fabric. I added a lot of water to the paint.
It will stiffen the fabric as it dries. It also tones down the first layer of pattern. Allow to dry completely.
While the paint is drying I gathered the materials I was going to add to my project. I went through my stash and picked out anything that was in the colour range I wanted to use. It is a good idea to choose something to stand out as the focus of the piece. I used the black flowers for my main focus. You could use a printed fabric that you can cut some images from too. I have sheer fabrics, some printed fabric, rusted fabric, lace, felt, sari fabric, plastic bag, ribbon, used dry tea bags and painted tissue paper (an old dress pattern). You can also use old doilies, antique fabrics and old linens. This is mixed media so anything goes.
I used a fabric marking pencil to outline the finished size of my piece so I knew how big an area I had to cover. I tore everything into smaller pieces and laid them out on my background. I left areas of the background visible. I tried to overlap all the pieces a little.
I find it helpful to cut a hole in white cardboard the size of the finished piece so I can see my design more clearly. I walk away from the work for a few minutes (coffee break) so when I come back I can see the layout with fresh eyes. When I am happy with the design I use a toothpick to apply a tiny amount of fabric glue to the corners of everything to hold it all in place. You could pin or tack it instead.
Now it is time to stitch the piece together. This can be done by hand or machine or both. I start with machine stitching then add hand work later. I didn't outline all the objects, nor did I only use straight stitch. Anything goes.
The finished art piece with a few extra embellishments. I added some beads and metal rings.
I also did a second piece using the exact same materials but doing strips of fabric instead of squares. I also added random short, uneven pieces on top of the joins in places. This breaks up the striped effect a bit. The horizontal stripes are wire that I flattened at the ends.
I also did a third piece using those same materials. I had a long piece of the background material left so I added all the other fabrics to it and glued them down as before. I then turned the piece over and used a rotary cutter to cut it into squares. It is best to do this from the back so you don't choose where to cut and it is truly random.
I took some time to arrange all the squares into a pattern that was pleasing to my eye. You can see in the finished piece below I still changed things around a bit as I started stitching.
I stitched each square separately. Some are machine stitched and some are hand stitched. I added a lot of beads and some metal pieces. I also used Lumiere paints on three of the squares, just painting right over the top of the fabrics and lace.
I have more ideas for this technique that I will share shortly when I have finished them.