Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Machine fusion fiber - tutorial, part two

As promised - here's part two of the machine fiber fusion tutorial! You can catch part one here.

Before we get back to the sewing machine, just a gentle reminder - this is an original tutorial, designed and written by myself. It's copyright and may not be copied or transferred without my direct permission.

It’s time to fill in the little gaps on the fabric and add another layer of color:

I’ve used a cherry red & a darker green to fill in the background. Using different colored sewing machine thread will add depth & richness to the finished piece.

Here’s a close-up of the surface:

You can now dissolve the top layer of stabilizer. Follow the manufacturer’s directions! I find it’s easiest to soak smaller pieces in my bathroom sink.

Make sure you’re using color-fast fabric & threads before this stage:

Place the completely rinsed out fabric face down on a studio towel on your ironing board and cover the back with a second towel or a pressing cloth. We’re trying to dry & flatten the piece of fabric at this stage.

I’d avoid directing touching the surface of the fabric with an iron - some water-soluble stabilizers can leave a film of gunk on on the bottom.
Here's how it looks after being rinsed and pressed:
Trim off all the loose threads from sewing, because we're breaking out the fabric paint!

This is a completely optional step… I don’t always use paint on the fusion fabric - but in this case, I like the effect.

I’m using one of my favorite fabric paints (Lumiere by Jacquard) in halo pink-gold, metallic gold & metallic olive green. I added small lines around some of the stitching & added lines where I felt it needed more definition.

Here's a close-up, so you can see how the paint was applied:

After the paint dries throughly (don’t put tacky or wet paint through your sewing machine - you’ll be very, very unhappy!) we’re going to add some more stitching and finish this piece.
I added lines of metallic stitching around the roses - just to add another dimension of color. Metallic thread can be tricky to work with, so remember to use a metallic embroidery needle, go slowly, loosen your tension slightly and try using a bobbin thread specifically meant for metallic threads.
And we're done! There are some many ways of using this technique - the sky truly is the limit :-)

tutorial & all images are copyright C Findlay-Harder

Machine fusion fiber - tutorial

I love creating layers fabrics using different fibres, fabric and even paint! This is a more in-depth look at a similar technique of mine, that I showed here.

This technique is fantastic for creating art quilts, fibre art or mixed media projects!

As always,
just a gentle reminder - this is an original tutorial, designed and written by myself. It's copyright and may not be copied or transferred without my direct permission.

To begin, let's get our supplies in order:
I’ve got 100% cotton fabric, heavy-duty interfacing, water soluable fabric, hand-dyed raw silk & wool, silk floss & yarn trimmings.

For your first step, cut a rough square out of your fabric and fuse the heavy-duty interfacing to the back:

Now for the fun part! Tease the raw silk & wool apart and start laying it on the fabric to form a background. Don’t try and cover too much - part of the this is being able to see a little hint of the fabric peeking through:
I’ve cut out several printed flowers (yes, my stash does tend to look like an enthusiastic moth was in it :-) and placed them on the wool/silk layers:
I’ve gently teased apart some hand-dyed raw silk and placed it over some of the flowers:
This is a fantastic use for little thread or fabric ends. I’m using short little nubbly trimmings from a friend’s loom, lightly sprinkled over the surface:
The next step is to pin a sheet of water soluble film over the layers & pin securely. I’m using a lightweight Sulky product here, but there are lots of different options on the market. Just make sure the film dissolves in water completely - I once spent hours making a sheet of fusion fabric, only to discover that the film I was using was a pull-apart - which was completely hopeless! Before you start sewing, make sure you have a fresh, brand-new needle in your sewing machine. Drop the feed dogs & switch to a free-motion foot.

We’re going to begin by using a neutral colored thread and making an even covering all over the fabric

. Don’t worry about making a meticulous pattern, all you’re doing is anchoring the layers together.

Remember to take the pins out before you sew over them!

Now that there’s an even covering of stitches, you can get to the more decorative stuff! I’m using quite a bright pink thread to “draw” over the fabric rose. Try using brighter colors instead of going for an exact match for this layer of stitching - it will give your work highlights.
It’s still not much to look at right now! Keep going - it will get there!

I think that's enough for one post for now - I'll post the second half of the tutorial later on.

tutorial & all images are copyright C Findlay-Harder

What to do with those little scraps of yarn? Fiber fusion tutorial

I collect yarn because it’s beautiful, or unusual, or because I know it will work for a particular project. But what happens after you’ve made something and you have little pieces of yarn left over? I hate to throw anything away and so needed to come up with a creative way to use those nummy little bits of yarn.

I’m also an art quilter and a mixed media artist, so worked out a way use those little scraps to make free-motion felt.

Before we get to the tutorial, just a gentle reminder - this is an original tutorial, designed and written by myself. It's copyright and may not be copied or transferred without my direct permission.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way - let's get to the fun stuff!

I usually start with a piece of fabric that has heavyweight interfacing fused to the back. You can also use a heavyweight water-soluble stabilizer as well, if you want a lacier finished project. I’ve used a 100% cotton batik print for this project:
I’ve selected a blend of yarns and have pulled them apart to show the detail a little better:

There’s mohair, metallic yarns and a couple different types of novelty yarn in here. The next step is to spread them over the fabric until you like the arrangement. You can also add scraps of fabric, plastic, silk or roving - be creative! As long as it can go through a sewing machine and can be washed - you can use it.

Like how it looks? Good! We now have to pin a lightweight water-soluble stablizer to the top of the fabric/yarn sandwich:

It’s better to use too many pins than too few and have yarn falling out!

Before you begin, drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine and switch to a free-motion foot (if you have one)

I usually use a thread that matches the fabric in the bobbin and a contrast thread for the top. Play around with different colors and see how it changes the look of the piece.

Start stitching in loose circles or squiggles, we’re not trying to be really accurate, just to make sure the yarn is securely attached to the fabric. Pull out the pins as you work across the fabric, it can trash your machine if you sew over a pin! After you’ve covered the fabric uniformly, try using a different color thread. I’ve used three different threads for the sample project, and have used many more depending on the effect I want. You can see how densely the fabric has been covered by stitches, it’s very important to do this, otherwise the yarn will just pull away from the fabric!

The next step is to wash out the water-soluble stabilizer using warm water (it’s not neccessary to use soap) Make sure the stabilizer is completely washed out. Place the fabric face down on a towel and use an iron, set to an appropriate temperature for your yarn & fabric, to dry & flatten the fabric:

Now it's time to embellish! I used a fine ribbon yarn in my bobbin to stitch the large flower, and silk sari yarn for the smaller flowers. The largest flower also has a metallic yarn in the middle of the petals. I couched the sari yarn using a zig-zag stitch:

I’m planning on using this piece on an art quilt, but you can use this same technique for clothes, jewelry, accessories… or anything you want! The sky is the limit for this technique, as long as it can go through a sewing machine and warm water, you can use it.

Here's the finished piece:

tutorial & all images are copyright C Findlay-Harder