Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Using Heat to Add Texture to Fabric--Quilter Beth

I have been collecting fabrics of "unknown origin" to use in art quilt projects for quite some time. Many of them were purchased with "setting them on fire" in mind, so this month's technique is right up my alley! What I wanted to do today was get an idea how the fabric reacted to the heat so I could see if I might want to experiment further with it.

I used a heat gun to see how each fabric was changed by the heat. All of the fabrics (except one my friend brought along) contained polyester. I have a book called "Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery" by Maggie Grey that contained a lot of ideas about how to manipulate fabric with heat.

Before I start, let me be clear that if you choose to heat fabric in any way, do it outside. The fumes are harmful to your health! I began the afternoon (outside in my garage) with a suggestion from the book--a chiffon sandwich. I made a sandwich consisting of two pieces of gray polyester chiffon, foil, and fusible web. (I used Heat and Bond Light since that is what I had on hand.) I covered my ironing board with parchment paper and put one of the chiffon pieces on top. I then pressed the fusible webbing onto that piece. I removed the paper backing from the fusible; and while it was still warm, I put some foil on it (shiny side up). I rubbed the foil with the edge of a blunt knife till I had as much color as I wanted, removed the clear top sheet of the foil, and ironed the other piece of chiffon on top of the fusible. (I covered the chiffon with parchment paper before ironing.) This is what that looked like. (The picture turned out darker than the actual fabric.)
Then, as was suggested in the book, I put the sandwich over a piece of velvet, covered with parchment paper, and pressed down firmly. I zapped it with a heat gun after that. I didn't heat it a lot. (I may try that later.) The chiffon sandwich is attached to the velvet.
Next, I spent time zapping different fabrics with my heat gun. Some turned out great; others were dismal failures. This first fabric is a gray polyester that used to be a bed skirt. I think it is my favorite of the day.
This is the original fabric.
I love the really bubbly effect.
These two pictures are the same fabric--top picture is the front of the fabric; bottom picture is the back of the fabric. This fabric turned out very lacy and holey.
In the picture above, I added ink to part of a dryer sheet before I heated it. I wasn't impressed (actually the picture looks BETTER than the original if you can believe that.)
The original fabric is on the left. I thought this would be much cooler; but when I used the heat gun all that happened was that it burned. Again, the picture actually looks better than it does in person.
The original fabric is on the left. The only thing that happened to this fabric when I heated it was that it crinkled a little and sort of shredded.
This is my experiment with Tyvek. I really like the way it crinkled and bubbled. The picture below shows it after I rubbed some Pearl Ex powders onto it.
I tried heating red acrylic felt.
I'm thinking this might have gone better if I had stitched on the felt first (which the book suggested).
This is a strip of poly satin. It crinkled nicely. Then we added some fusible web and foil color to it.
 The picture above shows what happens when you make a silk sandwich (rather than a polyester chiffon sandwich) and heat it. It doesn't shrink or bubble or get holey. We added foil cut outs to it. When this was held up to the light, it was semi-transparent.
This white polyester fabric is the part of a bed skirt that goes under the mattress. I liked how it crinkled.

I can really see how some of these fabrics could make an interesting addition to an art quilt. Stitching, beading, painting, etc. could also enhance the look. Now, to figure out how to use these...

1 comment:

  1. I really like some of the effects you've gotten. And THANKS for putting the warning about doing this outside. I do it in front of a huge box fan blowing out my window. This way the fumes are drawn out away from me. Maybe outside on a breezy day. These fumes are REALLY BAD. Just look at that great grey bubbly fabric!! yeah!!!!

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