Tuesday, 1 September 2015

building a fabric

If you remember back in January I built a fabric from a variety of fabrics to make a dragon.

Well, now I am starting to build a fabric again, but this is for the project I can not show.

I have started with a selection of colours - dark medium and light - which when together will give the look I want.
In this case, I have been drawn to the shinier fabrics because the thing I cut from it needs to have a bit of a glow. (I have asked if I can actually tell you what it is I am making from this, even though I can't show it. Still waiting for the reply.)

I am starting with the lightest piece. It will end up in the smallest bits, so they will be highlights, if you will.
This piece is an offcut of lining I somehow ended up with in my stash. I have a good collection of bits of shiny and lining fabrics. I started collecting them when I used to do dressing up costumes for the school. You always need things to make a child feel like a prince or a princess! And now they are useful when you need a small bit of this or that. This piece would normally be tossed because it has light fading where it was folded. But that works for me because it means the fabric is not flat - all one colour. Instead it has a subtle ombre affect.

I cut a piece - I am not precise about measurements. You can see from the metric ruler above and the inches cutting mat below and the dot matrix feed paper it is on, that it is about A4/letter paper length. The width was just the width of the offcut!

I put fusible on the back of the fabric with black Misty Fuse. Normally I wouldn't use black under a light fabric, but I wanted subtle texture. I laid it on the paper so you can see the webbing of the Misty Fuse fusible.
About fusing with Misty Fuse. It does not come with a backing paper, so work with 2 layers of baking parchment. Always lay the item to be fused between the layers when you fuse. Sometimes your fusible is cut slightly bigger than the fabric (see the left edge of the piece above), so you will have edges of fusible you want to protect the iron from. and of course you want a layer between it and your ironing board as well.
A VERY GOOD TIP: write or squiggle something on the side of the parchment that you are going to have next to the fusible. That way when you use it again, you can be sure not to put your iron onto fusible that remains on the paper. It is easier to see the black, but white fusible is easy to miss...till it is on your iron or ironing board. I wrote "This" this time because I used an X last time and had to keep looking very closely to see which side it was written on! Because the baking parchment is translucent, I can tell if the word is up or down better than if an X is.
Another good tip...let it cool down before you peel the parchment away. It comes away much easier.

Then I cut the next piece which is the lightest of the darker fabrics, and put fusible on the back of it, too.
It has been cut a few inches longer than the first one, and a little bit wider. This is a lighter weight fabric, so it bubbled a bit. Probably because I didn't turn the steam off. But I don't mind. It will be small pieces in the end, and lots of pressing, so any bubbles left will be a bit of texture.
It is a good idea to leave this fused piece on your pressing surface when you have peeled away the paper because you will lay strips onto it and it is not easy to move it to fuse them down if you do the placement somewhere else!

Next, I began to cut the first fabric into strips 1 cm wide using the width of the fabric. I placed them staggered on the second fabric and with small gaps between each strip. Don't be too precise about the placement. The slight unevenness will help the work to be more alive. Or in art speak - have movement.
You can stagger alternate - to one edge then to the other edge,
or you can make the staggering less abrupt by having strips halfway between.

For this one, I chose the second method because when it gets all chopped, it gives some interesting effects.

At this point, the 2nd fabric has already been laying on a layer of baking parchment on my ironing board, so all I have to do is lay the other piece of baking parchment on top and press to fuse.
Once I am sure the fabrics are sticking together, I turn the whole sandwich (baking parchment with fabrics between) over and press again to be sure they are fused well.

The next step is to cut a piece of fabric a few inches wider than this new piece you made and a little longer. I chose the second lightest fabric.

Then fuse it.

More about cutting into strips and placement tomorrow. But if you are following along, don't cut it the same direction as these strips were cut!

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