Felted Finery – Sheer Serendipity

Felted Flower with Beads

One of the things that makes machine needle felting unique is the variety of fabrics that can go under the needle and be permanently altered. This metamorphous takes on some exciting prospects when using sheers such as organza, which will be the basis of today’s fiber play.

For our first little felting adventure you will need an extra light stabilizer, such as Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer, Carriff’s .50 embroidery stabilizer, or worse come to worse, a used drying sheet. You will also need a small embroidery hoop and some regular organza (not silk organza).

Hoop your stabilizer and top it with a cut piece of organza about the size of the hoop.

Hoop with Stabilizer

Starting in the middle, slowly felt from the center out. I like to tack the center down and then felt in a cross pattern followed by an “X” pattern. This way the fabric being felted has less of a tendency to fold.

Organza

Do a good, solid felting job on the organza and then remove it from the hoop.

Completed Felting of Organza

The back should feel like a soft bristle hairbrush. Cut away excess stabilizer. Set your iron on the “cotton” setting and prepare your ironing surface with a nonstick appliqué sheet or some parchment paper. Place the felted organza piece face down and iron back and forth for about 8-10 seconds. The piece should now be very thin and smooth on both sides.

Ironing Organza

Using any shapes you like, outline them onto the back side of the organza piece and cut them out. I chose tulips, a heart, a star, and a free form flower. Wouldn’t these be pretty on a little girl’s dress or a child’s quilt?

Tulips

Notice the difference in the nature of the new felted organza compared to organza alone. This new non-fraying fabric can be cut, appliquéd, and even felted to other items. Also, you can double the felted organza layers and have a more opaque surface. Use your imagination and I’m sure you will think of many ways you can use it.

Cut Out Items

For the stem of the flowers, I used two different products as stabilizers, each having its own unique properties. The process for each was identical. In one hooping, I used the Carriff .50 stabilizer. In the second, I used Gerber EZ-liner disposable diaper liners.

EZ-liner

Before you think I’ve fallen off the deep end, let me say that I read about the EZ-liners in a fiber art book, where the author used them with a heat gun. They melt and that makes them desirable to fiber artists.

Hoop your stabilizer and cut a piece of dark green organza. Felt it to the stabilizer just as you did in the previous exercise

Green Organza

Now cut a light green piece of organza and felt it on top of the dark green organza. Give it a good going over and then remove it from the hoop.

Double Layer Organza

The back should look very interesting with the light and dark organza fibers popping through. Cut away excess stabilizer and place on a nonstick appliqué sheet. Top with parchment paper and iron for about ten (10) seconds on the “cotton” setting. Do this in a well-ventilated area.

The EZ-liner will melt into the fibers; the Carriff will not. Both have some very promising qualities. One, they can be cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and they do not fray.

Rotary Cut Fabric

Two, they are a two-sided fabric, both sides being different in appearance. I used the EZ-liner fabric for my tulip stems. I found a different use for the Carriff fabric owing to its unusual texture on the back.

In part two, I’ll share how I made one more alteration to the Carriff felted fabric and the potential I see in it for fiber artists. I’ll also show you how to make the beautiful pink flower at the beginning of this post.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

N. Rene West
Time Treasured

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7 Comments

  1. Micki said,

    March 5, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    This is another wonderful tutorial. I am enjoying them and learning alot. I really appreciate your generosity in sharing your knowledge with us all.

  2. fembellish said,

    March 5, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Thank you, Micki, and I’m so glad you’re finding the tutorials helpful. It’s very kind of you to take the time to comment on the things I post. Your feedback is really beneficial to me.

  3. Elaine said,

    March 6, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    I can’t wait for Part II! I’ve always wanted to melt those diaper liners. Your site is better than a Quilt Festival class – Thank you!

  4. Sigrun said,

    March 7, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Thank you for all of this interesting tutorials. I got my embellisher yesterday and was so happy to find your blog on the web with all this wonderful things;))
    Now I am searching for the Sulky produc you described… would be not so easy here in Autria

  5. Wendy said,

    March 9, 2007 at 7:38 am

    THANK YOU for sharing all your knowledge, just purchased a baby lock embellisher on ebay and I am overwhelmed at how great this is. In a remote part of the Highlands in Scotland one can easily give up when you dont have experience and knowhow but thankfully I found your site. Your site is the most helpful and informative.No other website comes close. You truly are an inspiration. Keep up the good work

  6. fembellish said,

    March 9, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    I’m very excited for all of you that are purchasing the Babylock Embellisher or other needlepunch attachments/machines. I truly believe they hold secrets we’ve yet to uncover. Wendy, Sigrun, Elaine, thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement.

  7. March 10, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Hi, just found your blog, and I see I can learn me a lot here 🙂 I have got my Janome xpression yesterday, and I think it´s so fun!


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