Fabrications – Encased (part three of case construction)

With our fabric embellishments complete, we now move on to the basic construction of the case. First, measure across the top or bottom of your fabric. Cut two strips of the base fabric 1 1/4″ wide by the length of your measurement plus an extra inch. For example, my strips measured 1 1/4″ x 7 1/4″.

Place one strip at the top of your fabric, right sides together, and stitch. Repeat this step at the bottom of your fabric.

Top and Bottom Strip

Fold the raw edge, press, and fold again, lining the folded edge up with the seam line. Pin in place (or secure with Glue Pins) andtopstitch. Trim the edges so that they are flush with the sides.

Topstitching

Now measure the length of your fabric sides. Cut two strips that measure 1 3/4″ wide by the length of your measurement plus an extra two inches. Stabilize these strips with fusible interfacing.

Side Strips

Place the first strip on one side, right sides together, with an inch extending on each end. Stitch using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Repeat this step on the opposite side.

Side Strips with 3/8″ Seam Allowance

Take your project to your pressing area and make a 3/8″ fold down the raw edges of both strips. Press in place.

Pressed 3/8″ Edge

Next, turn the fold back on itself (right sides together), lining it up with the seam line on the right side of the fabric. Mark a line at each corner even with the finished edge of the top and bottom. Stitch all four lines, securing the beginning and ending stitches with a few back stitches.

Stitched Corners

Your project should now look like this.

Untrimmed Corners

Trim each corner, leaving about 1/8″ seam allowance at each edge.

Trimmed to 1/8″ Seam Allowance

Turn each of the corners to the right side. You may like to use a stiletto to get nice crisp edges. Press the sides in place and pin (or use Glue Pins).Topstitch down each side.

Finished Corners

Topstitched Sides

If you feel the sides of your project, the finished trim should extend a little beyond the inner seam allowance. This will be helpful when we begin the next phase of the project.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Encased (part two of case construction)

Machine quilting this little case is quite easy since you can simply use the patterns found on your organza overlay and base fabric.Set up your sewing machine with a free motion foot, drop your feed dogs, and change your needle to one that is appropriate for the thread you will be using. I chose a green rayon thread for the leaves in my organza fabric. Loosen your top tension if necessary.

Begin quilting around the patterns in your fabric.

Quilting Around Leaves

Quilting Around Flower

Switch to another decorative thread and continue machine quilting. I chose Sulky Sliver for some of the scrolling patterns in my base fabric. Sliver can be a little tricky to work with. I use a net and stand it vertically on a thread stand. I also loosen my top tension a good bit with this thread. It’s a good idea to test stitch before working on your actual project since thread tension is key when working with Sliver. If the tension is too loose, it will cause thread buildup on the wrong side of your fabric. If it’s too tight, the Sliver will break.

Quilting with Sulky Sliver

When your quilting is complete, position your felted floral round on the surface. Once you’re happy with its placement, tack it down with a small amount of fabric glue.

Felted Floral Round

To embellish your flower, choose an assortment of beads in various shapes. I chose bugles and rounds. Hand stitch the beads around the circumference of your flower. Use a strong thread (not cotton).

Hand Beading Around Flower

In the same manner, create a stem for your flower with an assortment of green beads.

Hand-Beaded Stem

In part three, our little case will begin to take shape.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Encased (part one of case construction)

We’ll come back to the felted floral round created in the previous tutorial during part three. For the next step, you will need a base fabric, a sheer print fabric, some Angelina, and a stiff stabilizer such as Timtex, and fusible interfacing. These supplies will be transformed into the body of the MP3 case/carrier.

First, cut two pieces of base fabric twice the length of your desired case size. For example, my case is 6 1/2″ wide and 6 1/2″ tall. So I cut my fabrics 6 1/2″ x 13″. (The finished fabric will be folded in half to form the case.)

Cut Base Fabric

Next, press fusible interfacing to the back side of each base fabric piece.

Interfaced Base Fabric

From your sheer print fabric (I used a print organza), cut one piece using the same measurements as you did for your base fabric. This is probably the most important element of this project since the sheer print totally changes the appearance and texture of the base fabric. Although I used yardage, sheer print scarves would probably work quite well in this project.

Sheer Print Organza Layer

To stabilize the case, cut a piece of Timtex or similar heavy stabilizer the same size as your base fabric. If you would prefer a softer case, a cotton batting would make a good substitute. Set it aside for now.

Heavy Stabilizer

Take one piece of your base fabric and spray it with 606 fusible spray, following the directions on the can. I chose 606 because it leaves no evidence of its presence when working with sheer fabrics.

606 Fusible Spray

After your spray dries for a few minutes, pull a small amount of Angelina and sprinkle the fibers on top of the sprayed fabric. (I used Ultraviolet and Peacock.)

Angelina Fibers

Place the sheer print on top of the fibers and move the piece to your pressing area. Top the layers with parchment paper and press for about three seconds on a silk setting. The layers should adhere to each other and now form a single piece of fabric.

Pressing Layer Together

Next, spray the surface of your heavy stabilizer with 505. Position the second (unmodified) piece of base fabric evenly on the stabilizer, and press it in place with your fingers. Turn the stabilizer over, spray the second side with 505, and position your transformed fabric in the same manner.

505 Spray

Your project is now ready for stitching, which we will take up next time.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part seven)

With my leaves complete, I’m ready to move on to the quilt top embellishment phase. However, I thought I should backtrack a little and share how I pieced the quilt for those of you who are new to the art of quilting.

I chose the maple leaf sun print for the center of this quilt. To set the paint as well as prepare the piece for cutting, I pressed it for several minutes on each side. I then chose a large number of fabrics that I liked for the rest of the piecing.

Heat Set Sun Print

Next, I rotary cut the edges off the maple sun print so that I had an irregularly shaped center.

First Cuts

To prepare my sewing machine for quilting, I threaded the needle and filled the bobbin with 100% cotton thread. I then attached a patchwork foot. The new patchwork feet with guides are absolutely wonderful accessories for achieving perfect 1/4″ seams.

Patchwork Feet – Bernina #57 with Guide, Bernina #37, and Baby Lock

The free form piecing of this quilt made is both enjoyable and easy. For the first round, I rotary cut strips of fabric in random shapes as I worked my way around the center piece. After sewing each strip, I pressed the seam and then cut its edges to prepare it for the next strip.

First Strip

Squaring of First Strip

I repeated this process all the way around the center sun print. If you’ve ever pieced a log cabin or pineapple quilt, this will have a familiar feel for you.

First Round Complete

I deliberately kept my first round of strips on the narrow side. For the second round, I cut my strips wider than the first but used the same process in my piecing.

I continued strip piecing the quilt top until I reached the approximate size I desired. Towards the end, I shaped my strips so that they would begin to square up the corners of the quilt top.

Piecing Complete

Once I completed all the piecing, I then did a more accurate squaring of the quilt top to prepare it for the next stage.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part six)

The fourth and last leaf design in this series uses a technique that produces a luminous web-like surface. I saw a similar technique in Quilting Arts Newsletter several months ago. My method is a little different, but it works well for me.

To create the leaves, first cut some synthetic organza a little larger than the size of your leaf templates. I used an organza print.

Cut Organza

Next, cut pieces of Stitch Witchery the same size as your cut organza. Place the organza on a pressing sheet. Top the pieces with the Stitch Witchery. Cover these layers with parchment paper. With an iron set on the “silk” setting, press the pieces for about 2 seconds. Very important! Do not over press or the Stitch Witchery will melt. The goal is to have the Stitch Witchery somewhat attached to the base organza but not melted into it.

Lightly Fused Stitch Witchery

Cover your work area with plastic or glass. Gather the following supplies: a stiff bristle paintbrush, a respirator, and several colors of Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments. Pearl Ex pigments are nontoxic, but when I use powders I always use a respirator.

Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments

Dip your paintbrush into one of the powdered pigments and brush it around on the surface of the Stitch Witchery. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Add as many colors as you like, or use a single color if you prefer.

When you’re finished, transfer the pieces to a pressing sheet, and set your iron on a cotton setting with steam activated. You are NOT going to press the pieces. Pick your iron up and hover it over the organza pieces about 1-2 inches above the ironing surface. Do not let the iron touch your work. Move slowly above the pieces, allowing the steam to adhere the fusible to the base organza and set the powdered pigments. About 5-6 seconds should do the trick. Let the surface cool before touching your pieces.

Set Pigments

Transfer the pigmented organza to a glass or heat proof flat surface. Place your leaf templates on top of the pieces. (I used template plastic, which can be melted by the heat tool, but moved quickly so that the hot tip would not damage the edges.)

Leaf Templates

With a hot heat tool (stencil cutter or wood burning tool), move quickly around the edges of your template. The organza should melt away easily. Save your scraps for a future project.

Heat Tool Finished Edges

Transparency and luminosity give each leaf a truly unique appearance. Of course, leaves aren’t the only things you can create with this technique.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part five)

I was asked a question about heat tools. When I’m working with organza or other synthetic sheers, I usually use a stencil cutter for cutouts or edge finishing. Some people use a wood burning tool. Both of these accomplish the same end. I recently purchased the Creative Versa-Tool by Walnut Hollow, and I must say this is one nice toy! You’ll probably be seeing it used in my blog entries soon.

Leaf one and two left me with lots of pretty little scraps that I decided to use in leaf three. I cut a circle of copper organza and placed a piece of Heat n’ Bond Lite (minus the paper backing) on top of it. I then cut the scraps into various random shapes and placed them on top of the Heat n’ Bond. I topped these layers with copper tulle and moved the group to a Teflon pressing sheet.

Scrap Sandwich

Next, I placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the layers and pressed on a wool setting for about 7-8 seconds.

I then prepared my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with a variegated rayon thread. The rest of leaf three was worked in the same manner as leaf two. First, I free motion stitched the surface. I then marked the outline of an oak leaf with a chalk marker and hooped the organza circle.

Hooped Organza; Chalk Outline

I stitched around the chalk outline eight times, building up thread.

Stitched Outline

Completed Stitching

Using sharp craft scissors, I carefully cut the leaf out, leaving a tiny bit of organza showing around the edges. I then used a heat tool (stencil cutter) to finish the edges.

The trapped scraps gave this leaf wonderful shading and texture. Additionally, I could make any number of these leaves, and they would all have a different appearance.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part four)

The second leaf I crafted was the largest of the four. I began by cutting a circle from a very sheer print (either nylon or polyester) and placing it in my 7″ embroidery hoop. I cut a strip of variegated “Harvest” organza ribbon (1 1/2″ wide), lightly sprayed the back with 505, and positioned it on the sheer background fabric.

Hooped Sheer Fabric

I continued cutting strips of ribbon and placing them in the hoop until the center was completely covered.

Organza Ribbon Strips

Next, I set up my sewing machine for free motion work, dropping the feed dogs and attaching a closed free motion foot. For my top thread, I chose Superior Halo #369. Halo is a thick decorative thread for bobbin or serger work , but it can also be used as an upper thread if you insert a large-eyed needle such as a jeans/denim #100/16, loosen your upper tension, and sew at a slow speed.

Using a simple meandering stitch, I free motion stitched the entire ribbon area.

Superior Halo Thread

Meandering Free Motion Work

This time I transferred the leaf outline to the fabric by tracing around a template with chalk. Contact paper would have worked just as well, but sometimes I like to mix things up a little.

Chalk Outline

With the same thread and machine settings, I free motion stitched the chalk outline. I made about eight passes in order to build up the thread.

Stitched Leaf Outline

I then cut around the thread outline with my nice sharp craft scissors and finished the edges with a heat tool (see previous post).

Edges Finished with Heat Tool

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N. Rene West
Time Treasure

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part three)

I wanted some dimensional leaves for the surface of my nameless quilt, so I pulled out some sheer fabrics in the autumn color range. As I moved the fabrics around, a nest of threads began to build around my fingers. Most of the threads were organza and chiffon. I thought they looked interesting, so I cut the little cluster away from their sources and decided to use them in my first leaf.

For the bottom layer, I cut a circle of copper organza. I then placed a piece of Heat n’ Bond Lite in the center. Actually, it was a piece of Heat n’ Bond that had separated from its paper backing. Next came the thread nest, which was topped with a piece of copper tulle.

Organza, Thread, and Tulle Sandwich

I set the layers on a Teflon pressing sheet, placed a piece of parchment paper on top, and then ironed the sandwiched items on a wool setting for about 8 seconds.

Next, I set up my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with a #40 variegated rayon. To secure the layers and add a little extra decoration, I free motion stitched some wavy lines back and forth, filling the entire sandwiched area.

Free Motion Stitching

I then positioned the stitched organza in a round embroidery hoop. Back in my hand quilting days, I would sometimes use contact paper to make removable templates. I used this same technique for the maple leaf shape.

Contact Paper Template

After positioning the leaf, I stitched around the template about 8 times, allowing the thread to build up.

Leaf Outline Stitching

Thread Buildup

I then cut around the stitching and used a heat tool (stencil cutter) to finish the edges. When using a heat tool, always work in a well ventilated area. For more information on this technique, see In Bloom, Part Three.

Completed Leaf

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part two)

I received an email from a reader asking whether Setacolor Transparent fabric paint was the only paint one can use for sun painting. I have always used Setacolor Transparent since it works so well and is available both online and in art stores. Additionally, Setacolor is a quality product that can be used with numerous fabric painting techniques. However, Jacquard Textile Paint and Dye-na-Flow are also reported to work with this technique.

The question piqued my curiosity, so I took out the other brands of fabric paint and returned to the picnic table where I usually do my sun painting. Wouldn’t you know it, the minute my brush touched the fabric, I heard thunder and felt raindrops. I transported my two pieces to the gazebo and there they sit as I write.

Jacquard Textile Paint with Wood Cut Dragonfly

Dye-na-Flow with String

So I would like to put the question out to all of my readers. What fabric paints do you use for sun painting? Please take a moment to comment if you have the time.

When sun painting, the design possibilities are virtually endless. I once made a photo transfer baby pillow using foam alphabet letters for the child’s name.

Sun Painted Letters

Here’s a list of other items you might like to try on your painted fabrics:

pasta shapes
toothpicks
paper clips of various shapes and sizes
rubber bands
yarn, thread, string
rice
wood shapes
foam shapes
lace, lace doilies
keys
dry cereal
sequins
hair pins
buttons
bottle caps
wire mesh
cheese cloth
netting
flowers and leaves
feathers
cut paper shapes
stickers
die-cut shapes
washers
nails

As you walk around your home, garage, and yard, you’ll probably find lots of items you can add to this list. Additionally, keep your eyes open next time you visit your favorite craft, hardware, or office supply store. Their isles hold countless treasures for the alert fiber artist.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part one)

Several years ago I met a woman at a guild meeting who shared my interest in fiber art. We talked for hours, well after the meeting had closed and all participants had departed. We’ve been fast friends ever since. Every time we talk, I come away recharged and anxious to begin some new project. I hope you have someone like this in your circle of friends.

All this to say, I hung up the phone last week after a long conversation with this same friend and headed for the paints. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was itching to apply color to fabric. I chose four colors of Setacolor Transparent Paint and took them outside.

Setacolor Transparent Paints

Next, I gathered the usual painting supplies and set up an area to paint on our picnic table. I then walked around the yard and gathered some maple, poplar, oak, fern, and boxwood leaves.

Collection of Leaves

I took my little nature collection inside and pressed the assorted greenery between two paper towels, adding the weight of a quilting ruler on top. Flat items work best with sun painting.

“Leaf Press”

When I returned to the picnic table, I noticed a few clouds in the sky but kept working. First, I placed my PFD Kona cotton fabric square in a stainless steel pan and sprayed it with a little water.

Dampened Fabric

I then painted the first piece of fabric, making sure the entire piece was covered. White areas do not work when transferring designs.

Painted Fabric

I placed the wet piece on a prepared foam board covered with a white trash bag. Next, I placed fern leaves on the surface, pressing them down with my fingers. Items usually stick to the paint, which helps to keep them flat.

Fern Pattern

As I prepared to paint the second piece, I felt a few sprinkles. My beautiful sunny day quickly changed into a stormy, windy, downpour of a day. So I grabbed my painting supplies and headed for the patio. Since the air had become so damp, I knew my piece wouldn’t dry very quickly.

After a short time, the sun returned and I went back to work. I painted three more pieces of fabric and placed the leaves I had collected on the surfaces. I then set them all in the sun. Since there was a lingering breeze, I placed a few pebbles on top of the leaves to hold them in place.

Maple Leaf Patterns

About 20 minutes later, my four fabric squares were dry. My husband had just returned from the golf course, saw my leaf-covered fabrics, and told me to wait for him before I removed the all the toppings. There’s always the “Ahhhh” effect when you first see the transferred patterns on the fabric and he didn’t want to miss it.

So off came the leaves and there we stood gazing at our little gifts from the sun. It’s never loses its thrill.

Sun Painted Ferns

In recounting my day of sun painting, I mentioned most of the information you need to do this yourself. Here it is in review.

1.  Use Setacolor Transparent paints. You can mix them or apply as many colors as you like to your fabric. Cover all white areas.
2.  Prepare your cotton fabric by prewashing to remove any sizing or use PFD fabric. Iron it to remove wrinkles.
3.  Have all your supplies close at hand (brushes, paper towels, water, spray bottle, paints)
4.  Flatten the items you wish to use as patterns.
5.  Protect the painting surface.
6.  Work quickly.
7.  Keep fabric flat.
8.  Spray fabric with water before painting.
9.  Remember, painted fabric always looks darker when wet.
10. Secure your patterns if it’s a windy day.
11. Peak under one of your patterns when the fabric appears to be dry to see whether you have achieved the desired effect.
12. When fabric is thoroughly dry, press for 2-3 minutes at a cotton setting to set the paint.

So what kinds of things can you use as patterns when sun painting? We’ll explore the possibilities in part two.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (Coming Soon)

Nameless at the moment

I apologize to those of you who visited the blog Saturday and found most of the pictures missing. Our website was down for awhile, and we store most of the Fembellish graphics on that server.

I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts. I’m afraid work before pleasure has ruled this week, but I have been stealing a few hours here and there to do some fabric painting, heliographic fabric painting to be more exact.

The pieced quilt above frames a sun painting of some maple leaves from my yard. I finished the piecing early this morning and hope to start on some embellishments next week. This is a work in progress, but I’ll share the process from start to finish as time permits. If I haven’t said it before, I LOVE painting fabric, and of all the fabric painting methods out there, I think I love sun painting the best.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and while I’m at it, let me thank you again for your kind, encouraging comments via the blog and email. I appreciate every one of them (and all of you).

Note: I’ve uploaded another colorform shape file (fjrectangel.dst) for those of you with embroidery machines.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasure

Fiber Folio – Colorforms Nouveau (part three)

The collection grows. I keep thinking of more shapes that I would like to use in future projects and adding them to my little box.

Angelina Colorform Collection

As I looked at the orange triangles, I thought about what cute fish they would make, so fish they became! Angelina really lends itself to ocean scenes owing to its luminosity. This project takes on a different look from every angle as the various fibers catch the light.

You will find the digitized triangle file in the Fem-Gratis box on the left sidebar. Of course, you can make the shapes without the aide of an embroidery machine.

First, I chose three water fabrics and cut them with wavy edges. I then arranged the Angelina scraps to see how I liked the basic composition.

Water Fabrics and Angelina Scraps

Next, I cut a piece of chiffon on the bias and layered it in the center. I then placed some dark green and light blue tulle (cut with wavy edges) over the entire piece. If you look closely at the introductory picture above, you can see the various shading effects that this produced.

Chiffon, Angelina, and Tulle Layers

When I was happy with the placements, I used a little temporary spray adhesive (505) on the backs of the different pieces and repositioned them.Using 35 weight cotton thread (Valdani Mediterrana), I free motion quilted the water areas.

Free Motion Water Quilting

I then switched to Valdani Midnight Sea and stitched small round loops on the ocean bottom, creating the look of seaweed.

Free Motion Stitched Seaweed

With the same color, I thread painted a few sea plants.

Thread Painted Sea Plants

I tacked the orange triangles down with a dab of fabric glue to keep them in place as I worked.

Tacked Down “Fish” Triangles

The edges were worked with a free motion zig zag stitch using Sulky Holoshimmer thread. When the edges were complete, I worked the fish tails and then the stripes on the bodies. That completed the machine work.

Fish Detail

I chose some metallic colored beads for the eyes and for some of the bead work on the lower reef.

Fish Bead Work

I also used bugle beads on the reef along with a copper star for a star fish.

Reef Bead Work

For bubbles, I applied clear glass beads. And with that, the project was complete.

Glass Bead Bubbles

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

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