Monday, August 10, 2015

Wash away water soluble stabilizer as focal point for embellishment

Wash away or water soluble stabilizer like this is great for making parcels of thread that can be used to embellish or create focal points on a quilt.

Make sure to get sticky stabilizer, or it will be very hard to keep everything together. I believe the images below show a Sulky product. You can see how thin it is, the countertop shows through. The Vilene brand is thicker, and I prefer it as things stay put. The downside is it takes longer to get rid of.

Cut two pieces of stabilizer. Remove the backing from one of them. Lay down a line of fiber on the sticky side. The fiber could be wool, embroidery thread, cording, sliced fabric, leftover threads etc. The only limitation is that it must fit under your sewing machine foot. Flip the fiber about till you have some organic lines that please you. Or you could do very graphic straight lines and make a plaid type effect.

Now lay a second layer of thread over the top of the first. This is an excellent place to use up scraps and very small pieces of yarn. Different textures add interest.

Add something sparkly before you are done. It will make the whole thing pop. How cute is this? There are baby sequins on the thread.
For best effect, don't overcrowd the stabilizer. The stitching will hold it together, and add even more texture. Remove the backing from the second piece of stabilizer and put it sticky side down on the fibers you have laid out. You should have a sandwich of stabilizer, thread, stabilizer, and all the stickiness should be in the middle, around the thread. Take the sandwich to your sewing machine and free motion over the whole piece, catching all loose ends and making sure everything is attached. Once you wash out the stabilizer, anything that is not attached by your sewing will fall apart. I like to do vertical and horizontal straight lines first to give a structure to the piece, and then I free motion over all of it. If you use contrasting colors on the top and the bobbin, the resulting "lace" is even more versatile! Best of all, if you are starting out free-motion stitching, eyelashes and other uneven stitching will not show.

Once the sewing is done, hold the sandwich under running hot water to begin to soften and dissolve the stabilizer. Then leave the sandwich in a container of hot water overnight. Rinse and repeat until all stickiness is gone, and dry flat on a towel. Play!

Because of the transparency of the finished product, a single sandwich can have varying impact. Look how the effect changes with the background.

"Lace" over varying colored hand-dyes
Once dried the piece is pretty stable and you can slice it up for projects like this 

Quilt guild bag challenge

Quilt build bag challenge detail
And then you can embellish your embellishments!

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