Sunday, 23 May 2010

52 Weeks: Week 3 - Fabric Fusing

OK - this week is fabric fusing, a wide-open area that concerns joining fabric together and marking it using heat. A soldering iron to be precise. I've never tried it before but I read a book on Thursday so it's allll good.

This week is not getting off to the best start. For starters I'd already written the first para of this then Jay used the PC for some sheet music software and it vanished. LJ usually autosaves (I write these in my personal journal initially on LiveJournal - for those of you who are reading from elsewhere) - it hadn't. I'd selected the lot and hit ctrl+C - had it copied? Had it fuck.

Anyway.... what I had written was how this week was off to a less than auspicious start. I thought I had plenty or organza - I was wrong, and organza is the fabric all the lit states is best for starting with. Also it's sheer which for an awful lot of this technique is essential. Nonetheless I've hunted out what I have - mainly scraps - raided the jewellery drawers for leftover organza jewellery pouches, raided the ribbon drawer for organza ribbon and checked  upstairs for chiffony scarves (no joy - I suspect they're packed up in black bags-for-carbooting and stored at my sister's). Tomorrow, I may start looking at clothing I rarely wear in a whole new light... NO, I already packed everything that I didn't like / didn't fit into black bags and dumped them at my sister's. There may be some voile curtains upstairs... and I'm sure there's a small chiffon tablecloth around somewhere as well...

That's what I had written. And what I was coming back to write is that my effing fabric scissors have vanished off the face of the earth which is unfortunate. I have other scissors, obviously, but the fabric ones are REALLY, sharp and good for erm... fabric. I had a relatively new pair of paper & card scissors that would have done the job prior to last week when I was using them to hack sheets of plastic. I rather suspect they're a bit blunter now.

This is why I can't find anything - studio mess!

Anyway... I have amassed large quantities of small pieces of organza, large quantities of larger pieces of non-sheer but definitely fusable fabric and lace & netting stuff, some felt for backing, a bunch of templates (I'm really regretting letting Geoff throw away the zillions of leftover sheets-with-interesting-holes in where he's popped out game pieces from their card sheets in the past). My soldering iron is at the ready, the window is open, and my peculiar-looking but essential anti-poison mask awaits.

Flattering, huh?

I have no idea if if will help with plastic fumes, it was bought to protect against breathing spray-on glue and spray paint. And the final essential - a large ceramic tile. The books suggest glass which I personally feel is a recipe for disaster. Ceramic will work just as well as a surface for working with heat and has the added advantage that the edges are unlikely to shred my fingers. For those of you who visit often enough to recognise it, yes it is the type of tile on my kitchen floor and no, I didn't excavate one an inconspicuous place. Although I may have considered it were there not spares in a cupboard.

Tools & materials & stuffs

The rest of my 'evening' (OK, it's 4am but you know what I mean) is going to be engaged with the boring but essential task of making lots of usable sized pieces..

...and at 6am I have finished cutting bits of fabric up. I know, I know, the main event is taking a little while with this one.

Given that I did not, in fact, have the relevant amounts of organza I am largely going to ignore the hand-holding that goes with following craft books. I'm also going to play with small panels rather than big ones coz I don't have the fabric for large....

OK turns out I do have a bunch of voile curtains sitting unused for the last 3 years. I've nicked two (I have more but only two colours).

Initial tests with soldering iron - my first time!

Initial experiments taught me two things. a) Pastels are not my friend in this medium. b) I need to sharpen my soldering iron tip to a finer tool.

And sadly the rest of my Saturday were taken up with real work, Finn's birthday party and - arghh! - being ill and sleeping and now, at 4.30 on Sunday morning the sickness is not feeling any better. I feel fairly crappy although my temperature is now back within the realms of normal which is an improvement.

So.. Sunday 2pm. Sunday I have produced something that I like - see:

My first real fabric fusing piece

It's done by fusing layers of fabric and then cutting pieces away from the top - see?

How I did it

What do you see? I know what I see (and Darren got it instantly in a that's-obvious voice. Geoff took a bit of squinting but again got it more or less right with a bit of prompting). It's currently entirely fused-with-a-soldering-iron fabric pieces with a bit of purely ornamental hand stitching. I am considering adding machine stitching for definition although I may save that technique test for another project and leave this one as is....

...OK, I did opt for adding machine stitching and am pleased I did. I like the finished effect. And that's it for this week coz I'm out of time. There's a LOT more with this I'd like to try and at some point in the near future will try and put aside some play time. It was fairly time intensive, plus I've been ill and busy doing real stuff this weekend but for a first effort I'm pleased with what I produced. It doesn't photograph well, fabric too shiny and sparkly.

Machine stitched and finished - about 8 by 8 inches

Next week is an even vaguer topic in that it's 'do something with acrylic medium'. Which could be anything really, haven't decided yet. Mainly I just want to know how it behaves as I've never touched the stuff.

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