Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blooming Fabric

I have been playing with making homemade chenille. It is a lot of fun to see what you come up with after the piece has been washed and dried. This piece did not bloom as well as I would have liked, it is a matter of experimenting with fabrics that will bloom for you. Wool works well, flannel and very loose weave wovens. It helps to wash and dry them with abrasive garments such as jeans or towels. Some fabrics will take several washings before they bloom. This piece I will wash a few more times I think.

Chenille - to make your own chenille, layer 4 to 8 layers of fabric (cotton, flannel, rayon or silk) with the brightest and boldest fabric on top. Do not prewash. Spray baste between each layer, or pin baste when you are done. Mark a diagonal line on the bias crossing the center of this piece. Using your walking foot, stitch all layers along that line, then stitch 1/4" to 5/8" on either side (alternating sides as you go) until the entire piece is quilted. Carefully cut between the lines, without cutting the bottom layer of fabric, using shears, a slash cutter, or a specially designed mat with your rotary cutter. Square it up if necessary. You can bind the edges or just stay stitch them and let the edges bloom. To make the chenille bloom once it has been slashed, throw it in the washer then the dryer. (Lint alert!) Be sure to stay stitch the edges first if the piece is unfinished. To vary things next time, try a wavy line or try placing a motif on the top layer. No need to appliqué it; the stitching will hold it in place.