Friday, December 08, 2006

Faux Chenille Interpretation Tutorial----Spontaneous Combustion!! by Arlee Barr

This is not a new technique. Faux Chenille is everywhere and there are a host of sites and projects, and lots of eyecandy to enjoy. This tutorial is merely one interpretation of the technique.

CAVEAT: this technique assumes you know how to use a sewing machine and do basic quilting, couching and stitching.

This "brand" evolved from boredom and needing to use a copper knit that had been sitting around impatiently for awhile! While you don't have to use a knit, i found it an excellent way to get some texture that didn't fray all the way down to a few shreds and threads. :} The piece should be about 8"x11", or two totalling that area. I used a polyester "satin" as the background. You will also need a novelty yarn or cord or ribbon to couch with in one of the final steps.

For the purpose i intended it for, i cut a base fabric about 10"x13". You can use the whole piece when done, or cut it into halves as i did, or whatever size your desired end is. I then cut 2 wonky pieces of the copper knit. They do not have to be "squared" or "regular edged"; one of the beauties of this is that you can use any shape. You can also do this larger if you like or smaller; this is a good size though as it is manageable under the machine needle and useful enough when done.

I then stitched channels, using my presser foot as a guide for the narrowness. You want the lines to be reasonably close, but not so tight that you can't get scissors in to slice! The lines here don't have to be straight either--you can curve, zag, maze, or corner. You can also leave some areas more open and then cut holes in the piece. Now slice the channels open.

You'll note now that the knit is stretching out and distorting the base fabric. Don't sweat it; the whole piece will be trued when we are done. As long as the fabric is reasonably flat, some buckling will just add texture and depth. Things don't have to be symmetrical or "perfect" with this technique. It's an organic, spontaneous composition that happens as you work it.

This is what the back looks like by the way. You can see some of the channels are not open ended; again the effect you want should guide you.

Sorry for the fuzziness but you can see the general look!

Now "brush" open some of the channels. The knit co-operated beautifully.

Take the piece back to your machine and stitch across the open channels ----you can go in any direction; you may need to be brushing open again as you go if they don't stay. Again, if it wonks, don't worry! You can stitch over the open areas too, nobody says you can't! The first run i did this way i used a regular thread, but you could also use a discrete metallic as well if you like.

This is the result:

Now you are going to couch some yarns or other fibrous bits around the edges to "anchor", again this is personal preference, try it without if you like! I used a metallicy knitting yarn here. Stitch around the edges freely with a zigzag over the yarn; i also "outlined" some of the larger holes as well. And again you can stitch right across the piece as well. No hard and fast rules!

See how woogly the whole is now? So what? It's your work. And the back now looks like this:

Now we are going to add some more depth. This step can actually be done at the beginning as well,if you are confident enough of your handling abilities on a sandwich of fabrics! If not, lay the piece on a slightly larger rectangle of some sort of batting. And yes, that is NOT batting: i use whatever i have that will give some quilty depth: this time it was a piece of a horrible melon velour, squishy side up. (Why noT? Apparently i am not the only one to use this sort of thing either--the QA list had a big discussion about it--i thought i had re-invented the wheel, when it was just my "frugality" kicking in :})

I randomly zigged and zagged some quilting lines around the edges and did a bit of outlining of the main piece. The back now:

Now square up as much as possible, the whole piece, trimming the excess off.

Fold in half and cut apart:

I flipped them around, lined and stiffened a wee bit more and this is what they became:

("Spontaneous Combustion" bags)

Purse flaps on a fake swakara lamb messenger style bag! The textures and finishes of all the different fabrics created a lovely lush feeling. Try this also as an insert, a patch, a piece for fabric collage, whatever you like!

If there is anything here that you don't "get", please let me know! It takes longer to write a tutorial than it does to do the steps and photograph them, so please ask questions or tell me what the problem is----it's only a good tutorial if you can use it!!!

Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved — Written By Arlee Barr of Albedo Design - Arlee is a textile artist, fashion designer, seamstress, published poet, book critic, illustrator, artist and floral designer. According to Arlee: "Texture and shadow and illusion draw me: the more lush and luxurious, the more alluring and seductive. My passion manifests itself in one of a kind and limited edition garments. These pieces are wearable art fashioned using a variety of hand and machine techniques. My designs appeal to the adventurous, the non-conformist and the unique. Design shapes are simple, allowing the fabric and detailing to tell the story. Whether your taste is gothic, flamboyant, outrĂ©, avant-garde or just ready for something different, you can explore your closet dreams."

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