Technique of the Week #28 – Custom Rust Dyeing

Project Hours: 72 hours
Design and Materials: 2 hours
Execution: 70 hours

Before you look at the number of hours this took, be advised a lot of it is WAITING.  If you are not good at waiting, well, this may not be a project for you.

Everyone and their sister is rust dyeing lately.  It’s pretty easy to do, and you can find lots of instructions by putting “rust dyeing” into Google, so I’ll let you do that, because that’s what I did.  However, I did not just want to wrap fabric around the nearest rusty object and hope it came out nicely, I wanted to rust custom shapes.  However that meant finding a steel object and cutting it to my shape and letting it rust so I could use it to dye.  This is a conundrum.
My dear husband’s hobby and mine intertwined, because he uses some sheet steel in his Miniature painting hobby. The stuff he uses had a label that interested me greatly: Quick Rust™ Steel. This thin steel can be cut with scissors, and then you follow the package instructions to rust it.   Using the internet rust dyeing instructions, I had a rusted composition that was rusted, and then dyeing within 24 hours.  There’s lots that can be done with this using this product as your rusting base!  No more random shapes, shibori method fabrics. Do these shapes look familiar? The templates I used were from a weekly quilt project in 2008.

What people say about sewing through rusted fabric is true.  It’s really difficult.  I had a heavy weight needle and it barely wanted to punch through.  In fact, I thought my machine was acting up, when it was just the thickness the material becomes with rusting.  I switched to lightweight sharps, and still my thread broke, frayed, the needle refused to punch the fabric, etc.  I even picked out all of the existing stitches to put in a lighter loft batting to hopefully take the batting out of the equation.  I offer this as advice to you if you try it. 

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Technique of the Week #26 – Extravorganza

Project Hours: 4 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 3 hours
This is using a product called Extravorganza, made by Jaquard.  They make great paints, and this ink-jet printable organza fabric was high on my list of things to try, because I want to envision a much larger project using this (or a similar) technique.  
I used 2 sheets of the Extravorganza and printed out these gears with the idea that I would layer them like looking into a machine.  I printed them using the advanced printer settings to make the ink “heavy” when I printed them because I knew I wanted them to be dark in order to show through. You also ned to let this dry a while before using it, because your ink will smudge on your organza if not allowed to dry properly. Unfortunately for my little sample here, the bottom cotton fabric layer is really lost color wise, and the first gear is pretty hard to see in person.
It was hard to sew 2 layers of organza on top of one another enough to quilt them, and my motif in the middle developed a bubble that ironed into a funky crease at the top of the work.  
There were a few failures of the overall design, but the product was really easy to use and I had fun deciding what to print and sizing it in my software.  I could see using single layers of this for text and other similar applications, but 2 layers were hard to sew.  Your mileage may vary! 🙂

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December’s weekly theme- GEARS

What a theme I picked to end the year….

These little gears were a real pain in the you-know-what to cut out. I designed about 4 gears total, because more would have killed me. The cramping in my hand over cutting the templates, and then the fused fabric, totally sucked.
On the other hand, they look somewhat as I intended. These are ideas for a larger design I plan to do for my dining room, which happens to be a golden yellow with black furniture. I wanted a more “steampunk” look to them, but I will need more flourishes and “lace” to go with the gears in the larger work to pull that off. In the end I am happy with it. This does complete “year two” of the weekly quilts. I’ll post more on a look back at whatI learned in doing them in my next post.

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