Seriously Playing – Part Two

My first experimental piece

This was where we were at the end of my last post. I had finished stitching my first experimental piece of fabric. The next stage was to blast it with my heat gun to burn back some of the fibres.

First experimental piece after
blasting with a heat gun

I was very disappointed with the results after I had blasted it with the heat gun. Hardly any of the fabric had been burnt back. My theory is that the lack of burn back was due to the closeness of the stippled stitching: I think there was insufficient room for the heat to build up and/or for the fabric to burn back. In view of that theory, I began work on my second and third attempts.

As with my first play session, I laid a background of papers and topped it with a layer of fabric scraps, ribbon and so on. I lay a piece of organza across the prepared piece and trotted down to the sewing machine. I did just enough free motion stitching to ensure all loose pieces were lightly caught.

Second piece after being
lightly stitched

I blasted the stitched piece with the heat gun. This time the fabric burned back more successfully, which seemed to confirm my theory about the heavy stitching preventing burn back on my first piece.

Result of burning back the
second experimental piece

Although I was happy with the result of the heating process, the piece of fabric lacked any ‘body’ or stiffness. Accordingly, I lay more papers, fabrics and bits and pieces across it. One ingredient I have omitted to tell you I have used throughout this entire playtime was scraps of painted Tyvek fabric, some of which I included at this stage.

During preparation of the second
stage of the second piece

At this stage, I dug out some sparkly gold cord [or yarn, I’m not sure exactly what it is!] and threw some chopped up lengths on the piece. When I was happy with how it looked, I placed a piece of organza over it and secured it in place. Woohoo! After having struggled carefully between my craft room and my sewing machine several times, I had a brainwave! Humungous paperclips!

Can you see the huge paperclips
around the edges?

Is this girl brilliant? Or is this girl brilliant? The huge paperclips work a treat! They held the edges together along their entire length of 7 cm, so they really were ultra-useful. Also, I was able to stitch fairly close to them which meant I wasn’t struggling to keep all the bits and pieces in place. I kept the stitching to a minimum on this layer, also, because of wanting to be able to burn fibres back.

My second piece after being blasted
by the heat gun

This is how the second piece looks after stitching and burning back. It has a very different appearance and character to my first experimental piece.

Detail showing result of light
stitching and heating

An edge of the second piece showing
successful burning back of fabric

As you can see in these two pictures, I was more successful when burning back the fibres on the second piece. A similar result was achieved in my third piece, as you can see below. However, both the second and third pieces are insufficiently firm for me to make a box from them, so it’s back to the drawing board!

Results of second and third
experimental pieces

Details of corners of second
and third pieces


10 thoughts on “Seriously Playing – Part Two

  1. Hi Dina, You're not the only one who has had difficulties with the heat gun. Last time I tried it on fabrics everything just curled up and twisted. I tend to stick to the soldering iron now, more control and great for adding patterns. The paper clip idea was brilliant! How about stitching the fabric onto stiff card, would that help?


  2. It looks fantastic, Dina! I have learnt something new again… the usage of a heat gun. Very interesting results. I agree with Angela, frame it or make a card with the pieces you are not going to use for the box.


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