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Fiber Etch®: Tips and Techniques

Here are are few techniques and ideas to help get you started on your Fiber Etch adventure.


Machine Embroidery cutwork effect using Fiber EtchFabrics: Avoid fabrics with heavy finished or wax polishes, or that are heavily pigment printed. Cotton quilting fabrics are usually good choices. Wash fabrics first to remove sizing. Remember that all rayons and some acetates fall into the "plant" category.

Threads: Chose from 100% polyeester, acrylic, silk, nylon, or metallic. Test to make sure the metallic thread has a polyester core rather then rayon.

Stabilizers: Use water-soluble or paper-based stabilizer. Also good to use are coffee filters, freezer wrap, and starch. The fuzz from polyester stabilizers takes away from the clean cutwork edge.

Finishing: Coordinate iron temperature with thread and fiber content. Don't use more heat then recommended! Melting your project is such a downer. Ahem. Apply Fiber Etch to the right side of your project; iron to activate on the reverse side, face down into a towel to prevent flattening of any satin stitching. Using acrylic or metallic threads and fabrics, you may have to iron for a longer time at a lower temperature. If you unintentionally spot Fiber Etch on the fabric, simply sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the area while Fiber Etch is still damp, or wash the area with soap and water.

Decorative Stitches: Wide Scallop Stitches - to 'anchor', free motion stitch a narrow satin stitch over the scallop stitch at the edge where fabric will be removed. Then apply Fiber Etch. Computer Designs - since reinforcing straight stitching us usually missing, do not remove shapes which are side by side.

Sewing Techniques

Reverse Applique: Place cotton fabric over polyester fabric and satin stitch through both with polyester thread. Use Fiber Etch to remove the top layer of cotton within selected shapes/areas.

Silk-velvet scarf and Fiber EtchFabric Blends: choose a fabric close to 50-50 plant/synthetic content or plant/protein content. Woven wool/rayon blends are particularly good. Satin stitch and apply Fiber Etch within design area to remove half the threads. U.S. poly/cotton blends are made with colored polyester, so the results are subtle. Imported specialty fabric blends create distinct design differences.

Cutwork: Using silk or polyester thread on linen fabric, stitch three supporting straight lines following your pattern, then satin stitch over these lines. Use Fiber Etch to remove fabric particularly in smaller, intricate areas. Apply to both sides of heavier linens.

Quilted Cutwork: Quilt 100% cotton batting between cotton fabric layers. Enclose a design shape by satin stitching with polyester thread. Apply Fiber Etch on both the front and back sid eof selected areas, etching through the batting.

Selective Reverse Applique: Iron two sheets of water soluble stablizer together and sandwich between two layers of cotton. Apply Fiber Etch to remove only the top layer for reverse applique, or apply on top and bottom fabric layers for open, cutwork areas.

Craft and N0 Sew

Fabrics: For craft uses choose a lightweight fabric. Heavier fabrics require an additional application of Fiber Etch on the revers side, which is most easily accomplished with sewn items.

Paper Card created using Fiber EtchPaper: Choose unsized cotton rag paper without plasticizers. Fiber Etch will incise designs into heavier watercolor paper, creating relief areas for watercolor washes. Process is the same as for fabrics: apply, iron, and rinse.

Wood: Use Fiber Etch to draw designs on wood. Activate with a hairdryer or in an over to create woodburned effects quickly, without the use of a woodburning tool.

Paints and Glues: Use a water-soluble paint or glue. A paint or glue line on a lightweight cotton is sufficient for easling edges of fabric. Follow the manufacturers' instructions to dry and cure thoroughly. When ironing, iron on the reverse side and hold the iron at least 1/2" above fabric surface so as to not flatten lines.

Iron-Ons: Since most fusible web-type materials are polyester based, they work well as outlines for Fiber Etch. Apply Fiber Etch to the front of the project; iron to activate on the reverse side. Apply Fiber Etch to the fabric, not the applique.

Craft and No Sew Techniques

"Stamped" leaf effect using Fiber EtchDecorative Holes: Pierce holes through your pattern - evenly spaced with a shart pencil. Place the pattern on a tightly woven cotton fabric, and mark though the holes with a pencil onto the fabric. Apply a tiny dot of Fiber Etch - sometimes you are not even squeezing the bottle - at each pencil dot. Dry. Iron until Fiber Etch area is brittle, and rinse fabric away. Great for curtains, roller shades, lampshades and pillows. If you want, you can even threads a thin ribbon through the holes.

Decorative "Slots": On cotton canvas, repeat a straight-line slot shape like this: |----| about 1" long - spaced 2" apart in horizontal lines. Iron to activate and run through the washer to fray. Layer over a colorful fabric for a pillow cover.

Painted Cutwork: Use fabric paints to draw lines on lightweight cotton; dry and cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. Apply Fiber Etch next to the paint lines and dry promptly with a hairdryer. Turn fabric over to activate from the reverse side. Hold your iron at least 1/2" above the fabric surface so as to not flatten your lines. Rinse under running water to remove the fabric and roll in a towel. Iron on the reverse side using a pressing cloth.

Applique Cutwork: Paint flowers or other motifs on silk. Iron to fusible web-like backing and cut out motifs. Iron onto 100% cotton, positioning appliques so that they touch each other, forming enclosed areas of underlying cotton. Create cutwork by applying Fiber Etch within enclosed areas.

Stamped Cutwork: Use rubber stamps to stamp fabric paint on lightweight cotton. Outline stamped areas with a line of fabric paint or glue. Use Fiber Etch to remove fabric within fabric paint/glue lines.

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