Happy Thursday, everyone! Today is Day 4 of my spotlight on rotary cutters. Yesterday I shared some tips of using the smaller rotary cutters to quickly and easily cut garment patterns and I highlighted the Quick-Change system in many rotary cutters which makes replacing the blade super-easy.
Today I will share with you a super-easy and super-fun technique of making your own unique textured fabric to use for garments, tote bags, wall hangings, quilts, home dec, etc. The list is endless! Though it’s not particularly new, perhaps you’re new to the sewing/ quilting/ craft world, or perhaps, like me, you’ve been around a while, but haven’t yet tried this technique. Now that I’ve tried it, I’m hooked!
It’s also a great technique to use up a lot of scraps and those fabrics from your stash which just lay there because you don’t know what to do with them. Does that sound familiar? If ever you’ve looked at your fabric and asked, “What was I thinking?” then this technique is for YOU!
The right tools make all the difference!
The secret of this technique is using a cutter specifically designed to create the faux chenille fabric.
The blade in each of these cutters does not move, so technically they’re not rotary cutters as the blade is stationary. You push each along to cut the fabric, and each fits comfortably in the hand. Though there are a few different brands on the market, I stuck with my two favorite tried-and-true brands, Olfa and Clover, both of which are widely available in fabric and quilt shops everywhere. Both the Olfa Chenille Cutter and Clover Slash Cutter quickly, easily and safely produce this very fast and fun technique without any guesswork. There are full detailed instructions, complete with pictures, included with each cutter.
Quick and easy steps
The technique is quite simple; sew parallel rows of stitching through multi-layers of fabric, then use the cutter to slice through all layers except the bottom layer of fabric.
It’s recommended to cut the bottom layer of fabric a little larger so it’s easier to insert the cutter into the stitched channel without fear of cutting through the bottom layer. You certainly don’t want that! However, sometimes you don’t have a big enough piece of fabric, or, perhaps you’re like me and don’t always read all the directions and your fabric layers are all the same size. Don’t worry! The guards on the bottom of the cutters are rounded and easy to insert into the channels, and I especially love that the Clover Slash Cutter has a long guard to use for straight line cutting, which makes it super-easy to slide into the correct layer of the channel.
An old, clean toothbrush rubbed over the cut fabric will help make the fabric bloom before you toss it into the washing machine, which will further increase the blooming effect.
You have permission to play
Don’t worry if your stitching isn’t perfectly straight. This is a very forgiving technique! In fact, it’s fun to play around and experiment with the width of stitching, how close or far apart they are, the direction of the channels, etc. – all of which will produce different effects. You’re the designer as you’re creating your own original fabric to use however you wish. Sew many possibilities!
The Clover Slash Cutter includes a shorter guard which attaches to the bottom of the cutter after the longer guard is removed. This is ideal for cutting circular, wavy or angular lines other than straight.
You can also experiment with how many layers of fabric, fabric placement, and types of fabric – for example denim, quilting cotton, flannel. In the photo below you’ll see I only added squares of denim to the top and bottom corners of my fabric sandwich. I hadn’t yet put it in the dryer so the darker denim shadows quite prominently through the lighter yellow fabric on top, which is an effect you may or may not want. It’s up to you.
Putting the fabric in the dryer will further increase the “blooming” chenille effect, but beware! This technique will produce a lot of lint so be sure to clean the trap and vent before and after putting the fabric in the dryer.
It’s such a fun technique as there are no rules – other than don’t slice through the bottom foundation layer of fabric, that is! Lol! Other than that, have fun!
Please join me tomorrow for the last installment of my look at rotary cutters. I’ll share with you more fun products to make cutting quicker and easier with more accurate results!
Now, gather up those tired, old, ugly fabrics from your stash and stitch and slash away!