One of the concerns of a quilter using fusible web is the problem with scrim on batting. (I know this because I learned the hard way and am still in recovery.)
Scrim is a thin, non-woven plastic-like fiber placed on the back of some batts. When making batting, manufacturers needle or force cotton/poly fibers into the scrim to hold those tiny fibers in place.
Scrim is not used on all batting types. (Wool is generally scrim free.) But if it is used on a cotton, poly, or combination batting, it can mess up your fused quilt.
When fabric backed with fusible web is ironed to the scrim side of the batting, the fabric will ripple. When fabric backed with fusible web is ironed to the NON-scrim side of batting, the fabric appears flat.
How to Detect the Scrim Side of Batting
- Feel the batting. When you run your hand across the scrim side of batting, it feels rough and coarse compared to the other side of the batting.
- The scrim side may appear pilled or pimply.
- Scrim may have a slight sheen from the plastic coating rather than a matte finish like the non-scrim side.
- You may be able to lift or separate the scrim at a corner of the batting. But don’t take it off.
How to Detect the Non-scrim side of the Batting
- The non-scrim side of the batting feels soft.
- It appears fluffy and fuzzier than the flat side of the batting.
- It has “dimples” or pock marks from the needling.
- Some batts have a “seedier” side or have more cotton hulls and seeds. This is the non-scrim side of that batting.
Test your Batting
If you are fusing fabric directly to the batt, test the batting first. Iron just a corner of the quilt to the batting. If it ripples or waves, pull the quilt off the batting and apply the quilt top to the other side of the batt.
Sunshine and Fields by Laura Wasilowski
Have not fear! If things are looking a little dim for you today, it may be because you’ve just experienced a solar eclipse. Sunshine and Fields, a quilt I made years ago, was made in celebration of that hot spot we all love and fear. Hope this brightens up your day!
When I teach a half-day class, my students receive a pre-fused fabric kit so they can get to work right away. One of my students, Kathy, has sent this image of all the small designs she made from that one kit. Aren’t they wonderful? Here’s what this prolific artist says about her work: Once I got home I couldn’t stop making little fabric drawings. It was very freeing to cut and steam. I had to use up every crumb of your delicious fabric…. soon to be embroidered quilts. Thank you for sharing your work with us Kathy!
The shape of the small birdhouse is now on the fabric through the miracle of Pattern Transfer to a Fused Fabric! Using a really sharp pair of Karen Kay Buckley scissors, small areas are snipped to reveal openings for the birdhouse.
It’s a tiny birdhouse for very tiny birds.
After trimming, a white batik fabric is slipped under the birdhouse shape. This fills in the openings. Should I make black dots for the holes into the birdhouse? No! Why, you ask? Because it looks like a bunch of eyeballs staring out at me from the birdhouse.
Three more birdhouses are created and fused to the quilt top. This commission quilt (detail of center panel above) is coming along but there is a lot of machine work to do. Hope to show you more on that later.
One of the many elements in the design of the commission quilt I’m working is a purple martin house. This image was sent to me by the people who have requested the quilts and plays a part in their family story.
Heres how I translated the birdhouse image into fabric.
Using the Photo Shop Elements program on my computer, I converted the photo into a black and white image, enhanced the contrast, and sized it to measure about 1.25″ wide by 1.5″ high.
After it was saved as a jpeg, I printed it on paper and colored in the areas that will be green fabric. This becomes the pattern for the birdhouse.
The first step in transfering the green shape to fused fabric is to trace it on to silicone release paper or parchment paper with a black marker.
The drawn or ink side of the paper is placed on to the glue or fused side of the green fabric.
The paper is ironed into place with a hot iron.
After cooling, the paper is removed. See how the lines transfer to the fabric? This method of transfering shapes to fused fabric is so easy and fast. Try it at home!
More on making the bird house soon.
Usually I’m making small art quilts all the time. But since early January, I’ve only worked on one project. Why only one project? Because the one project occupying all my time is a commission quilt. Or rather, three commission quilts.
A lovely family has requested three panels measuring about 32″ x 48″ that tell stories about their family and places dear to their hearts. Here you see the sketches and color swatches submitted for the commissioned pieces. In the process of making these three panels, I’ve learned new methods of constructing a fused art quilt and how to translate other people’s stories into fabric.
I’ve also learned that documenting the creation of a work of art, hampers the creation of that art. So I’ve taken very few photos of the panels in process. But there are a few things I can share with you. Like how to make a purple martin house. Get your fused fabrics ready and stay tuned!