Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm grateful to so many of you faithful readers for the numerous suggestions about how to achieve my goal of making the Mexican paper cut-out decorations....with fabric.

Jane suggested craft felt.....which actually goes along with something I'd tried.  I used National Non-Woven's Woolfelt.  This product isn't as thick as the typical felted wool and it cuts cleanly, which craft felt often doesn't.  But, neither held up to the process of cutting through folded edges.  I considered cutting each motif individually, but ultimately, the look of this material does not coordinate with the quilt so I passed on this material as my solution.

Next....I moved onto the process I explained in my post yesterday.....with very unprofessional looking results.

Sue provided another great idea......to machine stitch the motif, rather than cutting them away.Brilliant......but yikes,  I'm not that good at machine work....hummmm, now is the time I wish I'd have purchased the Bernina 830......I could load it up with stitches, walk away, and return with my problem solved!!  I'm definitely keeping this idea in mind though.

Incidentally, originally I also considered stenciling motifs but worried the look was too country for my piece.

Here's what I came up with yesterday afternoon..... it's one layer of fabric, fused with paperbacked adhesive on the backside.  I drew out a pattern onto the paper, and using a small, sharp embroidery scissors......carefully cut out the motifs.  A paper punch was used for the circles.....apparently it's not sharp enough because 1/3 of each circle remained only barely pierced so I had to cut that portion out by hand.

It achieves the feel I want, but requires fusing (rather than hanging loose from a string).....maybe that's not the worst thing.  I always find it difficult to make the break from a vision.....even when I know I must.  The size of these pieces is another factor....they are only 4" x 5"......maybe I should have made a bigger quilt!  I only need 4 to top off my design vision.....so I think I'll keep beating my head against my studio walls until I'm satisfied.

Karen K. Buckley's Perfect Circles came in handy......no more hunting for tiny round objects to trace around!!

There is also a larger version of this handy notion available......today I'm going to cut one more sample, varying the design before making my final decision.  

Overnight I had a back-up plan......I may (heaven help me) piece 4 very small Mexican Star blocks to replace the fabric cut out motifs......  Stay tuned......


marcella said...

If you're cutting each motif out individually, why must it only be through fusible and fabric? Why not cut through fabric-fusible-fabric as you originally imagined? Bohnin makes a great mechanical pencil with white and various colored leads, so your drawing would show on any color fabric. Just draw the motifs on the backside and cut out so there would be no danger of the lines showing on the front when hung.

Jane Moxey said...

I LOVE the orange motif, Mary! As a first-time viewer of this piece I wouldn't know the trials you went through, nor would I care how you achieved the end result. Nor, unless I read your blog, would I know that you had wanted it to be a dimensional embellishment on the piece:) Whatever you end up doing, I'm sure it will be SMASHING!

Mary Stori said...

Marcella had a really good point....why not just fused 2 layers and cut through them......I know, that seems like a no brainer. After it became obvious that folding and cutting these 3 layers wouldn't work....I tried that but the results weren't good because the motifs I'm cutting are so small......accuracy just wasn't possible....just piercing through the layers to begin cutting caused a mess.

Well....I could always resort to fusing the cut-outs and beading them....that might make up for the lack of movement of fusing. When in doubt....BEAD!

Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

Have you thought about fusing them to colored tissue paper?
or a very sheer silk?

You won't be washing this will you???
You would still have to cut the way you are now but it would prevent fraying and you can leave them hang free.
Also cutting on the bias might help.