Wednesday, November 14, 2007

antique polyester

Or, adventures with a soldering iron. I finally made something for Whiplash - the fibre and mixed-media inspired jewellery is right up my alley.

A while ago I got a book out of the library called Stitch, Dissolve, Distort in Machine Embroidery - interesting effects, but since it required the acquisition of a soldering iron, I put that one on the backburner for a while. HandyMan handles all the power tools and HandyMan stuff in our house, and if I need a nail hammered or a jar opened I go to him - hence I wasn't sure I should be allowed near a soldering iron. But since I've been making brooches with raw edges, I've found there are some fabrics that just fray too much, even with top stitching and gentle handling - these seem to be the super synthetic polyesters. Also, somewhere in the FJ restoring process, HandyMan bought a soldering iron.

So, on the weekend I was feeling reckless enough to get out said soldering iron and have a go at melting some synthetic fibers. It's a bit scary to handle something that hot - I was worried I'd accidentally drop it and set something on fire, so I made sure HandyMan was standing by. I got the hang of it after a while and was able to cut through nylon like a hot knife through butter. It's hard to be precise though - straight lines are easy but circles are difficult, since the fabric moved around a bit, and I found Christmas tree shapes impossible. As for fabrics, nylon works the best; polyester works too but rayon just burns without melting.

And I teamed the results of this experimenting with my new love, vinyl - and whipped up a couple of brooches this afternoon.

I like how the edges look like old photographs. You can get that effect on paper with lemon juice and candles - or on synthetic fabric with a soldering iron. Just watch out for the fumes!

Go stop by the OCT/NOV whiplash thread to check out the other fabulous and unique entries!


dulcet said...

I believe rayon is actually a natural fiber. Something about trees or cellulose.
Good work with that soldering iron. It's the only kind of iron I enjoy using.

Hilde C. said...

I liked your Whiplash entry - and now I've been looking at your blog. I think you've sewed a lot of beautiful objects :-)