Sheer Appliqué Butterflies

Stephanie Novatski © 2005

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Sheer fabric preferably silk, cotton, rayon or other natural fiber
Light-weight Paper backed fusible web
Ink Jet Printer
Permanent glitter spray such as Tulip

I like to layer sheer printed fabrics on solids and am amazed at the different effects when changing the base fabric color. Sometimes the design in the sheer pops, sometimes it recedes, depending on the color fabric that backs it. I decided to try making my own sheer printed fabric and experimenting.

I also wanted to test the possibility of using a permanent fabric spray as a fixative once the fabric was printed.

First thing I did was set up a page of butterfly graphics to test. I used a print program and permission free graphics from Dover. I set this up so all would fit on a standard 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper.  

I cut out paper backed lightweight fusible web and sheer silk chiffon 9 x 11.5". I adhered the fabric to the web-. DO NOT REMOVE THE PAPER- and trimmed this down to 8.5 x 11". I then put this through my printer so the butterflies printed on the fabric. I did not change any settings on my printer and the colors printed fine. You may have to experiment with your printer. Don't remove the paper yet.

Once the ink was dry, about 2 hours, I pressed the printed fabric using a discarded piece of the web backing paper as a press cloth. You could also use a piece of parchment. Once the fabric was cooled, I gave it a very light misting with the Permanent Glitter spray. When this was dry, I misted the butterflies again. The butterflies were now ready to cut out. I found it easier to do this with the paper attached. Once they were cut out I removed the paper. The butterflies are ready to adhere to fabric and embellish.

Once mine were cut out and the paper removed, I auditioned many background colors to see the different effects. Below is a picture of the SAME butterflies against different colored backgrounds.

For the orange moth, I decided to use a pale pink silk dupioni, for the butterfly, I used a piece of lavender brocade. I adhered them to the fabric by placing the appliqué web side down on the fabric, covering it with a scrap of the paper backing and pressing holding the iron still for about 5 seconds at medium dry heat. Press from the wrong side of the fabric also to make sure you get a good adherence.

I then embellished them. The orange moth was outlined by machine using a buttonhole stitch and gold metallic thread. The multi-color butterfly was embellished using silk threads.

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