Fabric Fusion Tutorial

Dakotah Davis 2010

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Materials needed:

  • 18 x 18 Medium to heavyweight base fabric such as denim or old khaki pants
  • Lightweight interfacing the same size as your base
  • Filler materials including fabric, ribbon and trim scraps, thread trimmings, yarns and other decorative materials
  • A piece of black or matching color tulle one inch larger than your base fabric
  • Rayon or other machine sewing thread
  • Pins

Assembly time is about two hours.


To make a fabric fusion piece start with a medium to heavyweight base fabric. Old jeans or khakis work well, depending on what you want as your background color. Start with a piece approximately 18 x 18. Larger pieces can be used, but they tend to be a little unwieldy. Apply interfacing to wrong side and leave a 1 margin along all edges.

With the fabric face-up, sprinkle on bits of fabric scraps or thread and yarn trimmings you have saved from other projects, or any other chosen filler material.

In my needlecase tutorial, the autumn-theme postcard was made using tulle scraps and a medium-weight olive-color material base covered with a layer of wool roving in various fall colors. I used a thick spool of gold thread I found at a yard sale this summer for $0.50 to trail over the materials and add highlights. I love the result! Silkies and sequins can also be added. Metallic threads will add sparkle to your fabric fusion piece.

When your filler materials are in place, cover them with a piece of black or matching color tulle (fine netting) the size of your base fabric, plus 1" on each edge. Center over base. In my experience, black tulle works the best. Somehow it highlights and enhances the filler materials. Sometimes using a matching piece of tulle can mask the filler materials.

Pin the entire piece evenly, starting in the center. Place pins 2-3 apart. Be sure to catch all layers and mash down the tulle as flat as possible.

Using a complimentary thread (rayon machine embroidery thread works great), begin stitching in the middle of your compiled piece. Stitch in a weaving, wavy, side-to-side motion, working out in a spiral over the top of the tulle to incorporate all bits of your fabric piece. Once you have stitched down the entire piece, remove pins and stitch until your fabric is completely quilted. This will take some time. Stitching should run very closely together. I usually stitch all over the fabric randomly until I have everything tacked down nicely. Leave some spaces to allow for a contrast and relief in the fabric.

Now you have a piece of handmade fabric suitable for a number of projects including fabric postcards, ATCs and, of course, needlecases.

Pictured above is a piece of fabric fusion made with butterfly print fabric scraps, ribbon, rickrack and lace pieces, eyelash yarn and bits of thread trimmings. It is covered in black tulle. A piece of light olive khaki material was used as the base, but as you can see, it has been completely covered by the filler materials.

I hope you enjoy making fabric fusion as much as I do. It really is a fun and creative outlet.

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