Machine Quilting Laminated Silk Fabric

OK. I think it’s going to take me some time to figure out how to successfully machine quilt the laminated silk fabric I’ve made recently.

Here’s the piece, I added the border yesterday. What you’re looking at is 2 layers of fabric, the somewhat stiff laminated silk on top of a piece of yellow-ish/orange fabric; you can kind of see that the black and white areas have a bit of a rosy glow, that’s the fabric underneath.

I then added a 3rd layer, the batting; this is the piece, wrong side up:

I plan on stretching this over stretcher-bars (so it will look a bit like a canvas), so I’m not quilting the whole top, and I’m leaving some fabric un-quilted on the side (the yellow fabric you see) so it will be easier to stretch and staple over the stretcher-bars.

I then put on a final layer of loosely woven muslin, over the backing, to make the quilt sandwich: 4 layers total.

Then I tried to quilt it.

Above, you can see that there is an OK quilting line along the green stem; I used the walking foot for that, and the stitches are OK. In the middle, you can see yellow-ish holes where I pulled out the thread: this is where I tried to stiple using the free-motion foot.  The thread kept breaking and it was driving me nuts; changing the needle, the tension, the thread did nothing. I think there are a) too many layers to free motion (next time I’ll skip the muslin backing so I just have 3 layers to quilt through, and b)the laminated fabric doesn’t have any “weave” so it’s kind of like quilting through a super tight-woven fabric like cotton sheeting, which is impossible. I did that once. Never again. It could also be my machine.

Anyway, since this fabric doesn’t have a “weave”, when I pulled out the stitches, holes were left behind.

I knew this was going to happen; but I hoped that the quilting would go better. I pressed the fabric with some steam, under parchment paper, and at least the holes melted a bit and now aren’t so obvious:

Tomorrow I’ll quilt the rest of it, though I’m just using the walking-foot, which can outline shapes but nothing more. Free-motion is out. Until I figure out how to make it work.

Tomorrow I also plan to set up my new mitre-saw: power tools make me nervous, but I want to try and make frames for these pieces. When something is framed it immediately becomes more of any art object. Unfair, but, that’s just how it is.

Author: Clareannette

I love working and making art in the Sonoran Desert!

5 thoughts on “Machine Quilting Laminated Silk Fabric”

  1. I know what you mean about the perception of a quilt stretched on a frame makes it seem more like fine art. I custom framed 2 quilts because of this idea. Both sold, but I wasn’t happy with the result. They looked good, but I felt like I was insulting the integrity of the art of quilting. I will still continue exploring different ways of presenting a quilt.
    I came up with some alternative ways of hanging quilts for those who shy away from trying to hang a quilt level.

    I love the colors in this quilt. Good luck with your quilting!

    1. Thanks. I wish it still felt more like silk; the acrylic medium makes it slick and the fabric loses it’s drape and hand. But the results visually are quite nice.

  2. I’m not sure what exactly you used or your method of laminating the silk or what the purpose of this method is. You probably already worked with acrylics and had the same result.
    If this isn’t so, I would suggest a fabric medium to soften the hand of fabric.
    I’m very curious about this method of laminating and why. Forgive me for this, but I’m new to Word Press and blogging. I’m sure I’ll be less of a nuisance soon. 😀

    1. No nuisance! It’s better to ask questions and be curious. The hand of the fabric can’t be softened/changed once it’s laminated (obviously); softening the fabric prior to laminating it doesn’t make any difference. Some people claim they can feel that the laminated fabric is silk. I have some trouble with that.

      I’ve never painted with acrylics. The purpose of this technique is to get cool effects and to create layers of images on fabric for depth and emotional impact.

      WordPress is fantastic, the best blogging platform for both the novice and the experienced blogger. Good luck!

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