Silk chiffon fabrics (use a color-coordinated assortment of both prints and solids)Wash-away fabric type stabilizerClear monofilament threadWhy use silk chiffon? Silk is a very strong fiber that resists breaking and fraying better thanpolyester chiffon. It also holds the texture created with the needles when felted, while polyesterchiffon tends to release the texture too soon. Silk chiffon has earned the reputation of being adifficult fabric to sew with, but this challenging fabric becomes stable and easily handled whenneedle felted!
Things to remember when needle felting by machine:
Do not try to hold on to the fabric too tightly; let the machine “eat” the fabric. Encourage ruching!
You have to “drive” the fabric… there are no feed dogs!
If you do not like your results, gently pull it out and try again.
Do NOT twist or pivot the fabric while the needles are engaged. You will break your needles!
Do not needle felt in any one place too long.
Things you need to know before you begin:
Needle felting silk chiffon reduces the size of the fabric by approximately 50%, so begin with at leasttwice as much fabric as you will need for your finished project. Start by cutting the silk chiffon intoIrregularly-sized, elongated shapes. Cut away the selvages. Avoid making the pieces too small. It isbetter to start with a larger piece and trim it down as needed. The pieces used for our sampleprojects ranged in size from 6 to 10 inches. When the finished project will be small and dainty,smaller pieces will create a more interesting texture. Larger pieces will work better for largerprojects such as our jacket. To conserve fabric, begin with only a few pieces; you can always cutmore as you need them.Use only a fabric type wash-away stabilizer. Clear film will not work. The stabilizer should be cutat least 50% larger than the size of the desired project. It may be necessary to work with severaldifferent pieces of stabilizer. If you need to join several pieces of stabilizer, sew them together withwater-soluble thread. The jacket shown was created with five different pieces of stabilizer: one forthe back, each sleeve and both sides of the front.Whatever project you choose, it will be necessary to enlarge the project pattern by at least 20%. Silkshrinks slightly when washed. As you will be using water-soluble stabilizer and it will be necessary towet the finished fabric, remember to allow for that shrinkage!
While it is possible to use hand needle felting needles to create silk chiffon fabric collages, it is highlyrecommended that you use a needle felting machine. All of the projects in this tutorial were made onthe 7 needle Baby Lock Embellisher. When using the 12 needle Baby Lock Embellisher, it is highlyrecommended that you remove nine needles, leaving three in the center front of the needle head.Removing and changing needles is easiest done by removing the entire needle head. Check yourmachine manual for directions.