Thursday, September 1, 2011

Distressed nonwoven leaves

I have been working on some distressed leaf samples for a few days.
Basically, I gathered a range of non wovens and a few synthetics.
I painted the non woven fabrics.  The synthetics were all coloured.
I free machined two simple leaves on each fabric - a leaf with veins and a leaf without veins.

Then the fun began
I used the soldering iron to put holes in the leaves with veins
I used the heat gun to distress the leaves without veins

And here's what I got

This first sample was a synthetic, crisp, organza type fabric in an olive green.  The holes in the leaveswereeasy to cut, but when I used the heat gun, instead of bubbling or creating holes like most organzas, I got these wierd lines, like one of the warp or weft melted and the other way didn't.  This leads me to think that this is a type of shot organza with two different fibres going in the two directions.  Interesting.
The next sample was a crepe like chiffon fabric.  The hole burned very quickly, so care was needed and the veinless leaf shrank to half.  however there was some puckering in the unstitched fabric,so I cut a leaf from that, too.
This third synthetic was a chiffon, but crisper than the one above.  You can see it behaved in a very similar way.  I  varied the way I made the holes with the soldering iron to see what different effects I could get.
This is a beautiful,  gold  rainbow spun or light Lutradur.  It was easy to cut through with the soldering iron and reacted quickly to the heat gun, making holes inside the stitched area.  You can see on the right, that in unstitched areas, it bubbles.
The next sample was weed mat from the hardware.  This behaves in a very similar way to light lutradur (I suspect it is a form of lutradur sold as weed mat.  It even looks and feels like lutradur)
This sample is tyvek.  My treatment of this sample is slightly different to the others.  All went well with the soldering iron,  but my heat gun is extrememly hot and I know from experience that it will shrivel my tyvek up into nothing.  The unveined leaf was ironed rather than heat gunned.  There is a leaf cut from heat gunned tyvek at the right.  Very dense.
Although this face wipe looks woven, I suspect it is actually needle punched or bonded.  It looks and feels  like other non wovens, so I did a sample.  It burned with diffculty and you can just see some charring around the holes.  It did not melt but burned as you can see in the open leaf, so I suspect that it has some polyester, but also has cotton or other cellulose fibes in it.  It was worth a try.
Here is another type of face wipe, which behaves in exactly the same manner.
This very distressed sample is frost net.  I believe it is what the english call agricultural netting and also that it is very similar to nappy or diaper liner.  It distresses very very easily.  I would use the soldering iron, but not the heat gun - at least not when there are areas bounded by stitch.  You can see how the heat gun dissolved the fabric inside the stitching in the open leaf.  However in areas not bounded by stitch it shrank and frothed up as you can see at right.  I have used it this way to make froth for seaside pieces and it works well.
The final sample is heavy lutradur.  It distresses extremely well and the holes in the open leaf were really easy to make with the heat gun.

So, now I know how all these fabrics react to the soldering iron and the heat gun and I will most definitely be using some of these in my leaf project.

Don't get stressed - distress some synthetics