New Ideas & Tips
The current craze to re-create the look and feel of grandmother’s old chenille bedspread is easy and fun to do. You can make chenille in cotton that has a similar texture and look of vintage chenille or you can use 100% rayon fabrics and the result will be newer, softer and more luxurious chenille!
The process is simple. I prefer to use four to six layers of fabric in my “fabric stack”.
You will get a more dramatic effect by using different fabrics or colors in your fabric stack. Each time you layer your fabrics in a different order, you will get a different result. Because of the variety of effects that can be achieved, it is CRITICAL that you make a series of test swatches.
Once you have layered your swatches you are ready to sew. Use a water-soluble pen to mark a 45 degree angle from corner to corner on your fabric stack. Machine stitch along the line that you have drawn on your sample block and continue to stitch in ½ inch rows until your block is completely filled with channels.
Once the channels are stitched it is time to cut between the rows of stitching without cutting the base layer. The two best tools for cutting are Omnistrips and Dritz electric scissors. You will find both of these tools on our supplies page.
After the cutting has been completely the squares are washed and dried. You can see how dramatic the final results are using the same four fabrics and layering each of them in a different order.
Spend some time layering and sampling various fabrics and you will quickly understand why I offer pre-tested fabric packets to create chenille! I start with literally hundreds of rayons and cottons to develop the colorations that I offer on-line. The limited amount of rayon available in local fabric stores make it difficult if not impossible to replicate intricate colorations. It is often the most unlikely fabric combinations that transform into the luxurious textures and colorations that you will see on the following pages.
Each fabric packet is a “limited edition” coloration. The rayon and cotton fabric used in our packets are not available in your local fabric store. I use a wide variety of weights, weaves and textures of rayons in my vest and jacket packets. In most cases, you would NOT select the fabrics that you see in our packets if you were to see them on the shelves in a fabric shop! It is the final chenille sample that you want to base your selection on, NOT whether or not you like the individual fabrics.
It is the metamorphosis of these fabrics that is so fascinating! All of the rayons are 56-60 inches wide and the cottons are all yarn-dyed fine cottons that are also 56-60 inches wide! I offer 1-yard and 2-yard packets to create instant, perfect chenille. A 1-yard packet will generally make a vest and a 2-yard packet will be enough for a jacket for most sizes. You may order a custom packet if you need additional yardage for your project by calling the studio or by e-mailing me. Most of the packets are four layers. A vest or 1-yard packet for example has four layers of fabric with 1 yard in each layer. All of the bundles are stacked from top to bottom so that you know exactly how to stack your fabrics to have a guaranteed perfect chenille coloration!
To learn more about this exciting technique in detail I suggest “Variations in Chenille” and “New Directions in Chenille” available on the Books and Patterns page. Both books will give you detailed information about fabrics that can be used, new techniques such as “watercolor chenille” , “confetti chenille” and more! Once you’re hooked, join us at one of the hands-on 3-day seminars in my studio!
Have fun and thanks for visiting,