Friday, September 11, 2015

Filigree Bat Halloween Stencil Swag

Delicately-styled bat may be more fanci-ful than freaky!
Cut file can be used to create cardstock paper decoration,
vinyl wall decor, or use as a stencil to spray paint fabric panels.
File includes simplified edge template
that assists in fabric swag element creation..

This tutorial will demonstrate the vinyl cutting and fabric stenciling
project described. 

1. Prepare and cut the vinyl stencil. (I had extra regular red vinyl on hand, so that is what was used.)

Two stencil patterns can be set up on a 12x12 square, then divide in two stencils.

2. Weed out the positive portion of the design so that what is exposed is the bat design, and the vinyl that remains will mask the fabric from the stencilling paint.

3. Apply transfer paper that is large enough to stabilize the complete design, including large portions around the weeded design that will protect the fabric margins around the painted area.

Fabric panel should be approx. 14" wide x 7" tall.

Burnish across the tape and design area beneath so that all the delicate parts are picked up with the tape.

4. Position the stencil/transfer paper assembly onto the fabric panel, center, then stick in place. Burnish with a credit card or silk screen squeegee.

5. Carefully and slowly pull the transfer paper away, making sure that all the delicate points and shapes stay in place. This will be a patient process, using hook, spatula and any other tools that help.

6. Apply another pass of pressure across the stencil to make sure that the edges are all adhered in place to avoid paint seepage. 

7. Mask the area around the stencil to prevent paint coloration of all the fabric panel, except where the design will be painted.

This sample shows masking tape. Paper strips and masking tape will work well on a larger panel of fabric. 

8. Apply spray paint to the stencil area in a mist from several inches away from the stencil to achieve an even application. Forcefully sprayed "puddles" may allow excess paint to absorb beyond the desired edges of the design.

(This sample is using regular spray paint in a satin lustre.)

Allow the paint to dry thoroughly

9. Carefully peel away the stencil shapes.

10. The next few steps will vary depending on the edge finish options you may choose.

OPTION 1: Turned edge with facing

Use the simplified stencil shape that includes a margin around the painted design to trace the stitching line onto the backside of the stenciled fabric.

Shown here, the stencil has been folded in half to help align the template center on the painted design center to assist with symmetrical positioning.

Layer the stenciled panel face sides together with a second matched-size fabric panel. Pin in position. Machine stitch (smaller than normal stitch length) all around exactly ON the tracing line. For turning face side out, leave a small area unstitched (OR, stitch ALL around and slice the "lining" at the center to turn, then close up the opening with fusible web, stitches, or fabric glue). Trim allowance to 1/8" (if you've used tiny stitching; slightly wider if not), clip to inside corners (valleys), turn, press flat, edge stitch if desired, etc.

NOTE: the stencil pattern included in the cut file through Silhouette America at initial release had different shapes under the wing, as indicated by pointing fingers here. Corrected file includes the rounded shape on the right on both sides.

11. For this fabric backed project, I positioned the template over the stenciled design, adjusted for centering and even margin all around, then traced the edge as my stitching line using washout temp marking tool.

12. I further simplified the shape by aligning a straight edge (ruler) across the top of the tracing to connect the highest part of the previously-traced outline at the top of the wings. This is my new stitching line across that part of the design.

13. To provide a little more body to my project, and permanently join the layers for stability and easier processes, I have cut a rectangle of fusible web (HeatNBond, WonderUnder, etc.) and attached it to the backside of the stenciled design fabric panel. I used lightweight stitchable, but heavier weight would have been nice too.

14. Protectant paper backing for fusing is removed, then the stencil panel is attached to a matched size back (matches the face fabric), and pressed to fuse.

NOTE it may be safer to use a pressing cloth over the stencil paint, just to avoid heat transfer, smearing, etc.

As one option, at this point in the construction, your selected method of finishing the bat panel may be to simply trim on or just beyond the traced line. Then use a product like FrayCheck to bind the raw edges together.

FrayCheck is a thin "glue"-like product that stiffens and can slightly discolor the area to which it is applied. The advantage is that the project can be completed without stitching.

15. Using a short machine stitch length, stitch around the design exactly on the traced (and modified top edge) line to stabilize the edge for the next steps.

This is an optional step, but it is something I learned and like.

You will note that I have an "open toe" presser foot on my machine. It allows easier viewing of the needle/stitching position as well as the traced line. If you have one, use it.

16. Machine stitch a satin stitching with the inside edge of stitch exactly at the previous stitching and traced line.

A satin stitch is simply a zigzag stitch that has such a short length that the stitched stack neatly next to each other.

17. Carefully trim (important word, that!) as close to the outer edge of the satin stitching that you can without cutting the satin stitching.

This is a slow process, done with sharp scissors and good lighting.

18. Return the work to the sewing machine and repeat the satin stitching step, this time with slightly longer stitches. 

The needle should swing out beyond the cut edge, but stay very close to it. On the inside edge, this satin stitching should fall very close to the original satin stitching.

19. Choose a method to attach the completed bat panel to the ribbon, etc., that will allow display of the swag.

For this fabric project, I have elected to add machine buttonholes. I have marked positions for the pairs of vertical buttonholes near the top and center of the bat panel.

You could also cut slits and finish the cut edges with FrayCheck, machine or hand tack stitch panel to ribbon, apply grommet eyelets, etc.
Here is the pair of stenciled panels
for my completed swag.

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