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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > How? Decorative hole punched in fabric ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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How? Decorative hole punched in fabric
I want a group of holes punched in fabric - not necessarily near an edge. And I want decorative shapes.
threadgenie
threadgenie  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/19/12 10:38 AM

I've seen photos in magazines of fabric that has been hole-punched somehow. The Columbian hottie from Modern Family has a "got milk" ad and she is wearing a white dress with small triangles punched out near the bottom hem. I've also seen throw pillow covered in two layers of fabric. The outer layer has punched holes and the inner layer, in a contrasting color, doesn't.

How is this done? A chisel and hammer? A knife?

Any help would be much appreciated.
justgail

justgail
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Date: 6/19/12 11:03 AM

For straight cuts, a chisel would work fine, or depending on the fabric, a *very* pointed scissors normally used for embroidery could work. for round holes, you'd need a punch.

I have a buttonhole set with both a flat chisel and a round punch, and a pliers with 6 sizes up to about 1/8" of round punches on a wheel. I think the pliers was intended for leather, so I don't know how that would work on fabric.

I'm not sure what you'd use for round holes larger than that.

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diane s
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diane s
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Date: 6/19/12 11:11 AM

It's called embroidery 'cutwork' Embroidery is done around the shape and the inside is cut out with fine scissors. It can done by hand, with a regular machine using an applique type stich or done with an embroidery machine. If you google cutwork embroidery you'll find lots of things

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My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

edot
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edot
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Date: 6/19/12 11:56 AM

I've seen some lasered fabrics, too--where the cutout is factory-done and the design isn't finished off with an applique stitch or anything. Gorgeous Fabrics has a few colors of a microfiber right now, and fabric mart has a couple different colors of a lasered leather hide.

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"You have a better life if you wear impressive clothes." -Vivienne Westwood

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/19/12 3:53 PM

I have some beautiful laser-cut ultrasuede in my stash. It's going to become a set of Renaissance sleeves someday.

These decorative punched holes were *very* popular during the Renaissance; the technique is called pinking (that's where we get pinking shears, altho' the designs were in the body of the fabric and could be any shape), and was done with chisels and stamps. Typically you want to do the designs on the bias as much as possible (so it won't fray), but there's been a lot of speculation about other methods to seal the edges. There's a distinct difference between cutwork embroidery, where you stitch around the edges, and pinking, where the edges are left raw.

This message board has a great discussion on the technique and some good links: http://tribes.tribe.net/elizabethan_clothing/thread/6224e2f4-a18e-49d6-bd91-fddca1560436

...And here's my great fabric find!
http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL417/1033223/23241773/396722095.jpg
http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL417/1033223/23241773/396722098.jpg

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~Gem in the prairie

goodworks1
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Date: 6/20/12 0:57 AM

A leather shop will have all sorts of punches that work fine with just a hammer and a block of wood.

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unfinishedprojects
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Date: 6/20/12 10:03 AM

How about spray starch and craft punches?
Glynis Ann
Glynis Ann
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Date: 6/21/12 12:39 PM

I used to do Richelieu cutwork with my old Pfaff 7570 along the neckline, sleeves or bottom of dresses and aprons. Easy to do with the embroidery unit, probably a lot easier now with the newer machines. Like diane s mentioned, it doesn’t take a lot of special tools to do it.

Thanks for reminding me of this pretty technique...time to look through the old design cards again.


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