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Tips & Techniques > Embossing Fabric

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Posted by: CharityAK

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Posted on: 9/12/08 5:18 PM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 5 people   
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Here is a fun technique that can add texture to your garment. It's simple and can be done with items you already have on hand. You will need to keep a few things in mind when planning your design.

1) The garment will have to be dry-cleaned. Washing and drying the garment will raise the pile and destroy the embossed image.

2) You will want to emboss the pieces BEFORE garment construction. You will need to think through where you wish the embellishment detail to occur. Along a hem? On a pocket? As a border down a front closure? Consider seam allowances, facings and such when planning the placement of your embossing.

Okay...let's begin.

Step One: Select your fabrics. The embossing works best on a garment with a nap. However, I also had some wonderful results on a piece of black wool that had no nap. You will want to do samples before attempting embossing on your garment pieces. I found that too much pile was not successful as well. My best results occurred on wool, terry, textured knit, corduroy, velvet, panne velvet and moleskin.

Step Two: Select your resist. A resist is a textured item that has a raised design that can be pressed into fabric. It needs to be able to resist heat. I found that rubber stamps can work if the heat is not too high or too sustained. Cookie cooling racks, trims, lace, hardware pieces, drapery hooks, even seashells could produce interesting results.

Step Three: Place your resist textured size up on a hard, iron-able surface.

Step Four: Place your fabric napped side down over the resist.

Step Five: Spray the back of the fabric with water. It shouldn't be soaking wet, but more than a light misting.

Step Six: Iron on medium heat for about 20 seconds. The amount of heat and duration of heat will vary according to resist and fabric. Do samples first.

That's all there is to it! Your piece is now ready to assemble. :) Optional idea: You can also try painting your resist with fabric paints and then embossing to add color to your design.

Tutorial Photos can be found at:

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Catbird said... (9/14/08 7:11 PM) Reply
Thank you for all the detail on this technique! I've tried embossing a couple of times after reading about it in Threads and it can be very beautiful. You've probably inspired more people to give it a try.
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