Shining stripes made from leftover film
In today’s window, I will show you how to decorate your sewing projects with shining stripes. This instantly gives them a Christmas feel.
These instructions are for those who have always wanted to experiment with iron-on film. Of course, it is also perfect for those who have a plotter collecting dust at home. Here, leftover pieces of gold, silver and glitter vinyl film get to make another grand appearance!
I used my scraps of gold vinyl film on my new upcycled blouse. The fabric was a favorite bed linen, which unfortunately began to get worn at the edges. Pepped up with the shiny stripes, you can no longer tell what the fabric was originally.
This method of embellishment is also great for small gift ideas such as a cosmetics bag or pencil case. I find that vinyl film is especially effective on woven fabrics, but of course the film works just as well on jersey projects.
- Iron-on film in gold, silver or with glitter
- Cotton fabric (woven fabric or jersey)
- Baking paper
Note: Iron-on films are thermal transfer films, such as vinyl film, which are ironed onto textiles with an iron (or an ironing press). You can get them in selected fabric stores or at major online retailers.
- Cutting mat
- Patchwork ruler or steel ruler
- Cutter or box cutter
- Smooth, heat-resistant surface, e.g. a wooden board
Creating fabrics with shining stripes – here’s how to do it:
First, think about which piece of your sewing pattern you want to decorate. In my case, I decided to put gold stripes onto the front yoke.
It is best not to decorate the piece after it has been cut out, but to use a rectangular piece of fabric that is slightly larger than your pattern piece so you can be sure the stripes will reach the seam line later on.
It is a good idea to draw around the pattern piece (including the seam allowances) beforehand as this will allow you to make good use of pieces of film. I would not have had enough leftover pieces otherwise. When drawing on the fabric, make sure you use a marker pen that doesn’t disappear when it is ironed.
Estimate how many stripes you will need. In my example, the stripes are 5 mm wide and have a spacing of 2 cm between them. But of course other stripes are possible.
By the way, it is best to wash your fabric beforehand without fabric softener and then iron it. Please make sure you use suitable material for the iron-on film.
Place the vinyl film with the glossy side (i.e. the side covered with backing paper) down on the cutting mat. Then cut out the required stripes using a cutting ruler and a cutter. A box cutter is also ideal for cutting.
Unlike when using a cutting plotter, the vinyl film is cut through completely. Make sure your knife is not blunt. You don’t have to cut through the film with brute force in one go. Sometimes it is better to make the same cut using two or three slightly more gentle cuts.
Of course, you can also choose other designs with straight edges or cut out a more complex design with a fine pair of scissors. Let your creativity run wild!
Ironing on the film
To make sure the stripes are ironed on perfectly, you will need a smooth, heat-resistant surface to work on. I usually use a ceramic stovetop, which I protect with a thin cotton cloth or a large wooden board.
Place all the stripes onto the fabric evenly spaced out with the glossy backing paper facing up. Make sure that nothing slips from now on.
Before ironing on, you always need to put a piece of baking paper over all the places with iron-on film, as otherwise the film will stick to the iron.
Please note that each film is different. Iron your iron-on film according to the manufacturer’s instructions and try it out on a test piece using a spare piece of film!
Normally, the following approach works: Set the iron to level 2 or to “cotton”. Then press the iron very firmly onto the baking paper for 15 to 20 seconds. For larger surfaces, you’ll have to reposition the iron several times. Finally, iron each spot again for 5 seconds to make sure you reach the areas that were missed due to the holes in the steam iron.
Now you can carefully peel off the backing and you can see how the film has fused with the structure of the fabric. Start by pulling off one corner. If the backing film doesn’t come off easily, you may have to iron it again.
In the picture above, you can see that one of the stripes is a little too short and finishes inside the seam allowance. Luckily, this end later disappeared into the seam when it was sewn.
To play it safe, I ironed the design again with a layer of baking paper on top. A bit of pressure doesn’t hurt here either. But please note: The film should not get too hot to ensure it does not melt at the edges.
Please wait 24 hours before washing it for the first time. Wash your project carefully later on and do not put it in the dryer. And don’t forget to only iron your project on the wrong side. If a corner of the film comes loose after washing, simply iron the design again using baking paper.
And now I’m excited to see which of your Christmas sewing projects will get shining stripes?
Have fun sewing! It’s time to shine!