Process – Using Embellisher to Texturize Silk

A toy on loan from the farm that I’m just now really getting to use, an embellisher is a needle felting machine. It looks just like a sewing machine, except instead of sewing needles, you guessed it, there are felting needles. I played around with some samples and here is the configuration I’m using for the base fabric created below. Like any quilter would do, I am using a “sandwich.” My sandwich consists of: base layer of commercial felt, low loft fusible batting (fused only to felt layer), and silk (from Dharma Trading Co.)

Running the fabric in parallel vertical rows, I keep a somewhat slow, steady pace as it’s easy to over do it.


This a sample I was playing with with some of the stitched details added.

Here is somewhat of a detail of the texturized fabric. It’s very difficult to photograph this shiny silk, but the texture is wonderful in person! This is now the base fabric for an all-white piece that may or may not complement the acrylic painting in progress. Won’t know til everything is done and I can see how it all looks. They might not work together at all!

From Fabric Sample to Fabric Goodness – Texturized Silk Bracelet

Here is a silk bracelet also made from fabric dyed at the Surface Design class at the KC Art Institute.  Another Christmas present, this time for my sister. The bracelets is long enough to wrap around the wrist twice.

hand dyed texturized silk bracelet


Here is the silk after dyeing (I think I added some textile inks with a roller afterwards; must be what the straight lines are). I read about a simple, but effective way to texturize fabrics on silk or rayon scarves and thought I would test it out. Wet silk was accordion-folded, then repeatedly twisted until it formed a tight ball. Rubber bands were wrapped around the bundle. Then it’s simply left to dry thoroughly. I found it easiest to put it in the end of some cut-off pantyhouse and drape it over my space heater (a kind that does not set things on fire; important point).

resist and over-dyed silk, textile inks added



This was a simpler technique than another shown below. Below shows silk that was wrapped on a bottle to dye and then steamed in vinegar, which smelled delicious, of course. I think this makes it more “set,” I think.

example of shibori dyeing. The polyester mason's line resists the dye, so only the exposed fabric is affected.
This silk was stretched like this with for months on a display board, but still keeps it texture.