I love a good experiment! I’m planning to make some items that I might want to use iron-on vinyl for, so I decided to order some and have a play with it to see what it can (and can’t) do.
I wanted to test how it looks when applied to fabric with a metallic element, and I wanted to see if it could be successfully applied over already-quilted fabric. Enter my test subjects, four 4″ quarter-square triangle blocks (which were themselves a test to see if I could make big enough QST units from 5″ charm squares for a different project – the answer was no!).
I grabbed four more suitable charm squares for the backs and some scrap wadding, then quilted my four little quilt sandwiches with some simple straight-line quilting:
Next, the vinyl! It’s easy to cut – there are helpful guidelines on the paper backing. The “sticky side” I found to be not actually that sticky, though that’s probably a good thing. If it were really sticky, it would be more likely to stick irredeemably to itself or be harder to apply to the fabric without annoying bubbles. The instructions tell you to place the peeled-off protective paper onto the vinyl to protect it during pressing, although you might also need a couple of bits of ordinary printer paper to protect your iron and ironing board from little bits of plastic poking out from the edges, which you will get unless you’re some kind of ninja-genius with a pair of scissors and are only dealing with regular shapes.
It appears to work ok on quilted fabric, although a fair bit of pressure is needed to seal it really well into the quilted grooves. The metallic red fabric looks better than I feared it would, though it has lost a bit of the sparkle effect. I think that’s the effect of making the whole thing shiny – it “flattens” the shine that was already there. Claims of durability were somewhat undermined by me scoring the vinyl quite easily with my thumbnail, although it was warm from the iron at the time. When the vinyl had cooled, it did seem more resistant to scratches, though I don’t think I would choose to use it for anything that would experience serious abrasion. I’m also not sure how much flexing it would handle without coming unstuck.
Here are the four mug rugs all finished and bound, with vinyl on both sides of each mat. I am not quite sure that I am completely sold on how it looks over the top of quilting, but it worked a lot better than I feared it might. I am not completely sure whether I will use it for the project I’m planning, but I think I will definitely use it for other things, such as more coasters or place mats. I like the idea of them being more easily wipe-able. And at least now I have a set of unique coasters for my cups of tea in my craft room – I can almost hear my cutting mats breathing sighs of relief!
And what’s the project that may or may not see the use of iron-on vinyl, you might ask? Well…
Oh yes! I’ve seen a few examples of Amy Butler’s (in)famous Weekender bag around the place, I really like the look of it, and my sister needs a birthday present next month and her old overnight bag has died a death (heck, I don’t technically need one but I kind of want one for me, too). My plan is to get hold of the firmest, sturdiest canvas I can find and then borrow Elizabeth Hartman’s quilt-as-you-go method, and I have spent some time tracking down helpful blog and forum posts to help me piece this beastie. If my sister is very lucky, I may well use my RK Shimmer 2 bundle for her one! I’m considering using the iron-on vinyl over the top of the quilted outer pocket panels and the underside of the bag to add a bit of protection and waterproofing (the rest will be fine with a good coating of scotchgard, I think), though I’m a little wary of how it will perform over a larger quilted area. The pattern only arrived today, earlier than I feared it would, so I have a good amount of time to make it before my sister’s birthday in the middle of March. Yay!