Stabilising leftover tablet weaving

Have you ever added trim to a garment, and had only one or two woven motifs left over? I’ve ended up with small pieces where there’s barely enough room to weave in the weft ends without distorting the motif. Rather than chuck the leftovers, I used them to try out a couple of options for stabilising/sizing fabric:

  • Undiluted Berol ‘marvin medium’ – which is an ‘acrylic adhesive that can also be used as a clear glaze on most art and craft projects or mixed with any paint’. (basically a type of pva glue)
  • a solution of 50% generic pva glue and 50% water.

50/50 generic pva glue/water

I soaked the uncut band in the diluted glue, ensuring the stuff penetrated the weave. Then I brushed off any excess and left it to dry for a couple of days. The blue/gold/black band was quite thick, so I left it longer than I would for a thinner band. I then sliced the band up at key points, with a stanley knife.

The dried stabilised band was slightly more intense in colour than the woven band without glue in it. It did not have a sheen on the surface. The samples in the picture above are about nine years old and have not softened, or lost their colour in the intervening time.

Berol Marvin Medium

The other day, when I wanted to divide up a sample band I had made and remove a motif, I couldn’t find the pva glue I’d used before. So I resorted to Marvin medium instead, as it also has a pva base and is said to be discolouration resistant.

I coated the motif and surrounding weave in the glue, and worked it into the band. I then left the band to dry overnight, before cutting out the bit I wanted.

Again, the dried stabilised section of the band was more intense in colour than the untreated section – (see lower left portion of left image above). The stabilised band also had a slight sheen on the surface, which I didn’t expect. After reading the product information more closely, and with hindsight – I should have realised a glossy surface was a possibility.

When I cut the motif out, I used a keyring inset as a guide, angling the knife so the cuts were flush with the edge of the plastic. I then slotted the bit of fabric into the keyring and snapped the inset into place. The red band was made using number 80 crochet cotton, and was quite thin. However, it was still thicker than the depth of space in the keyring. This meant the inset was not flush with the surrounding frame as it should be. If I want to do this again, I need to source keyrings designed for taking cross-stitch samples or similar. The extra depth should allow the tablet woven band to fit better.

Conclusion

Diluting the Marvin medium will likely stop the sheen appearing on the dried fabric. Unless I find a pva glue that states it’s fade/discolouration resistant, I’ll probably stick with the Marvin medium.


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