Monday, September 24, 2007

Temporary spray adhesives

I've been playing around with a new toy, a bottle of Sulky KK 2000 temporary spray adhesive. Several quilt store owners have sung the praises of spray adhesives in place of pins when basting quilt layers together or positioning large pieces for applique. But today is the first time I've actually used it for a whole project ... I'm making a Simple Snowflakes Table Runner as a sample for a shop in Delaware. Here's how it's going ...

1. Used the spray adhesive to attach the backing to the batting, then trimmed the batting to be slightly larger than the backing. Flipped the batting over, sprayed it with adhesive, and attached the background fabric. Only problem so far is that the adhesive directions don't tell you how much to use - I think I may have erred on the side of caution on the backing, because it's a little less firmly attached than the background fabric. Still, it's holding together through light handling.

2. Used the adhesive to attach the snowflakes. Here's where it gets tricky, as I had been warned against just spraying the background fabric and sticking the snow to it - apparently the overspray can gum up the foot on the sewing machine when you're doing the quilting. So the obvious answer is to spray the snowflakes ... but that means that you'd have to handle a sticky, floppy snowflake and try to get it in just the right place on the quilt, which is challenging enough without the adhesive. So I did the following:
  • Arrange the snowflakes on the background as if you were going to pin them.
  • Mask off the bottom half of one snowflake (and the area around it) with an open magazine laid on top. Flip the top half of the snowflake over onto the magazine, so that now the back side of the top half of the snowflake is visible.
  • Spray adhesive on the back side of the top half of the snowflake, then flip the half back up and arrange it in the proper place on the background.
  • Turn a page in the magazine (so you've got an adhesive-free surface on top), slide the magazine up to cover the top half of the snowflake, and repeat the process to apply adhesive to the back side of the bottom of the snowflake.
  • Repeat for the other snowflakes.

I minimized the overspray, and I think the snowflakes are anchored firmly enough to do the quilting without any pinning (other than to attach the cutting template to the folded fabric in the early steps, and I don't think there's any way around using pins there). I'm heading over to do the quilting now ... I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE: Oh Sulky temporary adhesive spray, where have you been all my life? My goodness, this stuff is awesome! I finished the quilting with nary a pucker, slip, or other movement. Out of all the snowflakes, only one point flipped up while I was sewing (usually it's more like 10 of them), and I only got the arm of the darning foot caught in one hole (usually it's more like 5). And everything stayed stuck down, despite numerous (gentle) rerollings to get it to fit through my machine. And the presser foot didn't get bogged down even once, so my overspray-free method must be valid. Hooray for the intersection of adhesive chemistry and quilting! Now if it only weren't $14 for a teeny tiny can ...

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