How to Crash Fabrics

How to Crash Fabrics

How to Crash Fabrics

May 14, 2014 | Skills | 5 Comments

Let’s talk texture people.

When it comes to fabrics there are lots of different things that we look for when we pick out a piece for a project – the colour, the feel, the drape, the fibres and, of course, the texture. But, what if I told you you can quickly and easily create incredible texture to your fabrics with just a few simple supplies?

I’m not crazy, this is crashing fabrics – a process that looks much like shirred fabrics – but with more staying power. This is great way to add accent panels to quilts, handbags, you can even use it in accessories and dressmaking projects. So, here’s How to Crash Fabric!

Crashing Main 33Grab your supplies…
Piece of cotton
Piece of Vilene Solufleece
Two pieces of Vilene Bondaweb
Sewing machine
Steam Iron
Crashing 1Layer the fabrics – it is the way in which the fabrics are sandwiched together that helps to create the crashed effect. Place the two pieces of Bondaweb on top of the Solufleece, finally place the cotton to top, with the right side uppermost.
Crashing 2Stitch the layers together, it is these stitches that hold the fabrics in position, so when they begin to crash they are drawn up around the stitches. No stitches – you’ll end up with a weird, shrunk mess that probably won’t be good for very much. You can pick the stitch design you want, straight lines like this, spaced out as you choose, the closer the lines the more regular the crashing effect will appear.
Crashing 3Once the fabrics are stitched transfer to an ironing board and turn the iron on with a full steam setting. To crash the fabric, you will need to hover the iron about 1cm from the surface of the stitched layers of fabric and allow the steam to penetrate through the fibres.
Crashing 3bNow, here comes the science (I’ve always wanted to say that!) OK, so the heat and moisture from the steam begin to react with the Solufleece, which is water soluble, and begins to reduce in size, drawing it up around the stitches. The fabric will be crashing right before your eyes! The surface will wrinkle and crinkle and the swatch will skink in size to create the crashed fabric.
Crashing 4So, why the two sheets of Bondaweb? Well, this is what helps to lock the crashed fabrics into place, this is what maintains the texture. Neat huh?

The more that you apply steam to the stitched fabric layers the more they will crash up and reduce in size, very the amount of steam to alter the effect.
Crashing5aIf you want to include  crashed fabrics into your next project, be sure to run a test with your chosen fabrics and stitching style, so you will know how much you can crash the fabrics and still have a large enough piece to use in your make.

Why not try…
I’ve worked this tutorial using beautiful printed cotton from the collection at Art Gallery Fabrics – the effects will vary depending on the fabrics you use, heavier weight fabrics with become chunkier and more dense, while whispy fabrics will end up frothy – experiment for yourself and let me know how you get on!
You can even vary your stitching – sew in straight lines, like I’ve done here, or work in zig zags or free motion stitching and see what effects you can create!

To find out more about the range of Vilene products or contact to find your local stockist.

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  1. Reply


    May 16, 2014

    That’s brilliant, being new to sewing I’ve never seen that before. So simple yet so effective. :0)

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  4. Reply


    January 26, 2017

    What happens after wash?

    • Reply


      January 31, 2017

      Hi Lilly, once washed the fabric does soften a little, but it wont return to the pre-crashed state! Hope you enjoy this technique!

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