Monday, November 28, 2011

Embroidery Finishing

The embroidery has been done for awhile now, and here's how it looks. I think this took me about twelve hours. (I spend an hour on the train every day, which is when I do a lot of beading. So, figure twelve or fourteen days.)

I've torn away the paper, trimmed all my threads, and now we're ready to reinforce the back with our flexible acrylic.

This is Rosco Crystal Gel, and I love this stuff for crafting. Unfortunately, they only sell it by the gallon, and it's $57.00 per gallon. A gallon will last me two years, just be sure and lay down plastic wrap over the unused amounts and always use clean implements, lest the nasties take over your supply.

But this is a sample jar. It's plenty for these purposes. (I've asked the manufacturer about smaller size containers, and I've been told no. The product is hand-decanted, and a smaller package takes away profitability, which is understandable.)

This polymer acrylic stuff is permanent, clear, flexible, stretchable, water soluble, dyeable, washable, and holds just about anything. I've gotten it to adhere to smooth finished stone, but it does have trouble with painted metals. After you use this, you'll forget all about Hot Glue (ouch!) or two part epoxies (toxic!) You can get this sample jar from a local Rosco dealer, find one at their website,

Using a clean paintbrush, go over all the back stitching. The Gel won't go through the fabric, it's nice like that.

Find the knots, hit them well. A thin coat will dry to the touch in about fifteen minutes, and it's 24 hours to a complete cure. When it's dry, take some nail clippers and clip any tails sticking up.

Stitch claims that the threads still feel sharp, so an undershirt may be in the works for this one.

I used the Gel to stick on the red crystal, applying those when the machine sewing was done. Instead of a paintbrush, I used a small piping bag and tweezers for crystal.

And that's that. We're all done, and we're weeks ahead of schedule, which is probably a good thing since I'm currently drowning in sequins for Ice Show.

If anyone wants a sewing tutorial, a more detailed bead tutorial (what kind to buy for best results) or a sequin tutorial, let me know in the comments!


  1. Looks pretty cool! I have never heard of the Rosco Gel - very interesting tip. When I sew on individual rhinestones I use GemTack to glue the threads, but it can be a bit tacky even after it dries. Is this a problem at all with the Rosco Gel? I usually use the E6000 glue for attaching glue on rhinestones, as it dries fast and is pretty easily available.

    Also wondering - is it really heavy? I know sometimes my dresses can weigh a lot, and I can't hang them up because (1) it stretches out the dress fabric and (2) it bends or breaks the hanger. I haven't ever sewn so many beads in close proximity, so I was wondering if you have any problems with the design weighing a lot or causing the fabric to stretch out around the design?

  2. Rosco Gel dries completely, no tackiness. This is why I steered clear of the gemtack, and e6000 seems to have its own issues. I'm watching these crystals to see what happens, but really I've had no issues with the Gel letting go of anything.

    The shirt isn't really heavy, but I think a post on care and feeding of beaded garments is in order. Stretching can pose serious issues!