Just after I finished my Hoffman Challenge doll, I received a call from Mary Ann from Dollmakersjourney.com asking if I used Sulky Solvy and if so, which ones I prefer.  Just so happened I used quite a bit of it on my Challenge doll though I have used it many times before.  I thought I would write a short tutorial about my favorite products as I used them when creating my doll and her costume.  For more information about using Sulky Solvy, visit the Sulky site.

 

Sulky Solvy on my Hoffman Challenge 2009 Doll

Making leaf skeletons with just the Stabilizer

The leaf skeletons were done using Sulky Fabri-solvy. This wash away stabilizer has the look and feel of non-woven interfacing. It is thin but stable and can be written on(I recommend a soft lead pencil though have used Sharpies in the past) and used in an embroidery hoop without tearing. I drew the leaf outlines on a piece of the stabilizer, hooped it and then freemotion stitched the leaves with decorative and metallic threads in both the upper thread and the bobbin. Here is a picture of the leaves before the stabilizer was washed away.  If you do this, make sure there is lots of intersecting layers of stitches lengthwise, crosswise and diagonal otherwise your leaves will fall apart when the stabilizer is washed away.

Here are pictures of the leaves as applied to the doll.

 

Creating a new fabric with Tulle

The collar of her cape (my favorite part!) was a sandwich of Sulky Super Solvy, tulle, and Sulky Super solvy hooped. I drew the outline of the collar and then filled in the shape with rows of decorative stitches. One nice thing about the Super Solvy is I didn't rinse it totally out so I was able to shape her collar and it will remain stiff unless soaked again in water. As you can see, there is no discoloration or foggy areas. I used a heat tool to burn away the excess tulle.

Creating a new Fabric with fabric motifs

The overskirt is a number of cutout fabric motifs that were sandwiched between layers of Super Solvy and then freemotion stitched together to make one piece of fabric again, using a hoop. I used Super Solvy because it is almost sheer and easy to see the pieces of fabric and where stitching is required to "fill in the spaces". Again, I used a hoop without the Solvy tearing or the fabric pieces shifting. Here is a close-up of the overskirt and as above, make sure there is intersecting stitching lengthwise, crosswise and diagonally to make a stable piece of fabric.

 

Creating a new fabric using tulle and fabric applique motifs

The cape was a sandwich of Sulky Fabri-solvy on the bottom, tulle with fabric applique motifs laid in a design and Sulky Super Solvy on top.  I then stitched around the cutouts and freemotioned all over the tulle. No hoop was used as the two solvys are very stable though I did pin the cutouts in place.  With this method, the stitching can be kept to a minimum since the tulle will hold it all together.  I am able to achieve a very ethereal look - like the stitches and appliques are floating.

 

Creating leaves with an embroidery machine

The small leaves in her hair front and in various places on her outfit were stitched on my embroidery machine with Sulky fabri-solvy under tulle and hooped. I used a stitch program from the software that came with my sewing machine for a vine.  Make sure your tension is not too tight as that will distort and pull the tulle and stabilizer. Once the stitching was done and the stabilizer rinsed away, I used a heat tool to burn away the excess tulle.

 

Another little thing I do is before I rinse the fabric, I cut away as much of the Solvy as I can and store it in a plastic bag.  Add water and it can be painted on fabric.  You can also "glue" the pieces together with a tiny bit of water but this takes practice!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and will not be shy in trying these products. You will be surprised at the wonderful effects you can achieve. Both products are available through Dollmakersjourney.com