I am having so much fun making little jeans for my daughter’s doll, her friends’ dolls, and for my Etsy shop but I wanted to try distressing jeans in a new way– with chemicals.
As a Liberty Jane customer, I have repeatedly seen mentions of a product called Denimolition. After searching the Joann Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, Michael’s Crafts, independent craft and fabric stores in my area, Amazon, eBay, and googling for it, I have been unable to find it in stock… but I had been ‘sold’ on this idea and I wasn’t ready to give up!
I started trying to figure out what Denimoliton actually was when I stumbled onto Fiber Etch and the product info on the manufacturer’s site that grabbed my attention (click here to read).
If my memory is correct, Fiber Etch has been around a while– it was popular when many of us were experimenting with cutwork — or at least I think this was the chemical we used for silk and rayon velvet cutwork. It comes in a variety of bottle sizes, but I just wanted to experiment to see if this stuff would work on demin like the cute jeans on the Liberty Jane Jeans pattern. I found a 4 oz. bottle for around $10 from Dharma Trading (click here), a company from which I used to buy batik supplies.
I tried a sample of stretch denim to see what would happen. Fiber Etch only removes PLANT FIBERS and fabric blends with at least 50% plant fibers. (Plant fibers include cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, and paper). Silk and wool are protein fibers, so they are unaffected. Fiber Etch also will not affect 100% polyester, acrylic, nylon, or metallic (with a non-rayon core).
I started with poly/cotton/spandex blend jeans from a thrift store that I wanted to cut up into skinny jeans. Spandex (lycra) is a polyurethane plastic so I knew it would be unaffected by the chemical treatment.
I started with a small sample to see what would happen…
I applied the Fiber Etch per the paper instructions that were banded to the bottle and squeezed out the product then “scratched” it in using the applicator tip.
I dried the application with a blow dryer on high heat….
Then, using an iron on the ‘Cotton Setting’, I applied heat to the back of the fabric sample.
At this point, the area of the sample with the Fiber Etch on it has dried to a lighter color — almost whitish.
Next, I ran the fabric under water and lightly rubbed the application area to remove bits of treated fabric that were now brittle!
And voila!! It worked: the white Spandex threads remain but all the other fibers in the treated area are gone!
I quick-dried the sample with my iron. This was the finished sample:
This is the effect on this denim made into skinny jeans. I also used my rotary tool to scuff up the fabric and have a bit of fading:
Next, I made a pair of 100% cotton demim shorts and combined the Fiber Etch effects with my rotary tool’s brush. I love the effect. This demim started off as a very dark Perry Ellis “big fella” pair of jeans. I loved the results from this demim.
After placing it in a very hot dryer, this was the result:
Quick source links:
The local Goodwill store for the best variety of demin –and to help the community at the same time —and you can always drop off a donation while you are there!
Rotary Tool – you can find this at Target, Sears, KMart, Lowe’s…any place with a hand-tool section! Some folks call this a “dremel” but that is actually a brand of rotary tool.
Thank you for checking out my blog post today. For more crafty how-tos, check out my craft blog, With Glittering Eyes, where the focus is on papercrafting… along with sewing, jewelry-making, and silk screening! To see my American Girl doll clothes for sale, check out my Etsy Shop!