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How to Make a Devoré Scarf

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Devoré is a fabric technique used on mixed fibre material where a paste is used to burn through cellulose fibres, leaving woven fabric behind in a pattern or design. We have used devoré to make a scarf from silk/viscose velvet:

Measure out and draw the shape of your scarf down the centre of your freezer paper – ours is 140cm x 30cm. Cut the paper roughly to length but don’t cut out the rectangle as you’ll need the excess paper around the sides to hold the stencil together.

Draw out your design. Remember that the areas you cut out are going to be the areas burnt though with the devoré paste. The areas you leave in your stencil will remain velvet.

We are starting to feel pretty wintery down here on the South Coast and it seems to be showing through in our designs… here is one end of our stencil for our scarf:

The stars above our wintery tree line extend all the way along the scarf to another wintery tree line at the other end!

When you’re happy with your stencil, lay out your silk/viscose velvet flat on your table. Now listen because this bit’s important – the velvety pile side must face down. That way, the devoré paste will burn through the loops of the pile, letting it rub off. This means that you are printing on the reverse of the scarf.

Lay your freezer paper shiny side down on your scarf. Iron the freezer paper onto the fabric. The shiny side of the paper has a light coating of plastic which will stick it to the fabric. This will hold your stencil in place whilst you apply the devoré paste.

When your freezer paper is stuck you are ready to print your devoré paste. Make sure your fabric is laid flat and on a padded surface if you have one. Lay your screen over one end of the scarf and put a line of devoré paste along the top. Wear gloves when using devoré paste as contact with the skin can be harmful.

Use your squeegee to drag the paste down the screen.

Bring the squeegee back up to the top and pull it down the screen again, applying more pressure this time.

Lift your screen and move it along to the next section of the scarf. Repeat the process until the entire scarf has been coated. Wait for the devoré paste to dry (speed it up with a hairdryer if you’re too excited to wait like me).

When your paste is completely dry, remove your stencil. Iron the fabric on the reverse side (the side the paste is printed on) with the velvet on the under side. Wear a mask for this and use it in a well ventilated area. The devoré paste is going to burn through the loops of the velvet when the heat of the iron is applied. This will allow you to rub off the velvet pile.

Iron the fabric until the areas with devoré paste turn a pale caramel colour. This may take a little while but be careful not to hold the iron on the fabric for too long or it can scorch the silk.

When the devoré areas are ready, turn over and gently rub the fabric together to remove the velvet pile. Keep your mask on so as to not breathe in any fibres.

If there are areas that wont rub off easily, re-iron the fabric on the reverse and try again until it is all removed.

When all the velvet pile has been removed, you are ready to mix up your dye!

We used the Rapid Dye method with Procion MX dye in Indigo. Again, you need your mask for this so not to breathe in any tiny particles of dye powder. Dissolve 1 tsp of dye into 100ml of warm water. Separately, dissolve 1 tsp of soda ash in 50mls of hot water. The soda ash will fix your dye. Mix these two solutions together and use straight away (the mixture will lose its ability to react with the dye over a period of 1-2 hours).

This method is very simple and quick! You can find other methods for dyeing here.

Immerse your fabric in the dye and then place into a plastic bag. Move the fabric around in the bag so the dye reaches all of the fabric, otherwise it may be patchy. Leave for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, remove your scarf and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear.

Wash your scarf in the machine at 40 degrees with bio detergent, colsperse or metapex. Your devoré scarf is complete!


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