Terial Magic™ is a non-aerosol fabric stabilizing spray that was the subject of a demonstration at our most recent meeting of JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds). Treated with Terial Magic, fabrics do not fray when cut, sewn or ironed, and they hold shapes and folds.
Originally created for use in creating dimensional fabric flowers, Terial Magic can replace stabilizers and fusibles for quilters and embroiderers and keeps fraying in check for all kinds of fiber and mixed media art.
Terial Magic (pronounced like material) was created for use on fabrics that fray at the edge when cut, or lightweight fabrics that need to have more body to be easily handled. For our demonstration, we tested it on cotton and batik, but the manufacturer notes that you can use it on T-shirt jersey, polyester, wool and many other fabrics. Pictured here, clockwise from top: Terial Magic fabric stabilizing spray; origami fabric dress card, dimensional fabric flower (both by Linda Morgan) and fabric die-cut into tag shape.
Treated fabric has a noticeable body, much like a sheet of paper — it is not stiff or plasticky. There is no difference in the fabric’s feel or finish, and colors remain true with no shift lighter or darker. Treated fabric is ideal for:
- creating dimensional flowers and leaves or other 3-D embellishments for fiber art or clothing (the manufacturers do suggest using a clear matte acrylic spray on dimensional fabric flowers to give even more permanence as well as water resistance)
- paper piecing
- cutting appliqué shapes (raw-edge, or easily finger press under ¼” allowances for hand or machine stitching) and any intricate shapes
- machine embroidery (instead of fusible or paper stabilizers)
- computer printing photos and images (example here, a vintage cherub image was computer printed on white fabric treated with Terial Magic. The fabric can be trimmed with clean, no-fray edges and has a paper-like consistency so it goes through printers with no problems or jamming)
- fabric origami (see example below)
- running through electronic cutting machines (see die-cut fabric tag in the photo at top)
- and more!
Above, an origami dress pattern folded from fabric treated with Terial Magic and glued to a paper card base.
The spray is simple to use: place your fabric in a bowl or tray and spray it all over, saturated it thoroughly. (See below image, courtesy of the Terial Arts website, or visit YouTube for a quick video step by step.) If you are treating a larger quantity of fabric, place it in loose folds, and pick it up and rearrange it while spraying to reach everywhere.
Wring the fabric out, to move the product through all the fabric and to remove the excess (we saved the liquid and repoured it into the bottle). Hang the fabric to damp-dry. We were able to hang some fabric outside in the summer sun and it was dry in mere minutes; our friend Linda draped her fabric along the side of her laundry tub, so it took longer.
Once your fabric is damp-dry, iron it to remove any wrinkles. Unlike starch, Terial Magic does not scorch and leaves no residue either on your fabric or you iron’s soleplate. You can also iron completely dry fabric with fine results. If you are using your fabric to create dimensional flowers and leaves, you may wish to let your fabric air-dry completely, leaving the wrinkled texture alone. This gives your fabric leaves and petals a realistic, organic look.
Treated fabric is very easy to stitch: it is stable and will not shift or stretch as you sew, plus there is no residue on your needle or the sewing machine surface.
In the photo above, we began with two strips of 100% cotton fabric: top, untreated; bottom, sprayed with Terial Magic. The same pre-programmed machine stitches were used on both sides, and you can easily see the difference: the treated portion shows flat stitches with no pulls or puckers.
During our demo, we were asked whether this product could be used to create a pleated dress for a doll, and Linda quickly pleated and finger pressed a rectangle of treated fabric (pictured right). We later ironed the pleats in, resulting in knife-like sharpness (see inset) — we had to work to pull the pleats apart in order to get the fabric to spread.
The product has a pleasant, non-chemical scent, — it reminded us of a ‘linen’ scented candle or fabric softener. It has a slippery feel to your skin as you work the product through, similar to a hair conditioner, and easily washes off your hands.
Terial Magic is water soluble and can be washed out of your fabric if desired, e.g., using it to piece and appliqué a quilt. But it is safe to leave in fabrics permanently, which is another notable feature: starched fabrics can attract bugs such as silverfish, especially depending on the climate and humidity levels, which can ruin stored quilts or linens.
Visit the Terial Arts website for additional resources: video tutorials, project ideas, free pattern downloads and more.
Note: Post updated 11/6/2017 with updated links, including YouTube instructional video, and other edits.