Make Faux Chenille Fabric with Stitch and Slash Method

Stitch and Slash technique is a beautiful fabric embellishment technique that produces a faux chenille effect on fabric surface. It involves stitching together two or more layers of fabric one on top of the other in parallel diagonal lines (bias) and then cutting through the top layers leaving the base layer intact. A fluffy effect similar to the pile of velvet or chenille is created.

This technique is very much used by textile artists to give great texture and interesting effects to their work. It is also used in quilting and in making home decor accessories.You can use decorative stitches and other embellishments like bead embroidery, metallic embroidery, crystals to further decorate the surface of the work

The stitch and slash technique is used in the following way in embellishing garments. Almost like a reverse applique effect. Fabric is cut out from the top fabric to expose the underlayer. You can use a sequinned or beaded fabric layer underneath for a subtle but  ornate look.

stitch and slash

The back of the fabric will look like this

stitch and slash - fabric kept on the back

The second layer is baste stitched to the fabric and then stitched on marked surfaces. Then the top layer is cut out to expose the base layer in attractive patterns. 

Faux Chenille fabric

The Slashing technique is used to make a fabric that looks very much like Chenille fabric. When the top layers are cut, after fabric layers are sewn together, the cut edges of the fabric layers on top are exposed. They are then made to look frayed by machine washing or hand washing or agitation so that the thread ends of all the layers are exposed. They will look very similar to the piles of chenille fabric ( so the name faux chenille) when used with appropriate fabrics.

Basically, the stitch & slash work involves this process – Layer many layers of fabric one on top of the other, make several stitches on the bias grain-making channels, and then cut through the top layers (leaving one or two layers uncut as a base). When agitated (with brushes or by washing in a washing machine) the cut edges will fray and create a fluffy texture.

How tomake the Faux chenille fabric (by Stitch & Slash)

Step 1

Select the fabric for the layers

keep fabric layers together - faux chenille fabric diy

You can layer two fabrics for a very subtle effect. Three layers work fine with most fabrics. More than three will give you a more rich and fluffier look. Remember you have to stitch all of them together, so do not go overboard. 

The base fabric should be a medium weight fabric- nothing flimsy. You can choose any fabric as the base, so long as it will support the layers you mean to keep on top. A Muslin cotton fabric is a safe  and stable choice

The layers also can be any fabric which you know will fray well. You can select a medium weight loosely woven fabric.

You should select fabrics which work well together – For example select dry-clean only fabric with machine wash fabric for the same layers at your own risk.

You can test the effect by cutting a small piece diagonally from the fabric you mean to use and then agitate the cut edges to know how they will behave. You can also wash them to know for sure. Does it fluff the way you want it to? If yes, use it. Some fabrics like Polyester or fabrics with spandex may not. 

Depending on the fabric layers used, their colour, texture etc the stitch and slash effect can be very varied. It can be made to look very subtle as well as very dramatic. A variegated look can be made by using appropriate patterns and colours.

Step 2

Prewash your fabric  if you suspect that the fabric may bleed. For fabrics that you know will not bleed you do not have to prewash. Press to remove wrinkles.

Step 3

Baste stitch along the edges so that the fabric layers would not shift.

Mark diagonal lines parallel to each other 1/2 inch apart. You may have to mark Closer lines for thin fabrics like say 1/4 inch apart. I mark the back of the fabric on the base layer and stitch it there. 

make lines on the fabric

Stitch with a very short straight or narrow zig zag stitch all along the lines. 

stitch on the lines to slash the fabric

Step 4

Slash through the layers, using very sharp pointed fabric

Insert the scissors’ edge inside the layers above the base layer and Cut through the channels in between the stitching lines you have made carefully, leaving the base layer of fabric intact. You need really sharp scissors for this part. Ensure that you are not touching or slashing  the base layer at any point in time.

cut through the fabric pieces

Step 5

use  a brush to agitate the fabric

You can agitate the cut edges by rubbing them against a fabric with a rough texture like Denim or use a toothbrush or wire brush to agitate the fibers. You can wash them in the washing machine one or more times along with a fabric with texture and dry them. All of these actions or any one of them will make the cut edges fluffy enough and fill the channels you have cut through. The result is a beautiful luxurious piled fabric.

fluff the fabric fibers over the slashed area with the brush

Another idea is to use a sewing Machine presser foot to make the chenille effect.

This method uses the Fringe presser foot to make fabric with the fuzzy look of a chenille fabric. Create fabric loops with the help of this foot and then cut the loops to resemble fringes  or you can use couching stitches and thick fluffy yarn to make beautiful chenille effect fabric.

chenille like fabric

Related post : 

fabric manipulation

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Make Faux Chenille Fabric with Stitch and Slash Method”

  1. I forgot to say I use 6 layers and cut through five for the most luxurious results. I use small embroidery scissors but I’ve seen now you can buy a properly sized tool guide piece to slide in the sewn channels and use a rotary cutter to cut through the layers. Brilliant idea!

  2. I love homemade chenille! I have found it helps to try a small square of your design idea before embarking on a large project so you can see if your fabric is suited to this technique. I have the best luck with muslin. I top it with a patterned cotton to give it a unique design, or custom dye it. Incomparable beauty!

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