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fabric glue

Dale | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi everyone,

I’m a woodworker and I build what I call flag/memorabilia cases for families of  Veterans.  I have an area in my cases that fabric is hemmed and attached my a backing board (plywood) that has 1/4″ hard formboard and 1/4″ soft sponge foam over the top.  The flag blue canvas is hemmed and tacked to the edges of the plywood and cover the above material.  Pictures and metal and other memorabilia can be attached to the flag blue cloth material.

My problem is I have a lady in town to do this for me, the fabric part.  Her mom is sick and she is out of town taken care of her.  So that leaves me with finding someone else.  I’m thinking about doing this myself??  I don’t sew or have any desire to  at this point in my life.  But, what I was thinking about doing is purchasing the material and glue the hem in place and tack to the plywood myself using staples on the edge of the backing board.  The hem is to keep the material from unraveling, please don’t laugh folks I’m trying my best here. 

So my questions are should I purchase a nice pair of peaking shears, or will regular scissors work and what glue to use on the fabric?  The only fabric shop I can think of in town is Wal-Mart.  Any certain brand/model of peaking shears. The only “fabric tools” I have is an iron.




  1. stitchmd | | #1

    There are several changes I'd like to suggest for your case. If your customers want to preserve their memorabilia it needs to be mounted on acid free materials. The plywood and its glues will give off acids that decay fabric, paper, etc. To protect from this you need to seal the wood on both sides and all edges, polyurethane would do this. Then cover with quilt batting that doesn't contain adhesives, not foam that will decay. Such a batting will be labelled Needle Punched, no adhesive will be listed on the label. Poly-fil Traditional Batting from Fairfield Processing is widely available. You can have it stop at the edges or wrap over them for a softer look, and your covering fabric can go around the edges of the wood and be stapled on the back. Just don't let the staples contact anything in front. If you want to use glue make sure it is acid-free, often labelled Archival. You can also attach the batting and fabric to a layer of archival cardboard and glue this to the wood backing, but you still need a barrier/sealer for protecting against the acids in the wood. This is of course going to be more work and more expensive materials than you have been using, but I think your customers will appreciate having their cherished items endure.

  2. SewingSue | | #2

    Dale,  I believe you are referring to pinking shears.  They cut a little zig-zag pattern to reduce fraying.  I've never heard of peaking shears.  We'll see what type of advise others give you but I would think using a fusible tape to fuse the hem would be preferable to gluing.  I think the result would be neater and I think the glue would make the fabric stiff or possibly bleed through and show.  If you use fusible tape the iron would be the only tool you would need.  If you use pinking shears to trim the edge it would produce a neater look.  If you buy a pair of pinking shears you want to buy a good pair not the cheapest.  Fiskars makes a good pair that isn't too expensive.  Preferably you should be able to test the "grip" of the scissors.  Grip is in quotes because I am unsure of the proper term.  Basically, the shears should not be too tight or too sloppy.  They should feel smooth when you open and close them.  Talk with the salesperson, if you are allowed to test them on fabric all the better.    You can check WalMart's, they don't offer as big a selection but they usually have a decent display of the basics.

    1. Dale | | #3

      Pasdenom: Thanks for the information I will use batting material for sure and will coat the plywood with a varnish.........Good ideas

      Suescatlady: Thanks for the correct spelling and advise on pinking shears and also the fusible tape, sounds great.

      If anyone else has advice, please sound off, this is really good information for  "no nothing" like me.


      1. rjf | | #4

        Do you seal the back of the case when it's assembled?  If so, no one sees the fabric in the back and so you don't have to worry about the edges too much.  If you have a fabric overlap of about an inch in the back,  There isn't any stress on the edge so it's not likely to ravel.  Pinking shears wouldn't really be necessary.       rjf

  3. carolfresia | | #5

    I agree with rjf, that if the fabric is stretched over the board and foam, and them wrapped around the edges and to the back, and then stapled or tacked down, it probably doesn't need much in the way of edge treatment at all. Unless people are going to see the back, of course. If that is the case, just cut a neat rectangle, and using fusible web tape (Stitch Witchery and Steam-a-Seam are two commonly sold brands that will do the job) to press the edges under. With some practice you'll be able to do this quite neatly and easily.


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