OVERLAY WITH A DIFFERENCE: STRONG SUPPORT-THREAD EDGE FINISH FOR TETEX TR
This investigation into hot-melt-cutting of polyester Tetex TR (formerly called Stabiltex), and consequently other sheer and heavier polyester fabrics, stems directly from the innovative work done by Fonda G. Thomsen (1988) on this topic. Thomsen used an electric wax pen to simultaneously cut and hot-melt-seal the raw edges of Stabiltex for applications such as seams and overlays. Along with other developments, her experimental work led her to conclude that overlays could be custom made for embroideries where the decorative stitching is left exposed, while protecting the ground fabric with the overlay. In a later article, Ann French (French and Gentle 1993) described how an overlay was constructed to support a section of a highly embroidered 17th-century textile having three-dimensional raised elements. She realized the usefulness of Thomsen's technique and successfully “heat-cut” the corresponding raised elements from the Stabiltex overlay. Thus the overlay lay flat on the textile, improving the overall appearance and supporting the weakened area of the artifact.
A second case history by Nicola Gentle (French and Gentle 1993) in the above article described the fabrication of an overlay to cover damaged silk damask from the counterpane of a state bed. The sheer fabric was first stitched in place, and after precautions were taken, the excess Stabiltex around the edges was hot-melt-cut away, in situ. The cut edges were then tucked under an ornamental braid. A variation of these techniques was used to prepare an overlay for a silk flag with applied crests in fine condition protruding from the extremely fragile light-damaged ground fabric.