Want to Sew and Glow?
Here’s how to incorporate the magic of glow into apparel, costumes or gear!
Most glow in the dark fabrics are produced using glow pigments that are coated or painted on the surface of the material. This is usually done using silk screening or with another surface coating process. When not done properly, the coated surface can crack or peel over time. After a few washes, the original glow begins to fade away.
As a solution, Lunabrite glow in the dark rope and ribbon trim materials are polymer (plastic) based and our glow sheets are made of a CPSIA compliant vinyl. Because our high performance glow
pigment is integrated within Lunabrite materials themselves, the luminous qualities remain bright and durable throughout many washings and long-term use.
Adding glow to your designs may at first seem daunting but it can be as simple as sewing any specialty fabric. Here are some inside tips on how to successfully work with Lunabrite trim and glow sheets.
With all Lunabrite products, we recommend a modern home use sewing machine or a professional grade machine. You will most likely be able to use your preferred type of thread as well as common cutting instruments such a scissors or straight edge blades.
It is best to start off any project testing out small scraps as machine settings and fabrics will vary.
Working with Vinyl and Polymer Based Materials
It is important to note that plastic and vinyl materials can be somewhat sticky. So you will need to consider both the foot and metal plate on your sewing machine. You will want the material to feed evenly without hesitating, so it moves smoothly along without getting stuck.
The best foot may be a Teflon foot. As the name suggests, Teflon is a non-stick surface that allows the material to slide along more easily. A Teflon foot is available through retailers like JoAnn’s or Amazon or through sewing machine manufacturers such as Singer, Brother or Bernina.
As plastic materials might also stick to the metal plate, you can offset this tendency by placing tissue paper between the metal plate and the vinyl material. With the tissue paper underneath your materials, carefully sew through the layers and then tear the tissue off afterwards. (Be careful when removing not to pull too hard on the tissue to avoid pulls or puckering).
Another solution is to cover the metal plate with some scotch tape while being careful not to interfere with the feeding function. We have heard very good results using this technique.
Needles and Stitching
Always begin with a sharp needle, such as a Microtex that is used for neoprene, synthetic leather, plastics or vinyl.
In sewing multiple layers or heavier weight glow sheets, you can also consider using a specialty Leather needle. Leather or Wedge Point needles have a sharper point that will pierce the surface cleanly and allow easier penetration of the needle and thread into heavier material. This is recommended only for heavy weight use, this type of needle may cause tearing on lighter weight materials.
Quilt clips can be used instead of pins to hold the materials in place. Pins will make holes in the materials that may not be desirable. As an alternative, you can also use a touch of fabric glue to temporarily tack down Lunabrite materials while sewing.
Use larger looped stitches instead of tight stitches to avoid unwanted perforation and crimping.
You may need to adjust the tension, so it is a good idea to troubleshoot first using a few scrap pieces to experiment in finding the ideal tension setting.
Lunabrite Rope Trim
Rope trim has a ¼” clear sewable edge for sewing the materials into fabric seams. Lunabrite trim is designed like regular piping and can be sewn as you would any type of trim.
Lunabrite rope trim is a thicker polymer material than the lightweight glow sheets. So if needed, consider the use of a leather needle as described above.
Work around tight corners as you normally would with piping by clipping the corners of the clear edge with a small “v” cut to allow it to more easily bend.
Ribbon is a micro thin flexible polymer material. It is translucent so can be used to create special layered effects, or consider adding a white backing to enhance the glow.
Ribbon tends to have a more of rubbery feel to it and stretches more in length vs. side to side.
LunaGel Ribbon and Glow Sheets
LunaGel Ribbon and Glow Sheets have a facing sheet to protect the material prior to use.
To begin, remove the facing paper on glow sheets completely or peel back just enough material as you need for stitching. (You can peel the rest of the paper off when you are finished sewing).
Cut into desired shape and size using a sharp blade or scissors. We recommend backing up lightweight glow sheets with a white dense weave fabric. This will enhance the glow and minimize any potential puckering. It also makes the glow sheet more like a patch and is easier to position into place.
We hope this helps you achieve glowing results! Always delighted to receive your feedback, please let us know if you have any additional creative tips that you have found to be useful!