I have been out of it for a while as far as kites have been concerned, and I want to pass on a special technique I developed to be able to make the webs on the Synthesis kite out of PC31. Fortunately this technique is relatively easy and applies to all kinds of designs you might want to do on a kite skin. The result is a beautiful flat applique without all the stiches. Additionally, this technique is great for complex, intricate designs like these:
The cut out fabric is attached to the main fabric with adhesive transfer tape, but as you can imagine getting it all positioned correctly without it sticking to the wrong place or to itself is the major difficulty. The black 'webs' on the purple kite above are in one piece on each side, and everything on the King of Hearts kite is attached in full individual pieces including the black boarder on the King of Hearts rok which is attached to a white main skin that is the full size of the kite.
Here is a step by step that makes it easy:
I first enlarge the reversed (mirror image) design on my computer (Excel actually) and print onto standard paper sheets which I tape together. I include a 10 cm x 10 cm test square on the first sheet to adjust the design width and height to print it propery sized. I print at least two sets with registration marks so that I can align and tape each set together on a sliding glass door during daylight hours.
One set is kept whole, while the others are cut into the individual section paterns. It might be wise to mark the topface of each piece so they don't get flipped by accident.
The fabric for the design is laid out and taped down flat. Then the adheasive transfer product is layed down on top of it leaving the backing still on. If you need more than one adhesive width to cover your piece, you can carefully line up one edge with the next. (I use a roll of 3M 9461P adheasive tranfer tape in the 12.25" width. I found a deal on an on line auction site for a full roll, but have also seen it sold on the same site by the foot.) It is optional if you want to do all of the pieces from one large piece of fabric or in smaller sections for fabric effeciency. The backing is left on, which stiffens the fabric of even the most delicate cutouts.
The paper pattern pieces are then transferred with pencil to the fabric (PC 31 by the way, as its transparency and non fraying cuts work great). Then I cut everyting out with scissors and an exacto or rotary blade to get things started.
This is an example of a cut piece for the stunt kite.
Now for the trick. It's almost impossible to peel and attach this to the kite skin in the right place and without sticking to itself. So, I reverse the process. I first tape down the complete paper copy of the pattern, and then I tape clear shelf paper with the sticky side up on top of the pattern (in rows with connecting tape underneath as needed for larger kites). Then the fabric side of the cutout is placed face down so it lines up on the pattern. The semi tackyness of the shelf paper allows you to repositon the fabric if necessary. In the case of any color that needs to fill in another color, like the hearts on the card kite above, the top color (black in this case) is laid down first and the 1/8" overlapping fill section is laid on top of that. When all the pieces are in place, only the adhesive backing side of the pieces will show.
Next rub each piece so that it sticks to the shelf paper really well. When all are done and you are ready to continue, peel the adhesive backing off of all the pieces being careful around overlapping pieces like the heart.
Now comes the most tricky part of the whole process, laying the white backing fabric on top of the design pieces and shelf paper. On smaller kites, this can usually be done by laying the fabric down on one side and letting the rest fall onto the design in a wave. With the rok, I tightly rolled the fabric up with the mailing tube it came in, taped one edge to the table just next to the design area and rolled it out on top of the design. I always allow for a the fabric to have a margin a little larger than the design, and trim to size after attaching the design.
Either way, I usually get a few bubbles between the design and the white sail. I just quickly work them out, especially in large areas first, like the black boarder of the card kite. If something goes wrong, you can usually pull up a design section if you don't wait too long and if it wasn't rubbed down.
Now if everything looks pretty good, go ahead and rub down or burnish the white kite skin to the design pieces. You will need to do a pretty good job of this to make it easier to pull everything off of the shelf paper without the design pieces pulling off the kite skin and sticking to the shelf paper.
The reason this technique works is twofold. The adhesive backing paper stiffens the fabric so you can lay down the design in perfect position. And, since the shelf paper is less sticky than the 3M adhesive, you can pull the fabric off of it once the design application is completed.
Here is an example of how small and delicate you can go with this technique. This is a 10 inch tip to tip mini kite that I made with PC31 fabric for the kite and the webs.
If you have any questions about this, let me know. Although I have been pretty scarce, I will try to check in.