As an alternative I have been experimenting with PVA glue (commonly used in schools for art classes and also known as wood glue).
Here is a bowl made from 4 layers of rainbow dyed scrim, machine embroidery for decoration and PVA glue.
A close up of the embroidered centre:
However, it is still quite malleable...
I would like to stiffen it some more, but am not sure how, some possibilities include threading coloured wires through the fabric or spraying with a diluted mix of acrylic medium but I'm not sure I really like either idea. Do any of you clever people have better /other ideas?