2013 Challenge: The process

20 09 2013

I wanted the finished citrus piece to be quite large so I printed it across four pages on my printer, then cut the white off the edges and taped all pages together.

Next, I taped it to my sliding glass door so I had a ‘light box’ for tracing.


I traced the pattern onto tracing fabric, but realised that I didn’t need this at all, so that was a waste of time!


I then traced the pattern again, but this time directly on to the top fabric of the two pieces of fabric.


Next step was to layer the top fabric (with the traced outlines) onto the background fabric (right side up), batting, and backing fabric (right side down), and pinning it all together to create a quilt sandwich.


Stitching on the traced lines through all layers was next.


Then came the very delicate cutting process — delicate because I had to be careful to cut the correct pieces out otherwise it would look odd! I use applique scissors and really sharp-tipped embroidery scissors to cut close to the stitched lines.


I really liked the result of the first one, so I decided to do three more! I was thinking along the lines of Andy Warhol’s ‘Marilyn Monroe’ series…

Each one represents a different fruit — orange, lemon, lime, and pink grapefruit.




However, I’m not happy with the pink grapefruit one as I think the colourway is too different from the others. So I think the one I had designated as lemon will become an ordinary grapefruit, and I’ll do another one with yellower fabric for the lemon.

So that’s where I’m at as at mid-April 2013.

Of course, my brain is now contemplating how I’m going to display these four — perhaps five — pieces. Should I mount them on black — if so, in linear or offset formations? Should I add hanging tabs and slip a dowel through them to make them single items in a line united with a common theme? Should I cut them up and join them back together in different combinations? Or something else? Should I bind them or face them? So many more decisions….

They already have batting and backing, so I may be limited in how much I can do with them.

And of course, I still have to stitch down the raw edge applique so it doesn’t pull apart and quilt each piece more densely. And perhaps add fabric paint/markers too… Decisions, decisions…

No matter what I do, already more than 80 hours has gone into these pieces to get to where they are now, of which about 20 hours was the making to this point.

Update late April: I’ve now found fabric for the lemon piece and done that one. I’ve also scribble stitched the centres of all four pieces (I’m now using the pink one as my tester). That scribble stitching took HOURS and some 35,000 stitches EACH — just for the centres. But I do like the effect.



Update mid-May 2013: The next step was to quilt the segments. My initial attempts were too tight and small, so I opted for a larger, free-flowing wavy stitch in the same colour as the fruit. I quite liked the effect.


The next big decision is how to mount/display these quilts, and whether to use all five or just four of them in the final piece. That decision will affect how I bind them, or whether I do a curved piece for one edge, whether I do a faced binding, or a piped binding or something else. I’m going to wait a while on that decision — the Craft Fair in Perth in a couple of weeks time has a short workshop/demo I hope to attend on alternatives for finishing quilts, and maybe I’ll get inspiration from that, or from the quilts I see on display at the QuiltWest exhibition.

Update June 2013: I wanted to emphasise the segments a bit more — give them some depth using shadows, so I got out my Copic markers (I bought 20 more at the Craft Fair!) and tested various colours on scraps of the various fabrics I’d used for the citrus pieces. Then I spent a whole afternoon adding shadows. I didn’t want to go too dark initially, as the marker ink seemed to want to have an edge even though I used the brush tip and a feather stroke from the stitching line into the segment. I might add a tad more dark, perhaps with the Inktense watercolour pencils I have.

I also decided to finish the pieces by making a full facing, a la a pillowslip, but sewing down the opening. And I wanted to add some body, so I cut large pieces of Floriani Stitch and Shape (single sided fusible) about half and inch smaller all round than the outer stitching line, then fused it to the back of the piece.

Then I cut pieces of plain green and orange fabric for my backing fabric, making sure they were about one inch wider all round than the Stitch and Shape. Before stitching the backing pieces to the main sandwiches, I stitched on four Velcro hook pieces onto the right side of each piece of backing fabric so that I had the option to ‘hang’ these pieces onto a carpet/fabric display board, or similar.

I placed the backing fabric right side up, then placed the quilt sandwich (with the Stitch and Shape fused to it) right side down, checking that each side had sufficient backing fabric overlap, then pinned the layers together, leaving about 6″ on the ‘cleanest’ side for the opening.

Next I stitched about 1/8″ out from the edge of the Stitch and Shape all around, leaving the opening unstitched of course. That Stitch and Shape wasn’t going to hold its fuse, so after using its position for getting nice squared-off stitching, I ripped it off, but didn’t throw it away as I used it a few minutes later.

I trimmed the excess fabric about 1/2 inch away from the final stitching line, making sure I didn’t trim the opening. For that section I trimmed 1/” up to near the end of the stitching line, then used the rotary cutter freehand to swerve back out, leaving a decent amount of fabric to tuck in. Then I cut the excess fabric off the corners at a 45 degree angle just outside the stitching line, ready for turning out.

I turned the whole piece out to the front, pulling it through the opening. I used the end of an artist’s paintbrush to push out the corners, then finger pressed and ironed the edges (including the opening) so that no backing fabric showed on the front and the edges were nice and sharp.

Now came the fun part… putting the fusible back inside the ‘pocket’. I rolled it lengthways, then put it in the opening. Once it was mostly inside, I put my arm in and unrolled it, making sure that the fusible side was facing the front of the piece,  that all the corners went into the corners, and that all the turned-in seams sat underneath the fusible (i.e. facing the backing fabric). Then I tucked the opening over the fusible, again making sure that the fusible sat in front of the seam that was to come. I pinned the opening closed, then stitched it closed with invisible thread, running that stitching all around the outer edge of the piece (as for top-stitching).

The final stitching was done on the Sweet 16, again using invisible thread. I stitched around all main pieces of the citrus, the holes, and the two lines indicating the rind. Then I stitched the name of the fruit in the bottom right corner near the rind.

And it was done! Just a few more touch ups with the Copic markers over the next couple of weeks, and then to see how the series looked on a black background (black batting draped over my design wall board). The photos of the completed series are here: https://rhondabracey.com/2013/09/20/2013-challenge-the-finished-product/

See also:



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20 09 2013
20 09 2013

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