Think of all the things you take pictures of… people, places, plants, objects... Now imagine choosing one of these photos to make into a quilt. That is exactly what I did with the Oranges quilt you will watch me build in my class, Photo to Fabric: Hand Piece a Collage.
Choose a photo and feel free to edit it. You can combine images, add line art… whatever works to create the look you want. I kept it simple and cropped away much of the background to focus attention on the cluster of oranges in the foreground.
Draw the pattern. I used tracing paper over the printed image, but you could also use Procreate or similar app. Keep the method of construction in mind as you break the photo apart into shapes. I love the distinctive look of hand piecing, so I drew the pattern shapes knowing that they needed to be “sewable”.
Trace around the shapes, include shadows and highlights. The lines you draw indicate fabric changes and you can have as many, or as few, shapes as you want.
Enlarge the pattern to the proper size and make a full-size pattern. Number the shapes and add hash marks to aid in matching seams. Next, make a mirror-image pattern and use it to make freezer paper templates.
Then the fun really begins! Gather all the fabrics that you think will work in your image. Small pieces and scraps if you have them are perfect. I prefer prints, plaids, stripes, and tone-on-tone prints for their visual texture. Use the freezer paper templates to prepare the shapes and pin them to your design wall.
My goal is to represent the image in such a way that it is recognizable without being super-realistic. Rather than using lots and lots of tiny pieces, I cut bigger shapes and let the designs in the fabric the work. Freezer paper templates are reusable so making changes is easy.
Once the fabric shapes are set, hand piece them together. The finished quilt will be soft, with a lovely texture. Plus, you get to spend time with needle and thread in your hands, sewing!
If this sounds like fun, I encourage to take my class! The pattern for the Oranges is included but I also teach you how to prepare your own photo. The class includes detailed videos that walk you through the entire process.
I hope to see you there!
Join Becky's course, Photo to Fabric: Hand Piece a Collage, through Creative Spark.
Becky Goldsmith is an award-winning quilter who travels to teach around the world. You may also know her business alter ego, Piece O' Cake Designs!
Becky's classes are always interesting and informative, with an emphasis on teaching techniques that help you improve your sewing skills without making you feel overwhelmed by the details.