My technique for making portrait quilts

A. Without a lightbox .........................................................B. With a lightbox

Without a lightbox

1. I start with a photograph, preferably high-contrast and sharp. Sometimes I need to use my computer with Photoshop to "posterize" the photo (that makes the difference between colors more distinct and easier to trace around solid areas of color).

Then I project the printed photo onto my design wall and trace the areas onto Totally Stable (matte side).

I have already selected fabrics in a range of values which correspond to the photo colors. I label them 1 - 5 (light to dark)

Then I place sturdy clear plastic (I use old overhead transparencies) and trace the areas again, making notes as to the color and value (1 - 5) of that area (see photo above). I do this twice.

 

With a lightbox

I start with a photograph, preferably high-contrast and sharp. Sometimes I need to use my computer with Photoshop to "posterize" the photo (that makes the difference between colors more distinct and easier to trace around solid areas of color).

Then I project the printed photo onto my design wall and trace the areas onto Totally Stable (matte side).

I have already selected fabrics in a range of values which correspond to the photo colors. I label them 1 - 5 (light to dark)

Then I place the Totally Stable (TS) pattern on my lightbox. The light is bright enough to see the pattern lines through the piece of fabric. Using erasable fabric pencil (or whatever you favorite fabric marker is), trace the shape of the appropriate part of the pattern.

Important: It is best to start with the areas farthest away from the viewer, in this case the background. Be sure to add a 1/4" on edges which will be behind the next piece.

Do a few pieces at a time, then attach them to the TS pattern by whichever means you like: pins, fabric adhesive, basting, etc.

The problem with cutting out all the pieces is that you run the risk of shapes "drifitng" so by the end of the process, you may have gaps between pieces.

 

2.

I cut the pattern from one transparency plastic making sure that I have labeled each piece with permanent marker so I can tell which is the correct side (this is very important)

I place the second transparency on top of the Stable drawing so I can see where to place cut each piece of fabric. It's like a sandwich: The Totally Stable drawing on the bottom, then the fabric pieces cut from the first transparency, and on top, the uncut transparency with the same drawing as is on the Totally Stable.

 

3.

I pin each piece in place, checking the placement over and over with the top transparent pattern. This is best done on a flat surface, but eventually I must see it on a vertical surface to assure that it looks like the subject photo.

The quilt top is machine-appliqued in the raw-edge technique, with the edges satin-stitched.

 

4. The final quilt has 4 layers: Backing, Batting, Totally Stable, and the machine-appliqued top of the quilt.

The final quilt has 4 layers: Backing, Batting, Totally Stable, and the machine-appliqued top of the quilt.

 

 

Hope this helps someone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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