Green Woman #7 – Samples

April 11, 2020 at 9:37 am | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 4 Comments
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Here’s where we left the lady last time, and I’m afraid that’s what she still looks like:

Green Woman - pieced background

The next step was figuring out how to add the white foreground. As you can see from the original image by Iain Clark (he’s a 2020 Hugo nominee for Best Fan Artist, go check out his lovely work!), it’s quite a few leaves and twigs, including sharp inside and outside corners, which turned out to be the real problem.

Green Woman - Original Artwork by Iain J. Clark, used with permission.

I knew what fabric I wanted to use – I’ve got some of my mom’s old white damask tablecloths, and it’s a fairly dense fabric (good if you want to put it on top of coloured fabric). I choose one  with woven in florals that I think fits the theme of this quilt very well.

The big question was how to attach the white to the background to achieve the fairly clean lines I’d like to see here? I’d have to try different options, so I started by grabbing a few of the cut offs of the background fabric and sewed them together, giving me a background that’s representative of the real thing.

I then choose a bit of the upper left side of the white border to try things out with, since there most of the interesting features are present.

First option: machine appliqué with a facing fabric

A friend suggested this solution, and I liked the idea because it would put another white fabric layer between the damask and the colourful background. It also would give me a clean edge that I could attach with a simple line of machine sewing. So, here’s a few process pictures:

Green Woman #7 01

The lines get transferred to the wrong side of the facing fabric, then both fabrics are pinned right sides together.

Green Woman #7 02

Sewing is a simple case of stitching along the drawn line. After that I cut off the outside fabric, leaving a small seam allowance. Then I turned the piece, and here’s where the problems start:

Green Woman #7 03

You can clearly see the puckers on the negative corners at the bottom, and the sharp tips at the top are not sharp at all. I took the picture on top of the line drawing, so you can also see the leaf forms are not as nice as they should be as well. At that point it was pretty clear that I’d need to find another solution, but I still attached this to the background just to see if I like the look in general, and to have a base for trying out further steps, like quilting.

Green Woman #7 04

I top stitched it down using a dark grey thread, trying to imitate the outline from the original. It doesn’t look very clean, and as that’s the goal, on to option 2.

Second option: hand appliqué

The next obvious thing to try was hand appliqué. I’m not that big a fan, especially as it would be a fairly substantial amount of work on a piece that size, but if it is what it takes, so be it.

I transferred the pattern onto freezer paper and ironed it to the back of the fabric. Then I cut out the fabric with a seam allowance:

Green Woman #7 05

I like the freezer paper method for hand appliqué since it gives me a nice clean edge to turn the seam allowance around. Here’s the result:

Green Woman #7 06

It doesn’t look bad on first sight. The sharp tips are mostly sharp, but they’re a pain to get to look that nice. It’s the negative corners at the bottom that made me give up after half the pattern was done: there just isn’t enough seam allowance to make those look good.

At that point I had also decided that I most likely would put a line of machine couching with a grey thread right on top of the edges, which would hide all of the seams, and hand appliqué that’s not visible at the end is just not worth the time and effort. So, what now?

Third option: Bondaweb

This is not my preferred option, since it glues the white fabric directly to the coloured background, making things a bit stiffer than when purely sewing, and having the possibility of the colour showing through. But it was the only realistic option left, so I gave it a try:

Green Woman #7 07

I cut the Bondaweb away on the inside of the pattern except for a seam allowance, so I could cut away the background as with the other options. you can see a small dark area, but it’s not as bad as I feared. I then simply topstitched with a white thread, assuming there will be a dark gray couching thread hiding it later. Ignoring the rust spots (no idea what happened here, need to avoid it for the real thing obviously), this looks by far the best to me, so that’s what I’ll go with.

I’ll make the final decision once I’ve tried out the couching and quilting part, because that can still have an influence on what works best. Ordered lots of Bondaweb and a selection of grey cotton yarns online, and it will take a while to get here, because for some reason or other everyone’s shopping online right now. So I’m trying to have patience and am working on other stuff in between.

4 Comments »

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  1. May I offer yet another option? You could attach your piece with 505 temporary spray baste, secure the most pointy bits with thread basting, stitch, and then remove the thread basting and snip and peel away the fabric behind the white. It’s sticky enough to hold the fabric while you sew it down, but light enough that you can peel fabric off it easily afterwards, and it washes out afterwards if you need to wash the piece.

    • Thanks for the suggestion! This is something to consider. Although one advantage of the Bondaweb is that it stabilizes the fabric while I’m cutting it out, which is an advantage in this case. And I can use it to transfer the pattern onto the fabric as well.

  2. I am impressed with the details of this quilt. So many options would drive me batty. Can’t wait to see the end product!

  3. Hi,
    This will be an awesome quilt when finished.
    Have a great day!


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