Thursday, November 21, 2013

Saying Yes to the Dress

This week brings us to downshift number two in the design stage of my free-motion quilting project. (See my post It's in the Details for more about downshifts.)

This time, it's about the dress/gown/coat. And the hair. Several colors of fabric were tested on the quilt, and red-violet seemed to look best for the young lady's dress (let's just call it that from here on in), especially with the hair fabric I'd chosen. More about the hair in a minute.


After tracing the dark areas in the black and white photo onto the freezer paper dress pattern piece, I cut them out with an Exacto knife (leaving all outside edges intact). Then I ironed the pattern onto a test piece of the red-violet batik (below left) and filled in all the open spaces with a black Marvy fabric marker. It worked, with no bleed-over at the edges. I love these markers! It's paint, but it applies more like ink. And you don't even have to heat-set it!





I realize the black looks a little stark against the fabric, but when someone is standing back from the quilt, it will look like natural folds (that's the plan, anyway). So I committed to it and repeated the process on the actual dress piece.


The next step was to put the highlight areas on the dress. Since I didn't have the right color of marker or type of fabric paint for that, I opted to cut them all out of a lavender batik and fuse them onto the dress base, using the photo to check proper positioning. Maybe not the perfect shade, this lavender, but I was determined not to go out and buy more fabric!

After that, all the dress needed was some fancy trim on the sleeves and on the one front opening of her coat (the other being hidden from view). Plus a little detailing with the black Marvy paint marker here and there. Again, the shadows and highlights may seem a little stark at first glance, but when you lay it on the quilt top and step back, it works fairly well. I think I'm ok with it, at least for now.


The hair was easy and fun, especially after figuring out what fabric to use for the clasp. The fabric used for the hair itself might be considered an odd choice by some folks. Anybody care to guess what the fabric's actual intended use is? Be as specific as you can, because the first person to comment and get it right gets a free copy, postage paid, of Joyce Becker's wonderful book, Quick Little Landscape Quilts! (I happen to have an extra.) [Update--we have a winner, Gill in the UK!]

The last thing done to the dress was hand-stitching the lacings with gold metallic thread. Then, finally, hair and dress were fused together. Here's the lady, laid over the drawing for her final fitting.


One more thing. Please don't think, when a product is mentioned by name on this blog, that I'm in any way trying to promote it. I don't work for anyone but myself, but am a firm believer in sharing tips, methods, techniques and product names that work for me. What I will never do again is say anything negative about a product on this blog. (If you think blogs aren't being watched by industry, just say something unflattering about a name brand.) I experienced a failure with one particular product--which turned out to be totally my fault, as I was using it wrong!--and blogged about it. Soon afterward, the manufacturer wrote me, politely, to ask for specifics about how I had used the product. The upshot of it was that I apologized profusely, thanked them for pointing out my error, and took all mention of the product and my experience with it off the blog. Not that I had slammed it or anything, don't get me wrong; I had simply shared my experience. But after that, I decided never to share an opinion on a name-brand product unless my experience with it is a positive one. Lesson learned! So again...I love Marvy fabric markers! :)

Hooking up with Leah Day's FMQ Friday blog--just look at those gorgeous photos--Duchess Reigns is back on the machine! Also linking to Sarah Craig's Whoop Whoop Friday post. Between her restoration of an antique quilt and a historically significant piece of family memorabilia, this is a very interesting post. Don't miss it. And don't miss the reader hookups below each of those posts; you'll find wonderful blogs there, as well.

Have a great weekend!

Linda

p.s. Linda's Landscapes Etsy shop is having a Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale. Take 20% off all prices now through December 3rd, simply by using coupon code HOLIDAY20 at checkout!

22 comments:

  1. The dress is stunning Linda! I've never heard of Marvy markers, I'm wondering if they're available here in the UK????
    I love the hair colour - my boys are this colour but not as long!!! is it tree bark??

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    1. Gill---you're the winner, congratulations!! It is indeed tree bark fabric, cedar in fact, in a very large scale compared to most bark fabrics. If you are willing to send me your postal address in another comment (which of course will not be posted), I'll send you Joyce Becker's book. I order my Marvy fabric markers on the internet; they are available several places. Just put the words Marvy fabric markers in a search. Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Gill, received your address and will probably get this mailed tomorrow. I'll let you know when it's on the way. Thanks again for taking a guess at the hair fabric!

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    3. Gill, your book is on the way! Mailed late this afternoon. :)

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  2. Can I just tell you how excited I am to see the finished result of this quilt? :) I have such an amazingly talented mama-law!
    Love you!
    -Shannon

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    1. Thank you, my sweet daughter-in-law. :) I am having so much fun with it. Love you, too!

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  3. Awesome! Just awesome! I am so enjoying this, thank you :-)

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  4. Your work is amazing, I'm loving watching this quilt develop :D

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    1. Thank you, Chrissie. Sharing the process has made it more fun than ever!

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  5. I really appreciate that you have shown the technique of shadowing and highlighting the dress to simulate draping. This quilt is surely going to be a real masterpiece.

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    1. Suzanne, thank you, I'm so glad. This is the way I love to share, with writing and photos, successes and failures. Well, not really failures, I guess, just lessons learned.

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    1. Thank you, Pat. Having so much fun with this!

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  7. Another fabulous post, Linda! You are so talented and creative. Love this piece.

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    1. Thank you so much...I got a little choked up when I saw your post regarding quilt donations to Project Linus. It just so happens that Project Linus was a hugely important charity for my wonderful sewing machine dealer, who for the last 3 years has generously exhibited my quilts on the wall of her shop. She passed away just a few weeks ago, and I can't tell you how much I will miss her smile and her joyous spirit. What a strange and lovely coincidence that you are involved in this charity, too.

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  8. hm, I would have guessed wood grain. It is perfect as hair!! She's beautiful and worth every second of effort!

    I think whatever company contacted you and helped with the product is awesome! That's pretty great when you think about it... They found you, saw you had a problem, then helped you fix it. Neato! :)

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    1. Thank you, Susan! That is so true. They were kind and definitely wanted to help me figure out what had happened. Of course they weren't thrilled with the negative exposure, either, so it did wig me out a little at first, especially after realizing the 'product failure' was my fault...yikes!! They never wrote back after I explained my mistake and apologized, but I guess no news is good news. Sure hope so.

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  9. Hello Linda,

    That lace-back gown is the stuff of fantasies it is so gorgeous, and I love the colour you have chosen and the contrasting fabric for the border. I'm really looking forward to seeing the end result.

    Love,
    Muv

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    1. Thank you, Muv! I was a little concerned about the red clashing with the red-violet, but then decided it worked after all. I too find lace-back gowns to be the stuff of fantasies; in fact they're a part of the historical detail in my novels.

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  10. Wow, Linda. I am so happy I found your blog today. It is awesome! I love the way you showed how to make the lady's dress dimensional. It looks awesome! I love the color of the fabric you used. Great job!

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    1. Thank you, Teresa, I can't wait to get her on the quilt. She'll be the last thing that gets attached!

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