Thursday, January 28, 2010

Self Portrait


                                                                    
                                         14" x 14" fusible applique, machine pieced, hand quilted

You can read more about my self-portrait on  the Interpret This blog.  This was a challenge, both in planning and in technique.  I did quite a bit of work in Photoshop to manipulate my photograph and create the faint background images.

I also used some new techniques with the fusible applique.  This was by far the most delicate fusible job I've ever done and I wanted to minimize the tracing and retracing of the pattern, both for convenience and for accuracy.  After some thought, I worked out a way that I thought was very successful.  It probably isn't new, but it was new to me.

After I got the image the way I wanted it in Photoshop, I printed a copy as a reference copy, then I printed it on a clear plastic sheet of the kind that used to be used for overhead projectors.  You could also make a tracing or maybe print on lighter paper.  This copy is for an overlay to help place the pieces.   I used a Sharpie to draw a dotted line from the center point of each side, and make a pencil mark in the seam allowance of the background fabric as alignment points.

 Then I pressed the shiny side of a printer-sized sheet of freezer paper to the right side of the fabric.  (I used batik so there wouldn't be any fraying.)  I pressed hard with a hot iron to make sure there was a very tight bond.  I put this through the printer so the image was on the dull side of the freezer paper.

Then without removing the freezer paper, I attached fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric according to directions.  I used TransWeb, but Wonder Under would probably work.  I wouldn't use
Steam-a-Seam though because I don't think it bonds tightly enough.  Then I removed the paper back of the fusible.

Using an Exacto knife, I cut through the freezer paper, fabric, and fusible and cut out the piece.  Then I removed the freezer paper.  You can see I started with easiest part, the shoulders.

Then I placed the plastic overlay on top of the background, lining up the marks, and slipped the cutout piece underneath, lining it up with the printed shape on the overlay.  When it was correct, I carefully lifted the overlay, and pressed the cut out lightly.   Here you can see the marked reference lines on the overlay, and the very dark part where I've put the shoulders in place underneath.


I cut and placed a few pieces at a time until everything was placed. After everything was placed and lightly pressed, I pressed again with hot iron to set it tightly.

This technique would have to be adapted if you're using more than one fabric in your applique.  But as it is, it's perfect for a silhouette or for letters, since the image isn't reversed and can be cut very accurately.


14 comments:

The Calico Cat said...

I like it. I like the hand quilting. I like the pieced border. I love the portrait.

Debra said...

Thanks for explaining the technique. Very cool.

Finishing Lines by K.Sperino said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing your process.

Beena said...

I love both the technique and the finished outcome. I am still curious about the images you subtly incorporated in your background, (as to more specifically the artwork that they are, and the process in more depth). This is a very striking portrait! I had no idea what to expect after the teaser you left on the IT blog!

Vicki W said...

That turned out great!

Joyce said...

An interesting new-to-me technique that turned out to be an amazing work of art. Well done.

Kim said...

I got a clearer view of the background images in that last photo - love that van Gogh is there echoing the original photo.

It's a wonderful piece Kay.

Rian said...

Thanks for sharing your process and techniques. The clear plastic is a good idea--I used the negative space from where I cut the shapes from the freezer paper for placement. I found that the freezer paper didn't like to stick to fabric that had fusible on it, so your idea to put the paper on first would probably solve that problem. You did a really great job with this piece. Applause!

jenclair said...

Thanks for sharing the technique, Kay. This self portrait turned out beautifully!

Quilt or Dye said...

Great job of explaining the steps. Very similar technique to what I was taught for lining up 4 colors prints.

I am so trying this in one of my next pieces!

Kathleen said...

Beautiful self portrait. I'm impressed with your process and patience.

Deborah said...

That is brilliant - subtle but interesting. Your background is wonderful, something I would really love to try - and I will once I get a printer that works. I love it., the whole thing - very, very nice.

Liz said...

It's a wonderful piece! But then I knew you would do a great job. The technique sounds time consuming, but it obviously makes for good fusing. Intricate pieces like this need the time to be done well. I loved your title from husband's comment. Very appropriate.

Barbara C said...

What a fabulous portrait. Your tutorial is also very inspiring.