In my last post, I told you that I was making another fabric collage quilt, like the llama I had made a while back. Tanya asked for step by step directions, so I will happily show you the steps I followed. I think it will show you how flexible this process can be.
What you will need:
- Some kind of small scraps. Since I need really small pieces, I like using the fabric that is in my fabric trash can. I used strips I had created when I trimmed up some blocks.
- Some kind of adhesive. I used a fusible steam-a-seam2 sheet, which then requires an iron, and a glue stick.
- Needle and thread to sew things down. With so many little pieces, you will want to do a lot of sewing, so a sewing machine will make it much easier. If you want to hand stitch, you could add a layer of tulle to help hold all those little pieces down.
Step One: Choose the Design
I decided I wanted a camel to go with my llama. I drew the camel on the side of the side of the fusible that stays on the piece until it is ready to be fused down to the base. When you are drawing on that side, make sure that you reverse the position so that the piece will be facing the right way. The camel drawing is facing the left, and as you will see later on the post, the camel will face right on the quilt.
This photo is obviously a recreation. The actual fusible sheet is bigger than a sheet of copier paper. If you want to save fusible, you may want to place the shape in a corner of the sheet instead of the middle.
Step Two: Place the Fabric Scraps on the Fusible
I didn't take a picture of the whole sheet, but I think it will be easy enough to figure out with the words. Take the paper off from one side of the fusible and set it aside. This is the paper that does not have the drawing on it. Lay the paper on a table fusible side up as you want the fabric to stick to the glue side. If possible, working on the ironing board would be best since you won't then have to move it to the ironing board. You may want to tape the fusible sheet down to keep it secure, but I did not do that.
Place the fabric strips face up on the fusible. It is better to slightly overlap the fabric strips. If you have a piece that does not stick to the fusible where you want it, like places where there is too much of an overlap, you can a glue stick to add glue to the back of the fabric to stick it down. I just placed the strips down randomly, but of course, if you wanted a particular color in a particular part of the shape, you can do that as well.
Make sure there is fabric that covers the entire perimeter of the drawn area. It is better to go slightly over so you can make a clean cut. Instead of just putting fabric on the camel shape, I covered the entire sheet of fusible. The picture above shows the pieces I had left after the camel was cut out.
Step Three: Cut Out the Shape and Place it on the Background
I actually cut out the camel and placed it on the background next, but I don't have a picture of that, so I will move on to the other shapes because they show the process better. I looked at the shape of the leftover fabric and tried to imagine what animal would fit on that shape.
In this case, I placed the drawing on top of the fabric and cut out the perimeter. Since these drawings were on top of the fabric, I did not have to reverse the drawing. If I had wanted the animals to face the other way, I could have placed the drawing on the back of the fabric and then cut out the shape.
I used a pin to hold the drawing to the fabric and was able to pinch the shapes with my thumb and forefinger to hold them down and did not have any trouble. I was able to fix any fabric shifting before cutting.
No actual cats were harmed in this process.
You can also combine pieces to make your shapes. I made the fins with separate fabric because I wanted the fins to go in different directions.
Now it is time to bring out the iron. You now want to press the shape onto the background fabric. Use that wax-like paper you set aside. Or if you have a pressing sheet, you can use that. Place it over the shape to protect your iron from getting any fusible glue on it. Press the shape onto the background to secure it.
Step Four: Stitch Down the Strips
At long last, I present a picture of the camel. It does exist! The next step is to stitch it down. Some quilters would have insisted on pressing the background fabric until the folds were ironed out before adding and stitching the shape.
You can, of course, make a fabric collage as a background, but I decided to keep my backgrounds plain since I will be adding words.
You can add additional strips at this point if you see places where the fusible is peeking through and places where you prefer a different fabric. Also glue down any pieces that still seem loose. For the camel, there was a large piece of scrap that seemed to be too solid and I didn't think it went well with all the skinny pieces, so I added more strips on top of the original strips. I glued them down with a glue stick to make sure they stayed in place. Make sure to maintain the integrity of the shape by keeping or trimming the new strips inside the perimeter.
I placed the batting underneath the background to do the stitching. I left off the backing which will later be secured with quilting. If you want to prevent lint, you can use felt instead of batting, or add another layer which you will cover with the backing, or if you don't mind a lot of stitching in the backing, you can just consider all the stitching to also be quilting.
I used wavy lines to stitch down the shapes because my free motion foot broke and I was too lazy to get the other one. For my llama and elephant, I also used a combination of free motion and embroidery stitches to stitch down the fabric. If you are sewing them by hand, placing a piece of tulle over the shape will help you secure all the pieces.
The key is to secure these little pieces so they don't fly away so the more stitching, the better.
I plan to quilt around the shape with dark thread to make them more prominent, but you can also use a zig zag or buttonhole stitch or otherwise show the outline of the shape onto the background.
Step Five: Add Words
Yes of course this step is required. Why were you expecting me to say it is optional?
The cornier the words, the better. I wrote the words on a sheet of typing paper and pinned it to the paper, and then sewed through the paper to trace the words using a short stitch length. Then rip off the paper. Tweezers will help remove the rest of the paper.
You can also use a disappearing marking pen to mark the words you can stitch. If your free motion foot is not broken, it is easier to use that to trace the words instead of turning the fabric using a straight stitch.
You can also avoid the stitching completely by using a permanent fabric pen to write the words on the fabric. Or if your machine has an alphabet, you can get the words on the quilt that way. Or embroider by hand.
I think I will hand stitch or quilt over these letters to make them more prominent.
Step Six: Add Other Embellishments
You probably figured out you can add the embellishments before the words. You can add the eyes and other details either with fused strips, quilting, embroidery, or fabric markers or fabric crayons. You can also add other things like beads, ribbons, or other quilting scraps.
The original plan was to make a separate camel quilt, but now that I have so many figures, I am thinking about putting all of them on the same quilt. So for now, I will leave you here with "quilt as desired, finish your project your way."
Other tutorials on this blog:
Scalloped Border Tips and Tricks
Matchstick Mansion Quilt Tutorial
11Suggestions on How to Avoid Unfinished Quilts (UFOs)
How to Make Fold Over Binding