Autumn Art Quilt


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This is an excerpt taken from my Textiles How-To CD Book "Melted Fabrics" about how I made a layered and melted textiles panel for an Art Quilt. You can find out much more at

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Autumn Art Quilt

  1. 1. Autumn Art Quilt By Rachel Cox of Rachel’s Melted Fabrics
  2. 3. Autumn Art Quilt <ul><li>This is an excerpt taken from my Textiles How-To CD Book &quot;Melted Fabrics&quot; about how I made a layered and melted textiles panel for an Art Quilt. You can find out much more at . </li></ul>
  3. 4. You will need... <ul><li>Assorted fabrics- whatever you want to use manmade or natural, recycled or new. </li></ul><ul><li>wadding to make your textiles piece sturdy. </li></ul><ul><li>organza- enough to cover the whole textiles piece once it's layered up. </li></ul><ul><li>Thread- embroidery threads, yarn etc </li></ul><ul><li>beads and sequins to add little areas of interest </li></ul><ul><li>sewing machine </li></ul><ul><li>scissors </li></ul><ul><li>pins </li></ul><ul><li>Optional: </li></ul><ul><li>embossing metal </li></ul><ul><li>photo transfer paper </li></ul>
  4. 5. Step 1. Template
  5. 6. <ul><li>I made the drawing the same size that I wanted my final wall hanging/quilt to be. This was so I could cut out all the individual shapes and use them as templates when it came to cutting out the shapes in fabric. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Step 2. Layering, pinning and sewing into place
  7. 8. <ul><li>The background was layered with lots of similarly toned fabrics. The hair was cut in one piece and the dress was cut in two pieces (I used my ink drawing as a pattern piece to cut out the fabric). I also cut out fabric shapes for her lips and eyes. These block shapes of fabric were then covered with lots of other little scraps of fabrics and yarns. Once I was satisfied with the amount of texture and colour, I covered the whole piece with a layer of sheer organza. Once you have the organza in place it’s important to pin as much down as possible. The fabric will always shift during the sewing process, you have to learn to live with this and remember that you can add in detail and “fix” problems later. It’s a chaotic process and you never know how the piece will turn out exactly but this can be very exciting. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Step 3. Sewing and embroidery
  9. 10. <ul><li>When you first start sewing, your main focus should be to sew down as much of the main blocks of colour as possible and to seal the edges so all your little pieces of fabric don’t fall out onto the floor! Once you’re satisfied with the stabilising stitches it’s time to start putting in some detail. As you can see from the image, the fabrics are embroidered further to give depth and rigidity to the textiles piece. I’ve sewn into the facial features (I like to do this as soon as possible as it helps me to envisage the finished piece) and around all the hair. The stitch used around the hair is satin stitch, which is thicker and gives more definition. Normal, straight stitch has also been used to show the line of flow of the hair. I find that if you’re going to use free machine embroidery on a thick piece like this then it’s important to do as much sewing with the foot as you can first. Embroidery thread snaps very easily, especially during free machine embroidery, so it’s important to have a textiles piece with layers that are sewn as tightly together as possible. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Step 4. Melting and adding extras
  11. 12. <ul><li>I’ve added some curly stitches in the background and into her face. I have a problem whereby I hate to see any surface untouched by embroidery! In this picture the organza on the hair has been melted away lightly with a hot air gun. I remember I couldn’t wait to try melting on this piece. I tried to just direct the heat onto the hair and the dress. The melting really helps the colour underneath to come through and brighten the whole piece. It was autumn whilst I was producing this quilt and I’d taken some photos of bushes, trees, berries and other seasonal things. I decided it would be nice to print some of these images onto t-shirt transfer paper. These then got ironed onto separate pieces of fabric, which I then patched onto the girl’s hair. I stitched around the edges of the patches and onto the patches, around shapes in the images, to define them. You can see the patches helped break up some of the strong lines made by the satin stitch. </li></ul><ul><li>*If you use a hot air gun or any other tool to melt fabric or plastic remember to always work in a very well ventilated area and wear the appropriate type of mask. Never breathe in fumes. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Step 5. Hand sewing detail and adding embossing metal
  13. 14. <ul><li>The organza top layer was blasted away further to make the colours richer. I embroidered eye shadow to make the eyes more striking. </li></ul><ul><li>I used a large mattress needle to sew black yarn stitches into the hair, to direct the eye along the flow of the locks. This can be tough on the hands because of all the layering. </li></ul><ul><li>I cut leaf shapes out of suede and leather and sewed them on with green thread. I sewed the shapes of veins which as well as being decoration was also stitched the leaves to the main piece. </li></ul><ul><li>You can also see some shiny copper leaf shapes. I cut these from some embossing metal, embossed the veins on with a blunt tool and painted black nail varnish on randomly to give each leaf a tarnished look. The great thing about embossing metal is that it’s so thin you can sew through it on a sewing machine- watch out for blunt and snapping needles though. </li></ul>
  14. 15. Step 6. Beading and finishing
  15. 16. <ul><li>This is the finished piece with wooden beads sewn into her hair and bright red seed bead lips. </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to encapsulate the feeling of a windy autumn day in this piece and the wood beads and leaves carry this across. If you look closely you can also see the light green beads I’ve sewn into her eyes to draw the observer to them. </li></ul><ul><li>The gold leaf sequins on her dress were ironed to melt them slightly and then sewn onto the dress with the sewing machine. </li></ul><ul><li>As you can see, she’s different from the template I made. I didn’t start with a perfect plan. I like to let the materials and processes lead me and to be surprised by the end result. </li></ul>
  16. 17. The End If you have enjoyed this presentation please visit