Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Palm Canyon Construction Technique

This series of blog posts describes the process I used to make the commissioned Palm Canyon art quilt shown below.  Today’s post is about my overall construction method. Prior steps are shown in my previous posts. 

Starting Construction of the Top

My first step is to take my “to scale” sketch to FedEx office and have it printed  full size on one of their large format printers. Here is the enlarged drawing laying on my floor. It is about 3 feet by 4 feet. It would have been better to enlarge just a line drawing instead of my value sketch because it makes it easier to see where a piece starts and stops. Oh well, I'll try to remember that next time!

I use this enlarged sketch to make pattern pieces of each part of the design. My pattern pieces are made from freezer paper. I lay the freezer paper over the enlarged sketch, draw the outline of the item and then cut the pattern out of the freezer paper. The freezer paper pattern is then ironed to the fabric and the piece is cut out. I sometimes leave an extra ¼ inch around the edges if I intend to turn the edge under, or slide this piece behind another. This photo shows the freezer paper patterns for some of the hills and waterfall area. 

I decided to also draw the outline of the image onto a piece of muslin and use the muslin as a background for the top.  I laid the muslin over the enlarged sketch and used a Frixion pen to mark key lines on the muslin. I didn't mark every line on the muslin, just enough to give me a guide line for placement of fabric.The next step was to sandwich the muslin, batt and back together right from the start.

I placed the cut out fabric pieces to the muslin as I went along.This photo shows the markings for the subsurface design on the muslin next to the trailhead area. You can barely see my lines, but they are there.

 Sometimes I used glue stick or white fabric glue as a temporary hold for the fabric pieces. I have found that watering down the glue a little and applying it with a flat paint brush avoids any the possibility of the area that got glue on it showing up on the top.

But, as soon as I had a few pieces placed that I was satisfied with, I went to my quilting machine and quilted those pieces down. I approached construction this way because the quilt was a little on the large side and this method would make managing the top construction easier. I avoided fabrics shifting or falling off when I moved on to the next section. I found it worked well and would do it again the next time.

That was my overall approach to constructing this quilt. My next posts will show how I put the various sections of the quilt together.  Thanks for visiting my blog!

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