After all the parts that make up the "Tough Old Bird (TOB)" were painted, I assembled them on a piece of tan fabric. This fabric prevents the background colors from coming through the lighter fabrics. I trimmed the tan fabric up to the edge of the TOB, so none of it shows. It just adds a nice warm tone and prevents color bleed through. I do this with all of my portrait images.
I used a blue and brown background, as you can see in the image above. I pieced the background and sandwiched it. I decided to quilt the background before putting the TOB on it. I used a straight stitch for the quilting on most of the background.
After completing the straight stitching, I placed the TOB on the background. I fused it down and then machine quilted it. As I was looking at it during the quilting stage, I realized I could see the straight stitches on the background fabric through the TOB. Pre-stitching the background turned out to be a mistake. I had straight horizontal shadow lines all over this old dude, and that was not what I wanted. I didn't like the way that looked at all, so used a stitch picker and removed all of the straight stitches that were under TOB. It was extra work but worth it.
So what went wrong? The horizontal lines may not have shown through if I didn't use fusible behind TOB, but I like fusible and I'm going to use it, I got the idea to stitch the entire background first from another art quilter. She says she does it and it makes squaring up the quilt at the end easier. She does not use fusible, so that may be why it works for her. Since I use fusible, I won't pre-stitch the background again.
It was a lesson learned, but all is well in the end. In my upcoming posts I'll show more of the quilting and finishing of this piece.
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