Sunday, May 4, 2014

Birds on Fabric: Tutorial for a Small Quilted Project

These two blue jays were sitting in my stack of hand painted fabrics I created for textile cards but in my craze for making mug rugs I raided that pile recently. The birds were painted with procion dyes onto light cotton fabric and are approximately 5 X 7" in size. For directions on painting with fibre reactive dyes, click here. To begin with I sandwiched some batting between the painted fabric and the backing fabric and free motion stitched some details on the birds.
The height of the mug rugs is 7" so I cut strips double that length with an  extra 2 inches to about 16". In hindsight, I should have added a bit more as you will see later. I sewed the long edges of the strips together until they were the width needed for adding beside the blue jays to make the 10 inches of the mug rug.

After pressing, I cut across the created fabric to create two equal halves, one for each quilted piece.  As a bit of added decoration, I cut a strip from the end (decorator strip) and turning it perpendicular, added it to the created fabrics as shown in the photos below. Here is where having the strips longer than 16" to start with would have allowed that narrow strip with the little bits of fabric to be a little wider for ease of working with it. 

Then I squared the strips up and added one to the edge of the already created fabric. On the second mug rug I inserted this newly created strip, made up of the bits of fabric, into the middle of the sewn strips. I did this by undoing one of the seams and adding it in. Which one do you like better? The one with the decorator strip amongst the other strips or the one with the decorator strip beside the blue jay?

Do you notice the use of 3 pieces of the olive green in each piece and that each of the three pieces is a little different in size? Three is a good number in design and difference in the sizes of the shapes is important too. In the bottom photo, it was unfortunate that the olive branch and small piece in the decorator strip connect, making it seem as one piece. I didn't think it was worth undoing the seams to move it but it is a little thing to think about next time.
In the ditch quilting was added and a binding completed the two mug rugs. They are lots of fun to do and I am finding them popular. Today, I just received my first commission to create a mug rug in some specific colours and I can't wait to get started. Have fun and send any pictures of the mug rugs you are making.


Win Dinn, Artist said...

Love the incorporation of these jays in the mug rugs, Eileen. I am drawn to the one where the decorator strip is immediately to the left of the bird, as it seems to add emphasis there. What fun pieces!

Watercolour and Textile Artist, Eileen Gidman said...

Thanks for the feedback Win!

Gloria said...

What a great, quick and easy project! I would almost hate to soil it with cookies and coffee rings! Thanks for the useful colour tips, too!

HollyM said...

These are so pretty! I prefer the decorator strip in amongst the other strips. I too would be reluctant to use it!