I guess it's no secret that retro, Victorian style silhouettes have been pretty trendy lately. When I saw the Michael Miller line of fabrics featuring fun silhouettes (part of the black & white collection), I had to get some. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it yet, but I definitely wanted to get some before it was gone. The wheels in my head started turning... although the silhouettes have traditionally been executed on paper, why not try the same thing with fabric? Although none of the techniques I used are revolutionary, I thought I'd go through each step in case anyone is wondering how I did it.
I started by taking some digital photos of Brynne's profile. Once I got one I was happy with, I pulled it into my photo editing software, masked the background and made it white and filled the shape of her profile in black. I did some simplification of the image (especially of her hair), and printed out a copy to the size I wanted for my quilt. Here is the photo I started with:
I decided which way I wanted her to face in the final quilt, and flipped my printout the opposite way. I then traced the reversed outline of the silhouette onto fusible (I like HeatnBond Lite). I cut out the fusible outline about 1/4" away from the outer edge of my tracing. Next, I cut away the inside of the fusible outline - cutting to within about 1/4" of the traced outline. (This step means that your fused fabric will only have the fusible along the outline and won't feel stiff all over.) I then ironed the fusible to the wrong side of the fabric I was using for the silhouette - in this case a solid black fabric. I then cut the fabric carefully along the traced line on my fusible (remember - the paper is still on one side of the fusible). Now I'm ready to start assembling the pieces!
I removed the paper backing from the fusible and ironed my black silhouette to the background fabric - a solid white fabric. To complete the applique, I decided to use a very narrow satin stitch in black thread, so as not to detract from the silhouette. I appliqued the silhouette with some stabilizer ironed to the back side (to prevent any tunneling or other distortion). I then cut the white background fabric to size and added 2 borders. I used a mitered joint for the outer border (a black moire fabric) and a butt joint for the inner border (a black/white print reminiscent of a foulard).
My inspiration fabric from Michael Miller became the backing. The quilting is very minimal - an outline of the silhouette, and then in-the-ditch around each border. I added a hanger sleeve matched to the backing fabric. I used our class Bernina to embroider the details on the hanger sleeve in red thread. I'm not crazy about the look of this alphabet, and normally I would do a label at home using Bubble Jet, but because I wanted the hanger sleeve to match the backing, I couldn't use this method (the Inkjet inks won't show up on black fabric). I finished the edge using the knife-edge technique again. (Per some questions to yesterday's post, I tried to get photos of this, but since both fabrics are black, the detail was lost... I'll try to get something up that explains the technique!)
The quilt is designed to hang on the wall, much like a framed, paper silhouette would be displayed. Here is the front:
and here are some detail shots (excuse the fuzz from the batting - I didn't go over it with a lint remover before I took the pictures - doh!):
and here's the back with the embroidery in red:
This wall-hanging is destined to be a Christmas gift for one of Brynne's grandmas. I hope she likes it!