Here’s a challenge!

This week I didn’t do a new “pattern” because I was working on a patternless subject, a self-portrait! However, I’ll share it because it was loads of fun. For those who don’t sew–friends, family, children–it could be done with construction paper (scrapbook paper maybe) and glue, even paint, but for the savvy seamstress with lots of fabric stash, scraps and fusible web, well, it’s a cinch to cut and fuse the whole thing. I DID use a needle and thread for the beads, craft eyelashes and the borders, but that’s it. Tips follow. (Notice I decided to do Right Brain-creative, Left Brain-logical, to explore both side of my personality. That’s just an added twist.)

“Self-Portrait: Right Brain, Left Brain”

Because there is no new pattern, I’m putting SEVERAL hot pad appliques on sale until my birthday in late August. Can you find them? Click here.

Now for my tips:

  1. Start with a pencil sketch on paper of an oval (circle for MY round face) and general placement of features. Don’t worry; you have an eraser, and this doesn’t have to be realistic. (However, a photo or mirror may help.)
  2. Use the sketch as a “pattern” to cut head and neck out of some “face” fabric. It can be realistic (on right above) or funky (left was actually an ombre, and I placed the darker part as the neck shadows. The eye on the left is dark purple!)
  3. I fused the head to background fabric. On the right (left brain) I did some straight piecing of quiet fabric then the left (right brain), I collaged onto plain fabric.
  4. When working on the eyes and mouth, I found it important to place some hair to get the proportions right. (Try to DE-emphasize the nose, and just use a subtle coloring difference or little shadows underneath. You don’t want to look like Cyrano de Bergerac!)
  5. About fusing–always fuse the paper onto a section of fabric first, cut out shape, then tear off the paper. (This ensures that the glue will get to the edges–NOTE, use a pin to score the paper for an easy release. )
  6. Pin first, a lot, before fusing.
  7. Work on details and background, using fun fabrics, and don’t be afraid to add 3D notions like my curly ribbons and beads–just raid your stash for ideas. (After walking away for a while, I returned to add eye glints and wrinkles [I mean “laugh lines”], plus a few extra shadows.)
  8. Use fusible fleece to back, or quilt with regular backing if you want. I like adding 2 borders, but I just turned this hanging like a pillowcase instead of quilting and binding. (Your portrait, your rules!)

HAVE FUN!!! This would be a great guild challenge, wouldn’t it? I’d make the challenge in Sept and let everyone try to match portrait with quilter in December to see who gets the most correct. What a hoot! Send me pics to post!! I did MINE for an art challenge because I was supposed to do a portrait–oh my! At least the fabric is more forgiving. HA!

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