Appliqué design challenge

plum and bush bananaThis fabric has been chosen for the Waverley Appliqué SIG display at the upcoming Quilt Show. It is Plum and BushBanana by Laurel Taniels for M&S Textiles and as I chose it I have to make an item. The only requirement is that appliqué is used.

When looking through the book of the Tokyo Quilt Show recently I had an inspiration. There is a framed quilt section in that exhibition, so that is what I will make.

First step was to find a suitable frame which meant visiting antique centres in my area. It was while on this task that I found my very Lovely Pony sewing machine. After rejecting moulded gilt and distressed pokerwork frames and not being able to afford a beautiful small but substantial oak one that was mostly frame I found the perfect piece for my quilt.

picture frameIt is wire work of unknown vintage, possibly modern shabby chic, with an anonymous London couple on their wedding day probably in the late 40’s.

Next step is a design. I had birds in mind, and when I found my quinces being consumed not by possums but by a King Parrot I had a plan. Birds in a fruit tree, but finch like rather than parrots because of the patterning on the fabric.

Using a silver eye picture as a reference I sketched up the design and checked it in the frame. I only have a small piece of the fabric, so instead of cutting straight away I made a photocopy of the fabric and planned the fussy cutting using that instead.

This is a bit of a backward way of doing things as I had not chosen a background fabric. I wanted it to be quite busy, to give a sense of a tree with lots of foliage and the birds hard to find.

So to audition fabric I copied my pasted up design onto a transparency, stuck white paper behind the coloured shapes to give the necessary depth and tried it on fabrics from my stash. At first I had thought I would stitch leaves when quilting to give the busyness then I tried some prints both front and back.

fabric test
But I think I found the perfect fabric from the Magnolia Lane Collection by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller – it even has a branch in the right place so I won’t have to appliqué that part! As the paper is not as bright as the print fabric, I am sure the birds will be visible. And it is a fantasy piece, so fruit and flowers at the same time is not a problem.

magnolia branch

I feel like I have finished, but really I haven’t yet picked up needle and thread.


8 responses to “Appliqué design challenge

  1. Perfect. A beautiful frame. Who says you have to use all the fabric, just as long as some is used. Well done.

  2. Fascinating process. Looking forward to seeing the finished piece in real life.

  3. Inspirational Jeannette

  4. Thanks for sharing your process. The fabric looks great.

  5. Love your idea Jeanette. Also love the thought process in coming to a conclusion with the applique and the fabric used. Can’t wait to see the finished article.

  6. Lovely use of the challenge fabric.

  7. Pingback: Two in the bush | skippingstitches

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