Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Make a Tiny Art Quilt

How to Make a Tiny Art Quilt
Process of a quilt for ArtBox csa

First, I start with inspiration.  I had an idea to make this fabric.  I headed out to the garage and pinned some white fabric to a frame.  Then, one by one, I drew these circles with a tjanting tool.  It went a lot better than I expected (as I was expected a lot of wax dripping, but I got lucky, or perhaps enough skill now...). 
Then I mixed up about 6 different colors of dye, and one by one, painted in the centers of the circles.  This took a long time, but I was hopeful it would look good when I finished.  After dye painting the centers, I let it dry, and then painted over the dye with more wax.  Then I was able to dye the entire piece in turquoise.  Next step, wait 24 hours for the turquoise to set, and then rinse in cold water, and boil out the wax.  I always wash my batiks in detergent in the washing machine to finish the process.  I loved the results and decided to use this fabric for my next series of art boxes!
The first step to creating the work was to layer two pieces of white cotton fabric (approximately 12" x 12") with a layer of batting in between.  I traced the canvas on the white fabric lightly with a pencil to define my composition area.
Next, I gathered enough supplies to make all six of the art boxes, hoping that this would save time.  I pre-cut as much as possible.  The list includes, the dot batik fabric, centers of the flowers pre-cut, left over batik flowers from another project, dyed turquoise batting, zippers, green stems from fused fabric, green leaves from a commercial print, and yellow squares (these will be trimmed to 8" x 8") with batting and white fabric layered.
I took the precut batik dot fabric and fused it into place.  The top edge has been turned under to finish, and lies right on top of the pencil line along the top of the square I drew.
Next step, I added some fusible to the back of the zipper.  There are probably different ways to put on a zipper in this curvy shape, but I thought fusible might be easiest.  I turned down the top edge of the zipper and fused it to itself and the same with the bottom of the zipper.  I slowly pressed the zipper into place as I held it and curved it to match the shape of the fabric under it.  This only works if the zipper is unzipped as shown in the photo.  Next, I top stitched the zipper in place.  I used a zipper foot to do this on my sewing machine.
Next I prepared the flower.  I fused it to the turquoise batting, and machine quilted around in circles and then around the edge.  Next, with sharp scissors, I cut out the center.  I used a large eyed needed and six strand embroidery floss to whip stitch around the center of the cut edge.  Last I trimmed the batting to be visible just beyond the edge of the flower fabric.  It is now ready to add to the quilt.  But first....
I placed the yellow quilt sandwich (yellow fabric on top, batting, white fabric on the bottom) on top of the zipper section, making sure that the yellow fabric will completely cover the pencil marked square on the white fabric.
Then with the pencil again, I light traced the lump of the zipper onto the yellow fabric.  I used this pencil line as a guide to machine quilt the yellow block, sort of echoing the shape of the curve of the zipper.
With a rotory cutter and mat, I used a grid ruler to cut the yellow into a perfect 8" x 8".  Then I cut this apart with scissors along the pencil line of the zipper.  The part where the zipper and batik dot fabric shows through is tossed aside and will not be used.
The curve along the zippered shaped is gently trimmed with scissors to get a good fit.  Then the yellow quilted sections are placed on top and satin stitched into place.  I used pins to hold it while I was stitched just the zippered edge. It was difficult to stitch near the zipper pull, so I alternated zipping it up or down just a bit to stitch through that section. Next step is to fuse the flower center, the flower stem, and the leaf.
I pinned the quilted flower into place and machine stitched along the batik blue edge to hold it in place.  I also satin stitched the leaf, and hand quilted the stem with the embroidery floss again.
Next, I machine quilted my name in the lower corner,
Then satin stitched the rest of edges of the yellow block to the white background carefully missing the edge of the "Y" in my name!
The last step, I did not take photos of , sorry!  I fold the little quilt diagonally through the corners (right sides together) and machine stitch a right angle to the edge of the white fabric, and then trim the excess.  This shapes the little quilt into a 3D small box and the canvas slips right in leaving the quilt perfectly positioned on the edge of the canvas.  The final edges are folded to the back and stapled in place to the back of the canvas.  I sign the back of each canvas and name the quilt.  This one is called Zip Flower.
You can purchase one of these quilts at our ArtBox csa website (ArtBox csa has been closed).


Lisa Chin said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing how you made them. I love the batik'd polka dot fabric. Great idea!

Kathy York said...