Got Quilting Scraps ? Create Portraits for Fun!

Hello Everybody!

It’s been hectic here since early July and this is the main reason:

This is Bean (a Khaki Campbell) on the left and Angel (a Runner duck) on the right.

They are quite a bit bigger now but still need around the clock care and are not ready to go outside permanently until they are fully feathered. My previous ducklings were hatched in May but, because of Covid, these were hatched two months later when it was safer to go and collect them from the breeder. This means that they are facing cold weather before they are ready. Two to four weeks more and they should be have all the feathers they need to protect them and some decent sized wings. In the interim period they will have some playtimes outside for an hour or two when there is a bit of sunshine.

Bean is feathering up nicely while Angel is beginning to lose her yellow chick fluff and turning white.

I have a post on the American Schoolhouse in the pipeline but there is more sewing to do before it’s ready so, in the meantime, here is an idea for using some of your EPP scraps.

Begin by drawing a face with a soft coloured pencil or fineliner pen. I know that some of you will be saying “oh no, I can’t draw” (trust me, you can draw a simple face). It doesn’t have to be realistic, it can be a few lines, an abstract face if you like, and of course you can use a printed template of a face, dog, cat or armchair if you prefer, or even create your own quilting pattern. The point is to have fun and use up some fabric scraps at the same time.

I have been putting together a series of portraits over the last few days for my textile course and while I was choosing fabric scraps from my stash to create them, it occurred to me that this might be a great idea for quilters to try. We all have plenty of fabric scraps to spare, right?

So begin by drawing a rough face. Draw a large oval for the face, another oval for one eye, an eyebrow above the eye that extends into a straight line for the nose. Add a bow shape or straight line for the mouth, with a smaller straight line under it, like this. You can do this.

Add a second eye, and if you are worried that you can’t make them the same, stick a fabric patch over it, like this one:

Add some squiggles for hair like the ones above, or spikes like the one below. Add an ear or two.

Now you have a face. Begin decorating it with scraps of fabric or paper. Add cheeks, eye colour, eyebrows, lips, shadows, a scarf, earrings, whatever you like. It doesn’t have to look real. It’s a playful portrait. Think Picasso if you want to.

When you have finished adding fabric scraps, you can stitch over your portrait to add more depth of colour and texture. Simple running stitches and back stitches work, as well as stem stitch and chain stitch.

Try a whole series of different portraits, like I did. Try different looks. Add glasses:

Tissue paper for the glasses and clothing neckline. Stem and straight stitches for the hair.

Add a hat or a cap. Try faces from different parts of the world:

Three layers of fabric for the cap, green organza over one eye. French knots for earrings.

Try people of different ages:

A spotted paper bag for the hat, textured fabric for the lips, variegated grey/black/white embroidery thread for the hair.

Fantasy people:

Flowers cut from wrapping paper, Treasure Gold gilding on the body.

Or an exaggerated Selfie!

Straight stitch and colour pencil for the hair. Celtic patterned fabric for the ‘hat’

These A5 portraits have been done on handmade paper (Khadi paper) because it can be sewn through well, like fabric, but you can do the same thing on a fabric background. You can add fabric to paper and paper (as well as fabric) to fabric. Try both. Torn paper (tissue paper, old envelopes, patterned wrapping paper) and cut fabric (organza, cotton, thin textured fabrics etc) give different results and both can be either glued on, or stitched down. You can add water colour tints to the faces as I have, or try water soluble crayons, coloured pencils or even inks. Enjoy!

Until next time……