Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tutorial: Silhouette Wall-Hanging

I am trying to fill some holes in my home decor on as small a budget as possible. Since I don't have any blank canvases on hand, I turned to a supply that I have plenty of--fabric! When I was looking for colors that would work in my guest bathroom, I found a scrap of pre-quilted fabric that I had left over from making crib bumpers. And so my silhouette wall-hanging was conceived.

1. Gather materials
The main items you'll need are:

  • Pre-quilted fabric--I used a piece that was 10" by the width of the fabric and folded it in half
  • Silhouette shape--more about that below
  • Solid fabric for silhouette 
  • Fabric to make binding or pre-made bias tape
  • Wonder Under or similar two-sided fusible interfacing (not shown in picture) 
You'll want to draw or find an image for your silhouette.  I googled "bird silhouette" and found lots of options.  I took bits and pieces that I liked from different pictures; you can see some of my inspiration in this post.   I sketched out the branch the way I wanted on a piece of tracing paper, and printed and traced the birds. If you don't find a silhouette you like, you can always just use the outline of a picture you do like.

Once you have your silhouette on paper, you'll want to check it on your background before you cut it out of fabric.

When I laid my pattern onto the background I realized I wanted to adjust the shape of the branch a little, so I cut a wedge so that I had a "hinge" that allowed me to reposition the end.

2.  Prepare your fabric
This is the fabric I used for the silhouette. It's left over from some pants I made myself, and I love the texture that it adds.

Cut a piece of Wonder Under (double sided fusible) the same size as your fabric.  Fuse as directed by the instructions that came with the Wonder Under.

Once the piece has cooled, peel the paper backing off.  You should be able to see & feel the fusible on the back.

Lay the pieces you want to cut out on your fusible backed fabric, right side up

Cut them out.  The piece on the right is flipped over to show the fusible on the wrong side.

3.  Fuse & sew your fabric onto the background
Place your silhouette on your background fabric, making sure it's right where you want it.  Fuse it in place (again, using the directions for your fusible).  You can see the space I left in the bottom left--that will be covered by the binding so my branch will actually go all the way to the edge.

Select what type of stitch you'll use.  I used a small zigzag stitch since my silhouette is rather thin and pointy in some parts.  You may choose to use a larger zigzag, depending on your silhouette, or a blanket or satin stitch if your machine has them.

I recommend testing on a scrap first--just sew some scraps and make sure your tension is correct--you don't want to have to unpick teeny zigzags!

If you're using one long piece like I am, make sure you stitch through the front layer only.  We don't want to see our silhouette outline on the backside.

Here's one way to approach an inside corner--like the beak--using a zigzag stitch.  I'll be using two pivot points--one that is a stitch-length away from the tip of the beak (pivot point 1) and one that is right on the tip (pivot point two). Since the edge of the fabric is to my right when I'm sewing, the stitches actually go from right to left in all the following pictures.

Sew until you get near the corner. You'll want to stop with the needle down at pivot point 1.

Lift the presser foot, and turn your project slightly so that the next stitch will fall in pivot point 2.  Lower your presser foot and sew one stitch, stopping with the needle down in pivot point 2.

Now you'll want to lift your presser foot and pivot your project so that the next stitch will fall back at pivot point 1 (it will be sewn right on top of the last stitch).  Lower your presser foot and sew one stitch, stopping with the needle down in pivot point 1.  In the illustration below, I showed this last stitch in red, so you could see that there are two stitches in the same place now.

Now, you'll want to pivot one last time, turning your project so you can continue zigzagging as normal.  The next stitch should fall right on the edge of the applique fabric, and the result will look something like this:

For an angle greater than 90 degrees you'll want to pivot as well, but will only need to do so right at the corner.  In the following picture, I stitched until I got to the pivot point (the red dot), then I left the needle down at the pivot point, lifting the presser foot up and turning my project so that the next stitches would follow along my shape. 

It's not nearly as complicated as it sounds and I think you'll find machine applique to be a lot of fun if you've never tried it before.

4.  Bind and finish your wallhanging
Next, I bound my wall-hanging.  The method you use to hang your wall-hanging will dictate whether you do things in a different order.  I chose to sew some rings on the back (a method I found here) to hang my quilt, and those don't get attached until everything else is finished.

I cut the bias strip for the binding using the bias tape tutorial from Cole's Corner and Creations.  Did you know you can make 5 yards from a fat quarter?  I used this awesome tutorial from Jaybird Quilts to apply the binding and enjoyed it so much more than attaching bias tape  (I never knew there was a difference).

Now attach the rings on the back.  I used two, since my piece is a bit long.  You'll want to sew them equal distances from the top, so that the wall-hanging will hang straight.  (Don't worry, though.  If they're a little crooked, you can always make up for it by putting the nails in your wall a little crooked :) )

And that's it!  I hope this project inspires you to create some fabric art for your home.

1 comment:

  1. Great tutorial! I love using up items on hand...I feel so proud :-)


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