Monday, March 24, 2008

What I Did on Easter Afternoon

I decided to spend Easter afternoon or about four hours of it being creative. Having a deadline really helps me suppress my anal-retentive (yes, it does have a hyphen) tendencies to make every corner match and try to do everything perfectly. I decreed that this project, one I've been wanting to do for quite a while, would be done in the afternoon. As it turned out, I had to do one last circuit of zigzag stitch after dinner, but that was only because my mom, who lives with us, sort of expects dinner at a certain time, and I was pushing up against it. Unfortunately, it occurred to me as I was working away that I hadn't done any "before" pictures, which made it easy to talk myself out of taking any "during" ones. I did take some "after" ones, though, so on with the story.

The project was based on one that ran in one of my favorite magazines, Quilting Arts, a while back. The idea was to do a drawing of your face, applique it in pieces onto a piece of fabric, and make a small quilt. I didn't want to put it on a quilt, though; I wanted to put it on the back of one of several denim jackets I bought at Goodwill for $3.50 each. I'd had the jackets for almost a year, as well as a khaki miniskirt I bought at the same time planning to use it for the face. I did the drawing of myself last summer, at which point I hadn't started to grow my hair out. I didn't bother to change the drawing, though, since the idea was to do my face as more of a caricature than an accurate representation.

The first step was to ask my husband, who was going into his office, to make several copies of the drawing, so that I could cut them apart in different ways. While he was doing that, I assembled the materials and decided which jacket to use. (I put one of the jackets aside to do a discharge design on the back, which may well warrant a future post.) The second step was to think ahead about ordering the whole thing. I planned to use fusible web to adhere each piece to the one underneath it and then use my sewing machine to zigzag around the outside to accent the edges and keep them from fraying. For example, the blues of my eyes would have to go onto the whites of my eyes which then had to go onto my face.

Once I got the copies of the face back, I cut them up into various puzzle pieces. Fortunately, it occurred to me that since I'd be zigzagging around all the shapes on the face (nose, eyes, lips) I shouldn't put the fusible web on the back of the face to start with since sewing through it might gum up my not-cheap sewing machine. I thought about doing the face and neck as separate pieces so that the face would appear to sit out from the neck a bit, but decided that the quick and dirty way was okay. In other words, the chin line was just going to be stitched on in zigzag stitch. I did decide, though, that the nose should be a real piece of the same fabric as the face, appliqued on and stitched around to give it some real definition. It was fun to try to come up with colors for the blue of my eyes, the pink of my lips, and the blond of my hair. The hair, especially, is a bit of a caricature; my hair, while naturally blond, has never been the shade of gold I used. And although the drawing shows me in the glasses I wear all the time, I decided that adding them to the fabric me would be too difficult. I might try to add them, though, if I repeat the project on another jacket or in a quilt.

So, here's the finished result on the jacket as well as a bit closer up since you can't really see the nose on the jacket image. If you're curious about any of the how-to that I didn't elaborate on above, just ask! I'd be glad to share. It was a fun way to spend an Easter afternoon, and the type of project I could see myself doing again.


Debi said...

Oh Jean--that is just so fun! I love it! And I stand by my earlier are truly amazing!

word.spinner said...

Hey Jean! (Rachael) It reminds me of those masks the Bengal people wear on the back of their heads so the tigers (who attack from behind, apparently) won't get them...but probably much more comfortable.

Rich said...

You didn't catapult anything across the road for Easter? I'd love to hear more about your mail box removal sometime. I'd like to see Annie and Debi work on a catapult for homeschool. I think you were bang on about the Stevens deviant gene.