Quilt Portrait in the Making

Now the show is over I can post some photos of my TV girl (title '...the World was Black and White')  and give some basic instructions on how to transform a photograph into a fabric picture.

1. Choose a photograph that has plenty of contrast and is of high quality and reduce it to a small number of layers (colours) using a photo editing programme (even basic programmes will have the option of reducing an image down to 4 layers - I used 8 for TV girl). This will simplify the image. Remember to crop the image as desired.

2. To enlarge the image upload it to blockposters.com (a free website). This will prepare the image into a multiple of A4 sheets to download ready to print out (this will be the master image). You will also need to enlarge a reverse image in the same way to use as a tracing pattern. 

3. Trace the design onto a clear plastic sheet (table cover or art shop acetate) using a permanent marker. This will be a placement guide.

4. To prepare the work surface lay out a thick towel covered with the background fabric (I used white). Lay the plastic over the top and pin to the background through the towel to avoid shifting.
Lay the reverse image to the side with enough space for tracing the shapes onto Vliesofix. Keep the master image nearby for reference.

5. Trace each shape onto vliesofix using the reverse image and iron onto the chosen fabrics with a HOT iron (vliesofix needs a hot, dry iron). Apply each piece onto the background fabric, lifting the plastic sheet to slide the piece under, checking that the placement is correct before ironing in place. Remember that some pieces lay partially underneath another.

6. As you build up the fabric picture check that it resembles the master image. It's interesting to see how the picture develops as you build up the layers.

7. Once all the pieces are ironed in position, stitch down using raw edge applique, add borders and quilt!