Thursday, July 28, 2016

Process - Lady Feather

Despite the heat, I have been working (and sweating) on Lady Feather. I have been taking my time getting things right. I am about to begin the stitching on her body and I just got a brand new bottle of deColourant for using on her nest. I may work on that Friday out on the deck with my respirator, which is oh so much fun to use on a hot day. I will walk you through what has happened the past few weeks.

My first step to creating her was to prepare a piece of lightweight muslin by backing it with Wonder Under 805, leaving the paper backing in place. I then traced the outline of Lady Feather onto the muslin top with a peach Fabrico fabric marker.

I started the long and drawn out process of selecting the fabrics. No matter how much I plan to have just the right ones to pull from, I end up looking for something else through my stash and my baskets of prepared scraps. Here I am cutting out her face and neck from a base fabric of pinks, whites and golds with a touch of lavender thrown in for good measure.

The photo makes it look a bit more orange than it is. Here is the piece I finally cut and ironed down onto the muslin. Then I worked to create some shadows on her face. I use my markers carefully to direct where the eyes, nose and mouth will go.

This is my first attempt at getting the shadows on her face. I ended up changing color on her lips and recutting the shadow on the right side of her cheek. All of this takes hours and even days to cut, place, and recut over and over. Sometimes I just have to live with some colors a day or two before deciding whether to keep them or change them.

I filled in the eyes, changed the mouth color, which really needs much more definition from stitching, defined the shadows going from her neck through her left arm and laid down broad areas of color for the upper arms. I have wanted to use the feather batik since I first came up with this idea for a "bird lady." Above it became the base of her top. Sheer, blue silk organza helps to define shadow on the top and I laid down a few feathers to give an idea of how it will all come together visually.

The feathers will get tacked on after the body has it's quilting stitches done with one variable width satin rib down the middle of each feather as it connects to the leather strap necklace which will be couched onto her neck. 

She is a blond. Her hair will peek from beneath her nest. Here I have included a piece of tissue outlined in pencil showing where her owl mask will cover her face.

The forearms and hands have been completed. The left arm will settle down with stitching onto the background. But the right arm will have to wait until all the other pieces, including feathers, mask and a bird are sewn in and it will get set in on top with a bit of extra padding.

My next post will continue the process with a glimpse of how the stitching is coming on her body and my process of using discharge on the nest, complete with a respirator selfie. True to my word, the butterfly quilt (Apollo) background has begun on my other summer piece. But I am keeping that one under wraps for now. There is just not enough time in a day!


  1. Oh, Nancy. I so love reading about your process. I always love your choice of colors. She will be beautiful!

  2. Thank you Judy. I am working towards getting her finished and photographed for Quilt National. Wish me luck!