If you like to sew, chances are you've accumulated piles of fabric scraps and notions. Have some scrapbooking sundries tucked away in the closet? Maybe you even have a box or two under the bed filled with ephemera from your journeys. We're going to dust off those supplies and get them on the wall for you to enjoy!
Here are a few ideas you can use to get started:
-Make a keepsake quilt. If you're the type who saves ticket stubs, cookie fortunes, arcade tokens, and vending machine photos from the state fair, this is a great way to empty out the souvenir box and turn it into art.
-Choose an event or general theme. Don’t save every scrap of paper from your excursions, but want to commemorate an experience or event? Maybe you want to make a piece with “France” or “Summer” as a general topic. Jot down words or details about the memory or theme you want to turn into fabric art and look for paper, fabric and small found objects for those elements.
-Seek inspiration in your materials. Right now, I’m working on ArtProject2010.info, in which I’m making a new piece of art daily for a year, and let’s just say I don’t get a lightning strike of pure inspiration every day. One way to get the ball rolling is to look through the materials you have available to you and see if a pattern forms or an idea comes to you. This is the method I used in my example in this instructable.
Still need some inspiration? Check out some examples of mini art quilts I’ve made this year.
For this project, you’ll need:
• An old frame, preferably 8”x10” or smaller (don’t need the glass) and paint, if desired
• Scrap fabric, paper and odds & ends like buttons, tokens, rick rack, a few colors of thread
• Thin batting (or dryer lint)
• A sewing machine & pins
• Scissors, pen & a bit of masking tape
Step 1: Find an old frame & use it cut out your base fabric
*TIP* If your frame has glass, save it so you can use it as an inking plate for linocuts. Check out one of my other instructables, how anyone can make a linocut here.
Take your frame apart. There should be a cardboard insert & backing board (usually this is thicker cardboard that slides in or is held in with bendable metal tabs). Use the outside edge of the frame as a pattern for your base fabric. Trace around it on the back of your face fabric and cut out 2 pieces. These will be the front and back pieces of your quilt.
Use the inner cardboard insert to trace and cut out your batting. Use thin batting; it will be enough to give your finished piece texture when you do the top-stitch and will help it to fit into the frame.
If you don’t have large pieces of fabric to work with, you can sew multiple pieces together to create a bigger one. Remember that only the front piece needs to be the color you want to work with as the background of your ‘canvas’. No one will see the back piece since it will be in the frame.
These pieces will be larger than the space that will be visible in the frame, but we’ll trim it down later. This helps ensure that the unfinished edges don’t fall out of the frame without the glass to hold it in.
*TIP* If you don’t have any scrap fabric, consider using old/damaged pieces of clothing unsuitable for donating or old sheets. You can paint or stamp directly on to your fabric first (or dye it if it’s a natural fabric; look up recipes for vegetable dyes for some non-toxic options). Here’s a mini cityscape quilt I made by painting on to sheet fabric, then sewing on top of the painted fabric.
If you don’t have and don’t want to buy some batting, you might want to try using dryer lint. There are some how-tos on the interwebs for this one, but it is highly flammable, so be careful.