Introduction: Fabric Portrait of a Horse Quilt Block

About: I am married and retired. Since 1990 my main artform was quilting, but in the past three years I discovered gourd art and that has become my new love. Besides quilting and gourd art, I play mountain dulcimer…

This shows the steps I went through to assemble an applique quilt block of a horse head for a friend.

Step 1: Print the Pattern

I printed out the original photo after using photoshop to separate colors and shapes and cut it out to help choose background fabric.

This instructable shows the process I used in photoshop on a similar project:

Step 2: Trace the Shapes on Tracing Paper and Choose Fabrics

This shows the lines drawn to separate the shapes so they can be traced. Each pieced is numbered and given a letter that corresponds to the fabric for that piece. I glued snips of each fabric on the size to keep track.

Step 3: Line Fabrics Up on Pattern

I use deli paper or tracing paper to trace the pattern to help with placing the pieces on the background. I lay the tracing paper on top and line of the fabric piece under it make sure I get it in the right place. I also keep pieces pinned to it until I'm ready to attach them.

Step 4: Test Fabric Layout

Here are the pieces laid out to see how they work together before I start basting.

Step 5: Baste the First Pieces to Background

Here are the first pieces basted and ready to appliqué. I use a large needle and heavy thread to baste on the stitching line. This makes it easier to turn the edges under using the tip of the needle.

Step 6: First Pieces Appliqued and Next Group Basted

The first pieces are stitched down and the next are pinned and ready to baste.

Step 7: Making Adjustments

The second group is stitched, but at this point I realized I had either cut something too small or didn't place it exactly right and there was a gap above the dark shadow piece near the mane.

Step 8: More Adjustments

I chose a new fabric after looking at the photo and seeing there was a dark ring around the eyes and added that to both eyes and it covered the gap easily. Now to stitch them down.

Step 9: Almost Finished!

Getting ready to add the final pieces and will be finished!

Step 10: Finished!

And here is the finished product. It's fun choosing the fabrics as you have to look at the prints differently. The eyes were actually knot holes in a woodgrain print. Look for batiks, marbles, even some florals will work. Don't be afraid to use the wrong side of the fabrics as well.

Step 11: Side by Side View

Yes, the shadows on the block are darker than the original picture, but they add more depth and interest. I used fabrics out of my stash, but I might have been able to match the colors more closely had I shopped specifically for this project. It may not be a perfect copy of the photo, but it catches the spirit of the horse. remember, you are creating art, so it is open to your interpretation.

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