Sunday, April 22, 2018

Diamond Girl--post 1 of 4

Jeans saved for the project.
The guild challenge this year was to up cycle denim jeans into a quilt. The challenge had a cute name . . .inJEANious  Up-cycling. The rules were that the top of the quilt had to be made from 100 percent recycled denim fabric and preferably blue denim. Beads, buttons, ribbons and lace could be used. Any fabric could be the backing and the binding. It had to be three layers and quilted.

The drawing that became the doll pattern
I had a few pairs of jeans on hand. One pair has been my "parts" when I've needed to make repairs in other jeans or to patch other clothing. Although it was the lightest pair, it had the least amount of available fabric!

After several months, I came up with an idea. Paper dolls, the TV show the Mod Squad and the song Diamond Girl were all part of the inspiration! I drew a quick sketch. Then later, I drew two more detailed sketches. Finally, I drew a full size sketch. I probably spent six hours in this drawing phase.

To be honest, I googled figures from the posterior. Looking at different artist's drawings helped me with the proportions on my drawing. I decided my girl would be featured from the rear because I thought facial features would be too hard! With each drawing, the girl took on more realistic features. I even decided that the arms I drew were okay!
Bell bottom embellishment
After I had my drawing, it was time to work on the background. I happened to have in my jean fabric stash a rectangle that was left over from a pair of my brother's pants back in the 70s. This pair of jeans was pieced denim fabric.

I added a dark piece of denim at the top because I planned to make the blue jeans out of dark fabric. The dark blue in the background would balance the design. I used the leg of the lightest pair of jeans to anchor the bottom of the background. I had in mind to make the background irregular and when I had the design on the wall, it reminded me of a skirt! Back in the day, jean skirts were popular. I liked the irregular shape at the bottom of the background. I decided I would keep the shape as well as save the raw exposed seam.

Lace top for the figure

Once I had the background stitched, I cut the main piece of the jeans because I wanted to be sure that I would be able to get them out of one piece of fabric. My "fabric" jeans were well worn; the fabric was thin and the fabric was faded. Finding an area large enough for the main jeans was a challenge! The fabric was thin enough to be able to hand applique to the background. I decided that I would construct the girl and then applique her to the background.

Figure appliqu├ęd to the background
I pieced the bell bottoms next and then couched metallic cording to the seams and followed with a decorative machine stitch. I liked the effect. I did make a parchment paper pattern from my drawing; but, found that freezer paper worked much better! With all the decorative stitching and cording, you wouldn't know that the bottom of the bell bottoms were pieced in five or six sections!

For the body of the girl, I used the wrong side of the lightest denim fabric. I painted a thin base coat of white acrylic paint. I have a few metallic paints so I applied a coat of champagne followed by a mixture of brown, red, gold and more champagne! Again, I used a light hand as I didn't want her to be hard and crispy when she was dry! I was excited that I was able to achieve a "skin" shade with all that paint mixing! . . .Better yet, I had FUN playing with the paint!

Fabrics selected for the backing
During the next sewing session, I concentrated on adding the details to the jeans. The pockets were tough because they are small and trying to topstitch a piece that small wasn't easy either! As I worked, I refined the lace top. I decided that I liked the look of less skin showing approach. The lace was what was leftover from altering the hem of Miss J's dress. It was just the right amount!

I did heat set the painted skin area. I pinned the figure to the background so I could applique it. Stitching the painted fabric was difficult. I was glad that I hadn't painted in the seam allowance on most of the outer edge as it was easier to stitch where it was paint free.

The space at the lower edge of the project seemed to want something. . .maybe a phrase. . .while I thought about options, I picked fabrics from the stash for the back. Yes, I planned to piece the back even though it was a small project. There was  enough of the rose fabric for the sleeve. Life was good! These pieces represent about a 1/2 yard of fabric used from my stash. I chose these colors because I remember one of my favorite outfits from the 70s was a lime green polyester jacket with navy trim. I also remember big prints were part of that era too!


Janice Smith said...

Wow, Terry, this is so clever!

Nancy said...

It turned out incredible!! said...

Thanks, Janice. It was a project that stretched me in ways I didn't know I could stretch! :) said...

Thanks, Nancy. It was a project that was way outside my comfortable box of skills. I learned loads and hey, I even did a little drawing!!!

Anonymous said...

What's your plan for her hair? Can't quite understand how you are working in the brightly colored fabrics; can't wait to see the piece materialize. Fun, fun . . . . Gail G said...

Gail, Her hair was a challenge! In the end, it was not as difficult as I had thought it would be. Stay tuned for that solution! Those brightly colored fabrics are the quilt back. You know me. . .using up bits to piece a back just because I think it makes the piece more interesting! Thanks for your comment!

Chsterbee said...

Wow! Amazing!! Beautiful workmanship. This piece is truly inspirational. You did an awesome job on it. I can't wait to see the finished quilt. said...

Thanks so much for your kind comment and for taking the time to leave it! Stay tuned to post two which will be up on Wednesday!