Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From Photo to Fabric

I took this picture of sunflowers several summers ago in Montana.  I love the simplicity of the arrangement with the sun shining from behind.  My mom is to blame for my obsession with wildflowers.  Originally, I took photographs of wildflowers only when she asked me to on the occasion that her point and shoot camera could not focus in on a particular subject.  After a while, I soon began to see the beauty of the wildflowers and found I couldn't get enough.  Our hikes took longer and longer as we did more photographing than hiking.

Today I tried to reproduce that photograph in a quilt.  I have been planning and researching and mulling over this project for years.  My original and easiest idea was to print the photograph on those prepared fabric sheets.  I have used them before but am not fond on the stiffness of the "fabric".  So I went a different and more time consuming route.   I roughly traced the sunflowers onto tracing paper and placed the paper on the fabrics I chose for the background.  I would have liked this to be a larger size quilt, but this is the biggest size photo paper I have on hand.

Here it is with just a few of the sunflower fabrics placed on the foundation.  I really wasn't sure what I was doing at this point, but I just kept going.  I was determined this would not end up in the trash like yesterday's project.

Shown below is the final placement of fabrics.  I am quite pleased with the result.  Especially considering this is my first attempt at this type of project.  The next step is to "thread paint" details onto the quilt to show movement, shading and dimension.  I am intimidated by that step but excited as well.  This type of project has been on my list of things to do for quite some time, and I am so thrilled that I finally got this far.  The possibilities are endless .... especially with the quantity of pictures I take ;-)))

I would love to know your thoughts on this.  Also, do y'all have any pointers, suggestions, experiences, etc. regarding printing on fabric?  I have researched this and all I can find is to either use the prepared fabric sheets, prepare your own sheets or have your design custom printed which I would not mind but the only places I have found are very expensive and require a huge minimum yardage.  I look forward to hearing what you have to say on this subject.



  1. From a professional level I am not able to comment, you are so beyond anything I have ever even thought about attempting. WOW, that is stunning. Good Luck with the thread painting, I'll be eager to see how that goes.

    I've been thinking of upgrading my camera. I can tell a big difference between the pictures on my blog and the blogs where the folks know how to use a camera. I just have a Cannon point and shoot. I was thinking of getting the Nikon D90, that Pioneer Woman really likes her Nikon D80. What do you use?

  2. Holy crow, woman, that is stunning! I have ZERO experience with printing on fabric, and my sewing/quilting experience is maybe +1 of that. You just keep on doing what you're doing :)

    I also have a pretty standard point and shoot digital camera...I'm finding that the pictures I'm taking of my blocks/projects aren't really as representative of my work as I'd like...Maybe a new camera for xmas from my hubby is in order!

  3. hey there - love it love it love it! I'd like to see the panel in process...will you applique the petals and stuff down?

  4. No clue on the technical side...but I love the flowers! You did an awesome job and are braver than I...I have thought of this too, but have been too intimidated. You've encouraged me to give it a go and the tip about tracing the photo helps a lot! Thanks!