Monday, April 25, 2016

Fabric tree collages

A while ago I had made a layered piece with gelli printed interfacing as a top layer, which I then melted portions away.  You can see that post here.

I thought I would try this with a tree image I have been working on, and use free-motion stitching instead of hand embroidery. Here you can see the different components. I have a painted canvas for the background. The leaf canopy and tree were fabrics I painted in a Jason Pollen workshop a few weeks ago. The interfacing layer is a gelli print I made a while ago. I used fusible web to iron down the yellow tree canopy fabric. I won't iron down the tree trunk until I have finished with the interfacing layer. 

When I put the interfacing over the yellow fabric, I am pretty sad that my painted fabric is pretty much hidden. Next time I would probably just grab a fabric from my stash and not use something I hand painted.  I then took this "sandwich" to my sewing machine and free-motion stitched on it.

What I learned as I went along:
  1. The interfacing melts a lot better if the free-motion stitching is fairly open. Tight stitching really prevents it from melting.
  2. If I cut slits in the interfacing where I want it to melt away, it does help. I just used a seam ripper. I wanted to make sure it melted where I have sky openings in the tree canopy.
  3. Sew right along the outside edge if you don't want the background fabric visible around all the edges. 
  4. Use lightweight interfacing. The heavy stuff does not like to melt and is some places the edges looked light brown/slightly toasted. 
Remember to always work in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask to block any fumes.

As you can see I played tree trunk swap and decided to use this magenta/purple one instead of the red one shown in the previous picture, since the gelli-printed interfacing had a touch of purple.

And here are a bunch more. This one has the heavy interfacing.

I did free-motion stitch around the trees and branches after I ironed the tree trucks down.  I really like the following two where I used colorful thread for this, instead of dark gray.

This one was the first one I stitched the interfacing on. I did the stitching very close together, so the interfacing did not melt much.

I love how they turned out, although there were a lot of steps and work involved.  I did use my Scan'n'cut to cut the tree canopies, but hand cut the tree trunks. These are roughly 8" x 10". I think I will work on a larger one next!


  1. Pretty darn cool. I enjoyed seeing the progression of using different fabrics and colors.

  2. I am working on a larger one, but am using fabric snippets, wool roving, etc for the leaf canopy, which I will free motion stitch to hold all the bits in place.