In this three part series by Terry McFeely, the inventor of Terial Magic fabric stabilizer, you'll learn how she simplified the techniques of innovative quilt designer, Donna Greenwald. Using Terial Magic, you can do thread painting, too.
After a class with Donna Greenwald, Terry became positively obsessed with thread painting. In this blog series she'll share the tips she learned and how Terial Magic can simplify thread painting techniques. Needless to say, it's quite the experience to learn from such an innovative quilt designer such as Donna.
Known for converting photos into amazing thread painted quilts, Donna uses variegated threads, tulle, pens, beads, fabric and so much more. Take a look at Donna’s work below and follow along with Terry as she practices thread painting poppies.
You may have noticed that Donna’s elaborate thread painting has the appearance of an intricate tapestry. The thread painted details are exquisite! Now you can learn Donna's basics in this blog post.
Step 1: Tracing the Petals
I chose one of Donna’s three poppy patterns (offered in classes only). I started by tracing the petals (using a black sharpie) for each of the flower petals, on to one side of a double side fusible, like Soft Fuse.
I treated all my flower fabric with Terial Magic which made the cutting easier and kept the edges from fraying.
Click here to learn how to apply Terial Magic, if you aren't already familiar with it.
Step 2: Tracing and Cutting the Petals
I started by tracing the petals (using a black sharpie) for each of the flower petals, on to one side of a double side fusible, like Soft Fuse. I treated all my flower fabric with Terial Magic which made the cutting easier and kept the edges from fraying.
I then place the traced Soft Fuse to the wrong side of the fabric and press. Then cut out all traced petals.
Step 3: Shading with Copic Markers
I used grey Copic Markers to add shadow to the outer petals, emphasizing the natural creases.
Step 4: Pressing Petals into Place
I then use Donna’s pattern template to arrange the petals and lightly press to set all the petals in place. Place flower on top of a square of Tear-Away stabilizer sheet.
Step 5: Begin Thread Painting
Use the free motion foot for thread painting and gently move/guide the flower around with your fingertips as the sewing machine needle stitches. Donna had us use black tulle to add shading to our flowers. I used a smoke colored monofilament thread to stitch down the tulle.
Then I switched to a multi colored 40 wt. thread to begin the thread painting. Donna taught us to thread paint in a sweeping motion always towards the flower center, to keep it realistic. A variegated thread is perfect to add the color drama to the petals. Black was used for the fun petal edge feathering, as seen below. Once my first flower thread painting was finished I used sequins beneath the beads to give more sparkle and dimension.
Some of the other class members worked on irises, the other choice for the class. They used purple tulle, and some sparkle tulle for more bling.
Just getting started...
Learning thread painting with Donna is so inspiring, especially with so many other creatives in class. If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out part 2 as I continue work on this fun quilt. I use my electronic cutter for the leaves and I am using Donna’s fabric weave technique for my background. Thread painting is crazy fun!