Sewing With Nancy – How to Sew Art, Part 2

Today onSewing With Nancy
we continue with the mini series
of “How to Sew Art” starting with a photo,
choosing fabric and then following
steps to turn a common digital image
into great wall art. Welcome back
Tammie Bowser who is really an innovator
in this industry. She’ll show us
how to transform basic, ordinary batik fabric
into fine art. Tammie, it’s treat
to have you here. Nancy, during the first episode
we detailed how to use a digital image
from your camera to create
a pattern. In this second episode
the magic happens cutting and adding the fabric,
plus stitching the design. “How to Sew Art” That’s what’s coming next
onSewing with Nancy.Sewing with NancyTV’s longest-airing
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is made possible by Baby Lock, a complete line
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is never black and white. Koala Studios fine sewing furniture
custom-built in America. Clover,
making a difference in sewing, quilting, crafting,
and needle arts for over 30 years. Amazing Designs
and Klassé needles. During the first episode
of “How to Sew Art” Tammie and I showed
how to create the pattern. The pattern we created
is going to make the picture
of her granddaddy. Now, we don’t expect our viewers
to do your granddaddy, right? Of course not. We have a free trial for them
of my software they can download
and do their own pictures. So you can put in
your own picture. We’re going to give you
a review of how we got to
where we are today but before that
let’s show you some others of the great works
of art that you’ve created. The Trombone is
one of my favorites. It is, it was actually
the first one when I came up with
this technique. That’s when I knew
I had something magical. And there are only how many
fabrics in that quilt? It says 12. 12 fabrics, it looks like 90,
don’t you think? But it’s not. And then The Trumpet
is not a person. Most of your designs
include people. This is an inanimate object,
and it’s striking. Yes, and what I like
about this one is that I had
a lot of background space which I usually
don’t have so I start playing around
with the stitching and texture. So that’s
really awesome. The bass player, the name
of that piece is “Joyful.” Yes, it’s “Joyful”
because you can see the joy
in his face. And it’s really awesome that
you can capture that emotion in the fabric. It’s amazing. So to work with any art design
with the batik fabrics you’re going to start
with an image. The granddaddy image
was one of his press shots when he was
an actor. Yes. And what
a fun shot. Let me get the glare
off of there. But it’s
a big image. Yes, it is
a big image. We learned how to
crop the image and just take
the most important part which is his face
and his shoulders and make
a nice portrait. Here you can see
how it’s been cropped. This is what Tammie
was talking about. At
you can get the software to play around with and then you adjust it
to make a pattern. Yes,
you adjust it by first of all you can crop
to whatever portion of the picture
you want and you can decide how many
fabrics you want to use. For this technique we use
somewhere between six and 12. And on the left side
of the software there’s a little nob
and you can– There’s a little slider
that will let you choose. And then you also smooth
those pixels out with the shape smoothing
slider. That will take away
all those little pieces and merge them
into bigger pieces. It’s really
fascinating. And then you hit
‘print’. For this instance
there were nine 8-1/2″ by 11″ sheets of paper
printed out. I’m just going to
show you where this falls
on the picture it’s in the upper
left-hand corner. I think you can kind of see
how the hair continues and the background
is there. And all those little dots
are numbers they’re numbers
one through six because you chose to have
six fabrics. You’ll see that
in a minute. Then you tile this
together. Yes, and you’ll notice
it says rows and columns. It has a little numbers
for the rows and columns right on top. That’s to help you
put it in order tape it back together
the right way. Doesn’t it
look fun? Like a cross-stitch but it’s going to be
a lot faster. And then, if you watch
the first program at,
if you missed it you’ll see how to create a
fusible web and parchment paper. And then, Tammie,
you’ve kind of smoothed– Excuse me, smoothed out
some of the lines. Yes. We were able to determine,
since we’re going to simplify that background,
we found the edge of his hair
and his shoulder so that we can make this
one big piece and simplify and make it
simple. Then the fabrics,
Tammie has a great way of
auditioning fabrics so that you get six fabrics,
light to dark and they aren’t going to be
all mediums and all lights. They’re going to be
light to dark. And we auditioned and we used
this value isolation tool. You can see
clearly if the fabrics
are lighter or darker by just comparing them
when you– It’s like going to
the optometrist and saying do you like A or B?
B or C? Exactly. So we’re giving you
the little condensed version of how we got to
where we are right now but this is
where we ended up in our first
episode. Now we’ll set up the table
to start making new magic. In addition to printing out
the tile pattern the computer program
will also print out this value chart
of one through six light to dark. You can see that Tammie
has attached the six fabrics that coincide
with the numbers. That’s what’s going to
work with the pattern. So you’re going to work
with fabric number five I’m going to work
with fabric number one. First of all, let Tammie
show you how this works. This is
quite phenomenal. Remember, we found
in the first episode I showed you
how to put together this sandwich
of fusible web. It starts with a layer
of parchment paper and then we have a layer
of fusible web that has been sprayed
with basting spray. So it’s sticky. That’s important, because it
holds the fabric in place and we’ll never
cut this. Then there’s the pattern
underneath. You can see right through
the parchment paper and right through
the web to see the pattern
right through it. So you’re going to start
from the outer edge and trace a piece
around your– Yes. You start from
the edge. I’m using a red pen so that
you can see what I’m doing. You just trace
the first piece. And this is fabric
number five. Then you peel
the paper back. Remember, you never, ever
cut this web. It’s what’s going to hold
all the pieces together. I’m cutting the– I’m pulling back
the paper. It’ll be easier
to do when you’re not doing it
upside down, right? Yeah. It’s easy
to do. I’ll move over here
a little bit. And you don’t have to be
super exact. I mean, you follow
the numbers but if you go off the line
a little bit– I’ll do it up this way
so I can see. Just cut it off
and it’ll be fine. What if we tilted it
this way? Yeah, looking at it
backwards too works. Yeah, there you go. Yeah, perfect. And since this piece
is a little bit big I put it on, this is fabric
number five. You can see that it’s
fabric number five there. I use a couple of
straight pins to pin it right
to the paper. This paper becomes
my pattern piece. I’m just putting in a few pins
so it doesn’t move. This becomes really important
when you have a piece that’s– This one is a pretty easy shape,
kind of a rectangle. But if it’s
a really weird shape you just put more pins
to keep it from moving around. Yeah, so you can get the curves
and the contours that are there. If it’s a really
strange shape you want to make sure
you maintain that shape. Then you just cut
around the edge leaving 1/8″ or 1/16″,
just slightly bigger. Again, you don’t have to
stress out or be too worried about
getting it wrong. There’s almost no way
to get it wrong. We’ve done all
the prep already so it’s pretty guaranteed
to be right. And you know, Tammie’s
a really laid back person and she takes it
one step at a time. I saw this whole thing
and I thought how am I going to
get it all done? Well, you just take it
a little bit at a time and really you can
accomplish a lot. After she gets this cut out
then it will stick to the tacky part
of the fusible web. We’re almost
there. It’s one big chunk of fabric
that’s done. There we go. That’s the piece. We take
the pins out. You have
right sides up. Yup, right-side up. You don’t have to
remember to do some turning of something
upside down. And then the paper
becomes trash. Then you put the fabric
right in that spot. You know exactly where it goes
because– And it sticks. It sticks. Now in this
opposite corner I’ve traced out
one section. They were almost all
number ones. This is
of his collar. Then I can place that
right here. And you’re not
having it exact. An 1/8″, 1/16″ of an inch
or whatever we can lift this up
a little bit so we get it
on the webbing. But you can see how that
positions into place. Then you could
do a big section of his shirt collar
over here and just keep cutting
and marking. Let’s go to
the other one and show them how to cut
a small piece. Because, you know, you might
guess, we have a sample. Of course. We kept going,
didn’t want to make you wait. So you can see how
the magic is happening piece by piece
by piece. But when you get
into the face you keep a lot of
the detail. You don’t make big collars
or whatever. Yeah, you keep
all the detail and another thing,
if there’s a bunch of little pieces
that are the same number and they’re lined up
next to each other you can group them together,
make it one bigger piece. Let me see if I can
show you. See, right here
it might look like there’s a bunch of
little pieces but really
it’s one big piece. So you just make that
one piece cut it out. Here’s a number five
that’s been cut out. You’d stick it on the fabric
as Tammie’s going to do. There you really
don’t even have to– It’s small, so you can just hold
it with your finger. With the big one
I wanted to show you how to do a big one
and use the pins. Or if it’s small,
like this one you could just hold it
with your fingers. Okay. And I’m just cutting it
slightly bigger. And work on it a little bit
at a time. You don’t have to do it
all in one sitting. Nope. This is something that you do
while you’re relaxing. If you’re normally
a little high-strung and stress
yourself out this is a time when you learn
to take it easy and relax and follow
the plan. Just add
piece by piece. I hope you can see how the
process is done on this quilt. The next thing
we do after filling in
all the images is to do
the stitching. After all
the pieces have been positioned
on the fusible web it’s time to separate
the fusible web from the paper
backing. Now, I know, we didn’t
get this all completed. But I know
Tammie will finish that after
the taping of the program. Here you can see
that we can just peel away
the paper backing. Or excuse me,
the web from the pattern. Then, Tammie,
on the design that you’re going to do
the stitching you’ve already backed it with
batting and backing fabric. Yes. After peeling off
that pattern off the back I just put
the whole webbing and the fabric
that’s attached right on top of the batting
and iron it down. You fuse it in place
so it doesn’t move. Now the stitching is going to be
free-motion stitching so you’re going to
lower the feed dogs drop them or cover them
depending upon your machine. Place a quilting,
a free motion foot on you machine,
and then choose threads. These are variegated
threads much like the batik fabrics
we worked with. Choose variegated threads
in light, medium and dark and do a little auditioning
before you do the stitching. Let me peel this back
to show you. In this corner we have
a medium color. Just unwind
some of the threads lay it on the fabric
to see if it blends. You don’t want to change
the value of the fabric you just want to
enhance it. So use the variegated
thread. Cotton works really well
for this instance. Then you’re going to
let some of the magic happen to liven up the fabric
that hasn’t been stitched. Okay. When you start
stitching I have a medium here
so I’m going to stitch on this medium
fabric. I’ll pick an area
and just surround it. That’s how, in the quilt
of the granddaughters you see the girl’s face
in the back because I followed
the shapes. That made the picture show up
in the thread too. I’ll start off by
encircling the outside and then I kind of scribble
or do some sort of repeating shape
on the inside of that
outlined area. I also like doing
little circles too. I’ll show you that
in just a second. After you keep each section
you might even do a different
design. At the end it looks like you did
a whole lot of fancy things but really it feels
like you’re doodling. There’s nothing wrong with
doodling. No, I like doodling,
myself. So I did that
whole little section just that quick. My suggestion, if you’re
nervous about free motion just practice
for a little while and get comfortable
with your machine. Make yourself
comfortable and whatever you do
just do a lot of it. If you have
a little crooked line and you just have one
crooked line it’s just going to look
like a crooked line but if you have
100 of them it’s going to look like
you’re a genius. [laughter] And that
you are. Now Tammie mentioned
the granddaughters art quilt. Here you can
see it again. The image
of Avery and Luella cute little girls,
of course. Then I’d like to
show you how she
followed when doing
the stitching the image itself. Now here’s
a close-up. You get the whole image
further away but as you get closer up
you can see the detail of how she stippled
around the edges and then used different
colors of thread. And as we turn to
the wrong side you can see the face
come alive again. So not only
do you have an image
on the right side but you have an image
on the wrong side. So you can see,
you just follow the fabric that has been
cut out. Now
if we look at the image of
Duke Ellington this is really a pretty
amazing scene. There it is
on the right side and then,
Tammie you did some changes
with the bobbin thread. Yes, I changed
the bobbin thread with the top
thread and I was surprised
to turn it over and figure out
that the picture showed up in the thread
on the back. Not that you’re going to
see this but this is just kind of
a surprise image. It’s sort of a little
special surprise. But there’s more
than just stippling that you have embellished
with your quilts. Yes. Sometimes I like to add
a little bit of sparkle. Here’s some– Metallic fibers. Yeah, metallic fibers
are really beautiful and they come in
lots of colors. I picked this
nice dark one to go with
the flower. The way I use
it is just break off
a little bit and just
sprinkle it wherever I want
the sparkle. I’ll do that. And then I’ll just
do the free motion right on top and let the stitching
catch it. I’m going to do some
little spirals. The stitching just
holds it down. Here’s a finished image
of B.B. King. You’re uncle was
a professional photographer and did
this image. Here I have the image,
or the actual quilt and you
can see that the metallic
fibers have been added
in this area just a little glitz,
a touch of sparkle. It adds such interest
to this area. But you have to have
a little concern about that when pressing,
correct? Yes. It kind of melts,
so you don’t iron on it. That’s the very, very
last step before you do
the binding. It adds a lot of interest
and brings focus if you want something
to be the center of attention. Sure,
of course. Now speaking of binding,
you have about the simplest binding technique
I have ever seen. Yes. It’s okay
not to bind. To bind or
not to bind. Who needs
all those rules? You could just
not bind it. So on the granddaughters
quilt the edges have just been
cut and stitched. You could secure stitch
around the edge but that’s it. Then you could add
a sleeve to the back so it could be hung
in a very traditional way. So that’s
one way of really not
finishing it. This is a raw edge
appliqué. It’s okay to do this
very untraditionally. Then on the Duke Ellington
quilt you just stitched
a binding to the fabric and brought it to
the wrong side and hand stitched it
into place. So that you do not have
a traditional binding like we put on,
cut a strip 2-1/2″ and do all
fancy stitching. This just brings it
to the back stitch it,
and Wow. That’s it. It makes it clean– like a painting
with no edge at all. Tammie, I want to thank you
for your inspiration. I am going to create
one of these. You gave me the ways
of doing it. I know our audience will be
encouraged to do it too. Thanks for being
with us. Thank you. I’m pleased to have been
able to teach you today. And you too
can make art with all these
step by steps and enjoy
the process. When you think of
sewing or quilting I’m sure some of the first
thoughts, of course are fabric, needle and thread
that come to mind. Well, how about adding
the noun ‘song.’ With me today is folk artist, performer,
songwriter, Lil’ Rev who has a special
song in his heart for those of us
who sew and quilt. Welcome back to
Sewing With Nancy,
Rev. Yeah, it’s good
to be back. You know, we had
great comments the last time
you were on. It was fun
being serenaded. So here you are, back again
to sing some more of your historical songs
that include quilting. I’m going to start out
with one called “The Quilter’s Shanty.” If you can image,
oh, about 100 ladies at a quilting guild
singing along your viewers
can join us. Their part
will be to say “these hand are made
for quilting.” Okay, sing with me
so I’m not the only one. Okay, here we go. Here we go. ♪ ♪ ♪ Oh, hand me down ♪
♪ My needle and thread ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ I got crazy patterns ♪
♪ In my head ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ This string of cloth ♪
♪ Just makes me sing ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ Leftover scraps ♪
♪ Are a precious thing ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ Take 25 yards ♪
♪ Of a muslin cloth ♪ ♪ These hand are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ Cost so much more ♪
♪ Than I’ve got ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ Way back in 1933 ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ Squares and strips ♪
♪ Were all you’d see ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ So tell your friends ♪
♪ To think of me ♪ ♪ These hand are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ ♪ Before they toss ♪
♪ Those old blue jeans ♪ ♪ These hands are made ♪
♪ For quilting ♪ Well, Rev, this is fun
to sing along. This is the end of
our 33rd season onSewing With Nancyand I’ve never sung
onSewing With Nancybefore. What a great way
to end the season. You have another song
with your acoustic guitar. That’s right. I’m going to
do one called “They’ll Reap what you Sew”
S-E-W. Okay, got it. It goes a little something
like this. ♪ ♪ ♪ The bees ♪
♪ Outside were buzzin’ ♪ ♪ Like a needle ♪
♪ Turning thread ♪ ♪ The sweet caress of fiddles ♪
♪ Dance inside my head ♪ ♪ The acres stood ♪
♪ There stoic ♪ ♪ Like a patchwork quilt ♪
♪ So fine ♪ ♪ The harvest ♪
♪ Brought a rainbow ♪ ♪ ‘Twas a crazy ♪
♪ Quilt design ♪ ♪ Plant your seeds ♪
♪ On the ground ♪ ♪ You could hang ’em ♪
♪ On the wall ♪ ♪ Pass it on ♪
♪ And they’ll grow up strong ♪ ♪ Build things ♪
♪ That won’t fall ♪ ♪ When we go out ♪
♪ Reapin’ ♪ ♪ These seeds ♪
♪ We have sown ♪ ♪ Don’t think of ♪
♪ Just tomorrow ♪ ♪ For tomorrow ♪
♪ It’s come and gone ♪ ♪ Don’t think of ♪
♪ Just tomorrow ♪ ♪ For tomorrow ♪
♪ It’s but a song ♪ ♪ ♪ Well, Nancy,
if anything this song should also be
dedicated to you for all the years
you’ve inspired us and had the long
vision. Well, you’re sweet. That makes me
feel special. You give
presentations to guilds
around the country. Tell our viewers the name of
your song and dance routine. Songs like
this one– You’re not dancing,
I know. I’m not dancing this time,
not this time. Okay. The show is called
“Scraps of Quilting Music.” It’s a one-man show of history, song, lore,
humor and poetry on half a dozen
instruments or so. Mostly for museums,
quilting guilds and performing art
centers. What a great way,
I mean to put our
craft and art to combine your historical view
with music. I really enjoy
hearing you and being part of your
sing-along. Thank you. Sing a long
with Nancy! Well, thanks again,
Mark. As we take out the show why
don’t you strum a little along. You’ve got it. Okay. ♪ ♪ Well, if you enjoyed this
program ofSewing With Nancyyou can watch more online
at Or you can watch the first episode
and the second episode and a whole bunch
of other episodes ofSewing With Nancybut “How to Sew Art”
with Tammie. Also, if you click on
Nancy’s Corner you can connect with Rev
and all of our other Nancy’s Corner
guests. Thanks for joining us
onSewing With Nancy.Thank you, Rev,
for being with us. And as I end
all of my programs Bye for now. ♪ ♪ Tammie Bowser has
written the book “How to Sew Art” which is the reference
for this two-part series. The book includes core concepts
for making sewing art easy using the contoured pixel
technique. Each book come with
a free online video course
to guide you. It’s $21.99, plus shipping
and handling. To order the book,
call 1-800-336-8373 or visit our website at: Order
Item Number BK2825 To pay by check
or money order call the number
on the screen for details. Visit Nancy’s website at to see additional episodes,
Nancy’s blog, and more.Sewing with NancyTV’s longest airing
sewing and quilting program
with Nancy Zieman has been
brought to you by Baby Lock; Madeira Threads; Koala Studios; Clover; Amazing Designs
and Klassé Needles. Closed captioning funding
provided by Pellon.Sewing with Nancy
is a co-production
of Nancy Zieman Productions
and Wisconsin Public Television.