Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fun Skull Quiltie

I love the whole concept of the Mexican Dia de los muertos, or Day of the Dead. There are several great visually stimulating books on this subject and this one is my favourite. The bright colours, the cheerful thought that the dead return for the day to have a bit of a party with all kinds of gorgeous treats, it's so uplifting compared to the way we treat death here in Europe. I particularly love the bright, in your face colours of the sugar skulls made for this occasion, so it was only a small step to make such a skull in my own medium fabric.
Here's how:

I used a sugar skull stamp from Alpha Stamps. Stamp the skull onto a white piece of cardstock and enlarge it to the desired size (mine is 5" high) by either using the Enlarge settings on a copying machine or by scanning the stamped image into your computer and enlarging your image size. Print out a copy of the enlarged version on white paper. Once you have done this, adhere a piece of fabric (I used a bright hand-dyed one) over the skull image and tape it down securely. Then feed this paper back through the printer in the same way as before and your skull will be printed onto the fabric.

Layer the fabric with batting (wadding in UK) and muslin (calico in UK) and machine stitch along the black outline of the skull. Then it's time for hand stitching and embellishing. I used a variegated embroidery thread and a combination of straight and back stitching. If you're unsure of how to do these simple stitches consult a stitch book (check out the second hand book stores as stitches haven't changed over the years!). Add sequins, bugle and seed beads as shown. To attach these I used a beading thread (Silamide).

When you're happy with your decorated skull, cut away the batting (wadding) and muslin (calico) from the machine stitched line and leave a small amount (approx. 1/8" of the hand-dyed fabric.

Now make the background. Cut a piece of fabric (6 x 8"), layer with batting (wadding) and backing fabric and machine quilt. I followed the lines in my chosen fabric and used a toning variegated machine thread. When finished, add a binding of pink transparent ribbon.

Place the skull on top of the background, pin, and hand sew into place using buttonhole stitch. I used the same variegated thread as I used to decorate the skull. Also sew size 11 seed beads around the skull as shown. Add the text which reads: Just because you're dead does not mean you can't have fun. This was done on self-adhesive tape and a Dymo writer, and machine stitch in place, going around it several times. Add the pewter party hat (from Alpha Stamps) by sewing down with a seed bead and also glueing down using Diamond Glaze, so that it does not move. Add further embellishments (skull charms, flower beads and orange pearls) with beading thread. Finally sew on sequins around the border using a size 11 seed bead


Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

oh, I just love this!

I also am infatuated with Day of the Dead art. I made several shrines earlier this year (which, LOL, I made from old canned ham tins), and expected to display them. But they were sold (I'm not complaining) and I never got a chance to make some more for us.

But your little quiltie is a delightful substitute!

Maggi said...

This is so cool, I love the added seed beads!


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