Trudi the collage art reindeer – auditioning the background and gluing down!


So far you have learned so much about collage quilting from my previous posts about Trudi. I wanted to take you from the beginning to the end of a collage art project. This post is about auditioning the background and gluing the collaged Trudi to the background fabric. I will save the post about the longarm quilting for later.

After finishing collaging Trudi, I cut away the pattern ease to reveal just the reindeer image. Trudi and I then took a little trip down to a local quilt shop to figure out a background fabric. I wasn’t going to repeat a mistake I made on my very first collage and purchase fabric before I had the collage finished. Getting stuck with over a yard of fabric you probably won’t use is not a happy thought.

So for Trudi, I knew I wanted a bright batik to really make her pop off the quilt. One of the lovely ladies that works at the quilt shop helped me pull fabric bolts down and lay Trudi across. I really liked the brightness of the lighter blue … but the reindeer didn’t pop. When I laid Trudi on the navy batik, we knew we had a winner! The lesson here is don’t rush when it comes to purchasing the background fabric. It can really enhance your collage art quilt.

After ironing the navy batik, I was ready to glue the collage onto the backing. This is so simple. I lay the batik, right side up, on the foam core board (the glue can bleed through a little and you don’t want glue all over your kitchen table). Place Trudi exactly where you want her on the background and keep her in that position. I use FabricFuse, a quick bonding fabric adhesive. There are several on the market. Place a thin line of glue around the entire outer back-edge of the collage and lift, for instance, one of the antlers … glue … then carefully lay the antler back down on the background. Repeat until you have the entire edge of your collage glued down. Follow the pressing/drying directions of the glue and you are finished with your collage art quilt top.

If you wish to purchase my original Trudi the collage art reindeer full-size pattern with step-by-step directions, visit my Etsy shop. Free domestic shipping is still available but for a limited time.

Trudi the collage art reindeer – a lesson in getting started with the antlers!


Creating a collage art quilt is easier than you think. Just break the process down into little bites. If you need to review how to fuse, check out one of my previous blogs for new collage quilters on fusing. The link is provided here.

On this blog, I also have created several other blogs posts with lots of other tips, tricks and lessons on how to put together a collage art quilt.

With Trudi the Reindeer, I started with the most difficult area first … the antlers. All those little narrow areas and curves were going to take some time to cover properly with fused fabric. I already knew I wanted to use Philip Jacobs’ Orchid line of fabric in several different colorways. I previously used his fabric for Moo-Shu on the panda’s face and large body area. When figuring out the “look” for Trudi, I spent some time searching around the web just looking at fabric colors. I love the elegance of Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs’ fabrics. But I could have just as easily chosen batiks, novelty or even thrown in a plaid or two. I discovered two additional Philip Jacobs orchid colorways that have brown and orange tones. These colors made Trudi’s antlers appear more woodsy-looking. I also mixed in the lighter orchid colorways to create interest.

After cutting out lots of motifs, I like to lay them out near where I am working. Then I start pinning them onto my line drawing drawn on the Pattern Ease-covered foam core board. I move the motifs around and pin them on until I like how they look. I cut larger motifs into smaller pieces if I need to.

When I have the antlers covered with fabric, I take each motif off, remove the paper backing, and place the motif back on the Trudi’s line drawing pattern. The motifs are tacky on the back, with the paper removed, and adhere gently to the Pattern Ease. When the entire Trudi line drawing is covered with motifs, a final fuse with a hot iron is finally performed and they will now be permanently fused.

If you are interested in purchasing my Trudi the Reindeer pattern, head over to my Etsy shop. The pattern includes full-size line drawn pattern, supply list and step-by-step directions. Domestic shipping is still free for a limited time.

Next week … I will talk about the challenges I had with Trudi and how I solved them!

New collage quilters … a lesson in looking at fabric motifs!


Quilters new to collage quilting look at a photo of a finished collage quilt and are sometimes confused! Just how did all that fabric make it onto the line drawing pattern? I thought it would be fun to take away the mystery. Believe me … you will never look at a piece of fabric in quite the same way ever again!

When you look closely at Moo-Shu, my panda art quilt, you will notice lots of light-colored flower fabric in her face and body. When planning the quilt, I asked myself … how do I make Moo-Shu’s face and body look like white fur? The answer … why with white orchids of course!

I actually used three colorways of the same fabric line from the Spring 2018 Kaffe Collective. From left to right in the first photograph, I used Kaffe’s Black Orchids, Cool Poppy Garden and Natural Orchids. The fabric actually comes in five colorways and all are quite beautiful. The coloring of the orchid petals in the different colorways have different shades of gray, and also beige, which added another color dimension to Moo-Shu’s “fur.”

After fusing larger pieces of these fabrics which contain all kinds of colorful flowers, I basically cut away the background around the flowers with my Karen Kay Buckley scissors (baby blue handles). I left some of the flowers large to be cut smaller later, if needed. Don’t be concerned when you get to the edge of the fabric and you don’t have a whole flower to cut away. I use smaller parts of flowers all the time to fill in a spot on the line drawing pattern. I saved all the colorful cut motifs that were not “white” orchids to be used on Moo-Shu … or for a future project.

I used a pansy fabric for parts of the face between Moo-Shu’s eyes down to her nose and mouth. There was lots of fussy-cutting since I was interested in just the pansies with purple around the edges. Again, I saved the other pansy motifs in other colors for future projects.

Once you understand the concept of cutting away the background on a piece of fabric, the possibilities are endless! Not only flowers … but novelty fabrics are so fun to cut up and tuck in a collage quilt. Motifs like cans of tuna, fish, butterflies, birds are often not noticed when standing back from a collage quilt. But look at all the fun things you can see up close. My grandkids, Jacob and Ben, had so much fun trying to find all the different things tucked into Moo-Shu.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns!