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Coffee and Collage

This weekend I was in NYC and while the city always offers shopping for fabrics, trims and notions, food, concerts and theaters, on this trip I also squeezed in some creative time on Sunday Morning.

Fabrics I started with.

On the bus into the city on Friday, I completed the boro on the right front of my Tabula Rasa Jacket. This boro jacket has been a slow-going project.  The designing and stitching began in earnest last August at our summer retreat.  Since then I have finished the collage on the back and right front.   The left front’s layers and birds were cut in August but nothing more.  Knowing I might have some quiet moments this weekend, I packed the bundle of fabric for the left front in my suitcase.

Just the birds on the left front.

On Sunday morning, the perfect time arrived.  There was coffee, classical music and about 2 hours of unprogrammed time.  I cleared off the big beautiful coffee table in the condo and unrolled the completed right front, the left front fabric, the patch fabrics and the pre-cut birds.

A quick look at the photo gallery on my phone showed no photos of the birds planned placement.  I drank some coffee to give me strength and began moving the birds around.  Their placement needed to:

  • Look good in relation to the birds on the other side.
  • Avoid the bust dart area.
  • Stay within the seam allowances on the center front edge.

There were not too many options so I placed the birds quickly.  Then I added in some of the foliage I had also cut from the bird fabric.  It looked best once it was divided it into smaller pieces that fit comfortably around the birds.

Birds, leaves and branches.

Arranging collage can take a while.  I would lay the appliques one place, get up to fill my coffee cup, then repeat the process with fresh eyes.

Once satisfied with the placement of the birds and foliage, I began placing the boro patches, carefully sliding them under the bird appliques.

First group of patches.

I wanted the right and left fronts to compliment each other but not be too symmetrical.  I worked with the same fabrics in each section of the collage but changed the shape and location.

As the morning progressed, I placed patches, walked away to refresh my coffee and then returned to try a slightly different arrangement.  It was quite pleasant because there were no other distractions.  I became completely engrossed in the composition.

Final composition , with the lower bird’s feathers minimized.

When the collage seemed complete, I left the room to get ready for the days planned activities.  This created some space in my mind.  My hope was that when I returned to the collage it would still please me.  Luckily it did and so I quickly pinned each element into place so I can begin the boro stitching.

Pinning down the elements.

Want to play with collage?  We will do both boro collage and free motion collage in the April 29 Surface Design Fun class at the Danners Bernina Shop.    A similar class is being offered at the ASG Annual Conference in Boston the first weekend in August.  Or, come with us to France in July for surface design fun mixed with sightseeing.  While surface design can seem like a slow, solitary task, it is fun when you have a group of sewing friends playing with the same techniques.  We will all be encouraging each other.  Don’t forget to bring your favorite beverage.

Happy Sewing, RAE

Read more about this bird fabric in the Quilted Jackets for Fall post from 2015.

See more photos of this jacket in the Yay for Mary Ray post from earlier this year.


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