Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The hip Victorian silhouette project

I love the trend for Victorian silhouettes that has come up in the last few years but the dull black leaves me a little uninspired and quite frankly makes me think of funerals. 

I also love to make mementos of my children at different stages of their life. Particularly a set of three showing all three girls at the same time. When the girls were little I did a set of their footprints all at once (ages 4 years/2 years/ 3 months) which were the things we most feared getting lost or broken in the move because they are irreplaceable and utterly priceless.

So here is my work in progress and a little (very very little and simple) how to:

You need:
1:  a digital camera and computer.
2:  tracing paper.
3:  a large enough piece of fabric to fit comfortably in an embroidery hoop of your chosen size. I used a 10 inch diameter hoop which is what I will display the portrait in long term as well, but you can mount it in a frame if that’s more your style.
4:  Your hoop
5: two coordinating pieces of felt- I used the acrylic kind that’s really cheap.
6: needle and thread in coordinating colours.
7: a stencil if you wish.

Seat your subject in a chair in front of a white, smooth  background (I hung a piece of paper on the wall) and shine as much light from every direction as possible. Take your photo and upload it to the computer. Size the photo on your screen to as big/ small as you fancy and trace your subjects profile onto tracing paper directly from the screen- carefully don’t press hard!!

Carefully cut out the profile- that’s your silhouette template. Cut out one exact copy from your top piece of felt and an enlarged (by only a ¼ to ½ an inch) copy from the bottom felt colour. It’s okay to be less precise on the bottom copy but try to keep the enlargement even all around the silhouette.
With your fabric in the hoop and your two felt silhouettes placed on top stitch in small even stitches all around the edge of the top silhouette.

If you are going to skip the stenciling- you are done.  Either cut away the excess fabric from your hoop or stitch it back behind and hang your portrait. Alternatively frame your beauty and make it look as proper as you choose!

For the stencilers… I am ashamed to show you the messy back of my work but I feel it is only fair to show you how I am adding pattern to my piece…  My stitching looks great at the front but is a 
at the back….
I used a stencil which came as a set of three for free with a magazine and I traced my basic design onto the back of the outline of my stitching and added embellishment where it looked too bare.  

VoilĂ ! Hip Victorian Silhouette! 

 Use your template for other projects too. 
I used mine to make porcelain silhouettes which I hang in a group. They took (surprisingly) less time to make than the stitched versions. But you could use the template to cut sheet icing for a special birthday cake or to paint a drawer in a shared room  rather than putting names on the drawers.

Have fun!

xx Jo

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