2022/10/08: Gail Lawther - Twilight Silhouettes

Saturday 8th October 2022
Tutor Gail Lawther
Duration 10am - 4pm

As the light of the sun fades, the silhouettes of different birds appear against the twilight landscapes.

All the dark motifs are fused onto backgrounds pieced from strips of fabric. These backgrounds can be quite detailed if you wish – for instance, behind the swallows and the nightingales I used eighteen Jelly Roll (2½in) strips graded from dark to light. In contrast, the backgrounds for the geese and heron just use three or four larger pieces. You may even have a single shaded piece of fabric that would work beautifully – in which case you don’t even have to piece the background. When I do this workshop I often have a few random-striped batiks with me, cut to the size of the background, which you’re welcome to buy either for use on the day or if you want to do more designs in the future.

The projects are wonderfully versatile; if you don’t want such a large wallhanging, simply reduce the length of the pieced background, then use fewer bird and branch motifs, and shorter plants. You can copy one of the five designs I’ve created, or design your own version by mixing and matching the birds and plants. You can choose to quilt the final design very simply, or as intricately as you like; during the workshop we’ll explore lots of different methods of simple machine-quilting.

These designs work best in cotton fabrics for the pieced backgrounds; for the silhouettes, choose a tightly-woven cotton, or polyester/cotton sheeting, then the edges of the motifs will stay really crisp as you cut them. If you cut your fabrics to size before the day of the workshop it means you’ll be ready to get straight on with the creative bit (remember to alter the dimensions if you’re making your background a different shape or size from mine).

As well as the things below, you’ll need your usual sewing kit of small and large scissors, pins etc. Simple machining is used to hold the fused patches onto the background (and quilt the shapes at the same time), so you will need a sewing machine; if you’re new to your machine, or not quite sure of all the things it can do, bring the manual too. And don’t forget to bring everything that goes with your machine – foot pedal, flex, knee lift if you have one, and all the feet and other bits that go with it – then we can choose the best feet etc to use on the day!

Finished size: each of my panels is 42 x 21in (roughly 108 x 54cm); if you’d like to make a different-sized panel, then adjust the fabric requirements – and the wadding, borders, backing and binding – accordingly.

9 places available

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For each design, you will need

cotton fabrics as follows:

• strips for the pieced background, 15in (38cm) long. As I mentioned above, the background can be pieced from lots of different narrow strips, or just three or four much wider strips, or one single shaded piece. If you want to do the background the same size as mine, you need a total depth of 36in (92cm) when the strips are joined

• toning border fabric, two 3½ x 36in (9 x 92cm) strips, two 3½ x 21in (9 x 54cm) strips

• closely-woven black for the silhouettes, 18 x 30in (45 x 75cm); the Heron design needs bit more – 18 x 36in (45 x 90cm) (despite me saying ‘cotton,’ polyester/cotton sheeting works well for these as it’s woven nice and tightly!) If you prefer, you can use a really dark brown, green, marbled black or navy for the silhouettes instead of plain black. If you want to add more birds and/or foliage than I’ve used on my designs, bring a bit more black fabric and bonding web

• for the Owls design (or if you want to add a moon to any of the others!), 6in (15cm) square of pale fabric for the moon

• backing fabric, 44 x 22in (112 x 56cm)

• 4yd (4m) black binding strip (I like to use a single binding on my quilts, and for this project I cut it 2in/5cm wide wide, which has given me a finished binding a bit under ½in wide. If you prefer to use a double binding, then a 3in-wide strip, folded down the middle to 1½in, will give you a similar finished width.)

You will also need:

• Bondaweb, the same size as your black fabric piece. Don’t use Heat ‘n’ Bond or Steam-a-Seam, as they aren’t suitable for this project. If in doubt, just stick to good old standard Bondaweb! 

• flat wadding 44 x 22in (112 x 56cm)

• sewing thread for the piecing and to match the binding, plus your choice of machine-quilting threads

• pencil

• non-stick ironing sheet or greaseproof paper/baking parchment (for protecting the iron and ironing board when you’re working with the Bondaweb)

• paper scissors

• small, really sharp fabric scissors – these are important! If your little scissors aren’t really sharp right to the points, now’s the time to treat yourself to a new pair …

If you have any queries on the requirements list, or on any aspect of the workshop, feel free to contact me via e-mail (thelawthers@ntlworld.com), via my website (www.gaillawther.co.uk), or drop me a line at 100 Wiston Avenue, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 7PS.

I’ll look forward to seeing you on the day.

For most classes and workshops, you will need to bring your own supplies and equipment; a list of specific requirements can be see above. When materials are included or supplied by the tutor, this will be stated in the class description.

All workshops and classes must be paid for in full. We are sorry, but sometimes we have to cancel a class due to circumstances beyond our control. If this arises we aim to give you 10 days' notice and a full refund. If you need to cancel your class booking, we require a minimum of 10 days' notice in order for you to receive a refund (less £3 administration charge). No refund can be given if less than 10 days' notice is given.