Have you ever noticed how the background in a photograph tends to be blurred while the focal point is in sharp focus?
Andrea Brokenshire observed this in her photos of flowers. In an attempt to capture and recreate this effect in her art quilts, Andrea uses batik fabrics and fusible web to create a highly textured backdrop she calls a confetti background
Want to learn how she does it? Here are her easy instructions:
by Andrea Brokenshire
1. Group batik strips together into light, medium, and dark values. Stack a few like-value strips on a cutting mat. Cut the stack of fabric strips into 8″-9″ lengths. Repeat for all of the fabric strips.
2. For each fabric stack, cut through all layers at a slight angle horizontally, then cut in a zigzag fashion vertically to create 1″–1½” pieces of irregularly shaped fabric. You do not want them to look like squares.
3. Use your fingers to release the clumps of fabric and thoroughly mix the confetti bits together.
4. Cut a piece of fusible web to your desired background size plus 25–30 small pieces. The small pieces may be torn rather than cut, if desired.
5. On an ironing surface, placing the backing fabric wrong side up. Scatter a few small pieces of fusible web on the backing.
6. Position the cotton batting on top of the backing and fusible web bits. Press with a dry iron using a pressing cloth. Let it cool.
7. Scatter a few small pieces of fusible web on the batting. Place the foundation fabric right side up on top of the batting. Press with a dry iron using a pressing cloth. Let it cool.
8. Position the large piece of fusible web over the foundation fabric but do not press yet. Cover the entire surface of the foundation with the confetti bits, overlapping the pieces slightly. Depending on the look you are after, create a gradation, landscape, or allover pattern.
9. Carefully cover the loose confetti background with the pressing cloth. Using a hot dry iron, fuse the confetti pieces to the foundation.
10. Set up the sewing machine for free-motion quilting. Machine quilt the layers. Use an allover, consistent quilting pattern over the entire surface. The quilting pattern needs to be open enough to allow the edges of the confetti bits to lift a little without coming off the background.
To learn more of Andrea’s quilting hints and confetti background tips, order or download your copy of the April/May 2016 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.
P.S. Have you ever made confetti backgrounds? Share your technique and tips by leaving a comment below.