00 Dancer

A Preschooler’s Unique Style

At two, my daughter developed strong opinions about what she wanted to wear. The brighter the better! Now, at three-and-a-half, she still loves to mix patterns and colors. I wanted to capture her unique style in a piece, so I asked her to help me choose fabrics for the piece. Back in September, I took those fabrics to a workshop with Sandra Sider and started to make vertical strips of varying widths. It seemed to need something else, so I added some circles. The random circles weren’t working, so Sandra suggested arranging them in a curved line. That was better, but something was still not right.

01 Strips at Workshop02 Circle Test1 04 Circle path

I put the piece aside and worked on other things after the workshop. When I pulled it back out in December, I played with the circles again, but nothing seemed quite right. So it went back in the corner while I continued to work on other pieces in the series about parenthood.

05 Circle Path Dec 06 Circle Path Dec 07 Stripes no Circles

Then, as the date for my exhibition approached, I had an idea. My daughter LOVES to dance. Why not use a silhouette of her dancing on the piece. So I went to Photoshop and tried out a few different options. The top contenders were pink and sheer yellow. I liked the subtlety of the yellow and that’s her favorite color, so that was the winner.

25 Mock Up Pink26 Mock Up Sheer Yellow

I took the fabrics back out and cut the strips to the size I had written down back in December then sewed them together. For the backing, I selected a yellow fabric with owls – my daughter’s favorite color and animal.

08 Sew Strips 09 Sewn13 Owl Backing

To make clean edges (and to make it easy and fast), I decided to pillowcase the quilt. I layered the top, batting, and backing fabric and then stitched all the way around, leaving a hole for turning. After hand stitching the opening, it was time to think about quilting.

14 Trim Quilt 15 Sew all layers 16 Turn Right Side Out 17 Stitch Opening

I tried a few different variegated threads on a sample quilt sandwich and selected the bright rainbow thread. Then it was back to the sewing machine for free-motion quilting in a wavy vertical pattern.

11 Thread Selection 18 Quilting 19 Quilted Detail

Once it was quilted, I printed the silhouette of my daughter, taped it together, and pinned it to the sheer fabric so I could cut the shape out.

10 Tape Silhouette 20 Pin Silhouette 21 Cut Silhouette

After pinning my little dancer to the quilt, I used a tight yellow zig zag stitch to sew her in place. It’s subtle, but my daughter is now dancing on the bright fabrics, happy with her colorful choices.

22 Pin Silhouette 23 Sew Silhouette 27 Style All Her Own

If you want to see this piece and the other pieces in my Parenthood series, join me this Sunday at the Harrison Public Library from 2:00-4:00pm!

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