For each of the past 6 weeks, I’ve been directing you to a different blogger’s website to show you what they’ve done with a small collection of fabrics from Michael Miller Fabrics. I also have been telling you about my friend Mark Hordyzynski who designed the Mirror Ball Dot fabric line for Michael Miller. And this past Wednesday I wrote a blog post about how I know Mark (if you’re curious you can read about our friendship here).
Now it’s my turn to hop and show you what I’ve done! (Note: There’s a lot of pictures here…click on the images if you want to see larger images.)
As part of this challenge, Mark arranged for each of the Mirror Ball Dot (MBD) enthusiasts to receive 4 Fat Quarters of MBD and 3 coordinating colors of Cotton Couture. We got to select which colors we wanted to use. I wasn’t sure what I would do, but I knew I didn’t want to make a quilt.
It soon dawned on me, that there has been a project I’ve wanted to do for several years. I wanted to explore making 3-dimensional fish. The dots of the MDB reminded me of fish scales, and so I had my idea and selected “fishy” colors to make fish. (Those of you following my clues the last few weeks…did you figure that out?)
I started by finding a scientific drawing of a carp on the web and used it as reference for making my template line drawing. Fish fins are very specific to the species. Placement, size and orientation do matter. (Well…it matters, at least, to an ichthyologist and the other fishes.) My fish may not wind up looking like a carp, but their fins are definitely carp-like. Maybe I should call these guys, pseudo-carp.
After I created my line drawing and transferred it to template plastic, I started creating the fish. During the construction process, I found myself repeating a REALLY BAD songworm in my head. The song is called “Fish Heads” popular on a 1980’s radio show, Dr. Demento. (If you dare, look it up on YouTube. Just don’t blame me if this songworm imbeds in your brain too! And remember, I warned you it was REALLY BAD!! I mean REALLY, REALLY BAD! ) Ok, back to business…
My biggest challenge was how to create the fish fins. I eventually decided to trace the fin templates on two layers of fabric and stitch around the drawn line. I then trimmed around each fin, very close to the line (seam allowance) and then turned them right side out. After a good pressing, I placed them on top of water-soluble stabilizer which was secured in a hoop. This gave me something to hold on to while doing my free-motion embroidery on the tiny fins.
When I was finished with the fin stitching, I took them to the sink and washed them with water to dissolve the stabilizer. In this fishy business, it was helpful that the cotton thread shrinks, just a little bit, creating a wavy texture on the fins.
Once the fins were made, I added some thread-work to each face and assembled the bodies. Add a little polyester stuffing and there you have it…3-D fishes!
I can see using this fishy technique as a prototype for future 3-D fish projects. I’m thinking quilted fish? Hand-painted fish? Or maybe some flying fish? Ha! I’m ready for the next project. Thank you, Mark!
Are you inspired to create something with Mirror Ball Dot fabric? If you leave a comment below I will enter you to win one fat quarter of Mirror Ball Dot in your choice of 5 colors, plus a Mirror Ball Dot color card. I’ll announce my winner next Sunday.