Wayward Fairies

Lisa DuCoing © 2007

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I'm making this quilt…well, for show. Ill enter it in the $100,000 quilt challenge (of course), but first want to enter it in the local guild show.

I use 14”X16” blocks. I sew the backing together and then piece and embellish over the seam. This eliminates the block seams and makes it look like all one piece.

“The Girls” started out as a bunch of purchased CDs about 5 years ago. I bought a couple of CDs of vintage nudes in with several CDs of Victorian Postcards.

About eighteen months ago I popped one of the CDs in the computer and started looking…..and immediately saw one that I felt should have had a fish tale. She just stood out. I was hooked….

Meet “The Girls”: I choose pictures taken from about 1900 to about 1935. Earlier ones tend to be faded and not print well. Those that are taken later tend to be more “harsh” looking. Look for pictures that have retained some crispness….faded pictures may look old and have “the feel”, but they just don't print well. I try to choose a pose that can be made to look graceful. Sometimes you have to weed through quite a number of pictures before you find “the one”. Every one I look at, I think “this is someone real”…“what was she like?”…”Did she have children?”…”Why is she in this picture?”

Now that we have picked our girl, we can print her on treated fabric. This would be fabric that you have treated with a chemical like Bubble Jet Set 2000. Pretreated fabric is also available in your local fabric/craft store. I try to make her about 2” X 3” or so.

Place her in your block like you would any other reproduction silk picture. I start with the wings. I draw wings freehand (after doodling the design on scratch paper for awhile). Here “Press & Seal” can be your best friend.  


I outlined the butterfly wings in black. You can do it freehand….or use press & seal. 



Fill it and then add the details.


The hair and clothes are done with a single strand of scalamandre silk thread, single strand silk floss, or antique filo floss. The wings are only limited by imagination. I'm always seeing new ways to create wings and can't work fast enough to keep up with my imagination.

My dragonfly wings are very simple. They are done with an outline stitch and filled with buttonhole stitches. The appliquéd wings are given an outline stitch to define the wings and then cut 1/16” from the outside. I then do a buttonhole stitch over the outline stitch while folding the excess fabric into the stitch for strength…..I then add details inside the wings that also add strength to the stitch.


Lisa lives in Carson City, Nevada and has been crazy quilting since 1986. More fairies can be found on her Flickr site

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