Updated: Jun 1, 2022
FINISHED! While at an annual sewing retreat at the Compass Retreat in TX with my sister last year, they showed off a collage hanging sample of the PERFECT FORM pattern by Laura Heine. I immediately knew this would be the perfect hanging for my Sunroom Sewing Studio exterior door. AND... the size of the included pattern was just right as well, as you can see from the photo above. Let me share with you some specifics of the process.
FIRST...FABRIC HUNTING What a delightful excuse to go fabric shopping! I was astonished at how hard it was to find fabrics with distinct floral motifs!!! I worked at that for months - but only here locally at JoAnn's and our 2 local quilt shops. I did keep my collection in a bag handy to go along with me whenever I landed in a fabric shop. Though I had the color scheme pretty much established in my mind, I found it useful to have my 'collection' along when adding to it.
Honestly, I purchased a few more fabrics than what you see below, but they were more 'all-over' texture-type pieces that I didn't end up using at all. It became obvious as I started to work, that only the distinctly floral fabrics worked. The only other fabrics I used were the black texture for the stand, some butterfly wings, and the backing fabric. Below, you can see the fabrics I used.
#1 The first fabric at the left was perfect: distinct separate floral motifs. This is what you want to look for.
#2. The second fabric honestly was 'hidden' from me while I worked (meaning, lost among too many projects on my table...), but it too would have been great. I did end up using some of the leaves as filler - the grace and shape of them was very useable.
#3. The third fabric was harder to use - you can only see a sliver of it, but the floral motifs were kinda water-color looking, and indistinct really - plus an 'allover. When you search, look for fabrics like #1 and #2, with distinct floral motifs floating on a background.
#4. The large aqua poppy-type fabric 4th from the left was REALLY large, but worked well for me.
#5. These are very stylized flowers, but the problem was how they overlapped each other. This fabric did come in handy for the 'bust' level.
2nd Row of Fabrics...
#6. A good medium-dark value, this fabric was ok. I especially liked the whimsical butterflies, and made use of them up around the shoulders on my collage.
#7. Another pretty perfect fabric, but the flowers were all the same color...
#8. The butterfly fabric ... I liked the soft water-color effect of colors in the wings. Play "I SPY" to find them in my collage.
3rd Row of Fabrics...
#9. This fabric provided the aqua as a dark 'medium' tone, and the red as dark flower value.
#10. The aqua fabric shown a couple of fabrics below along with the dress form stand dark fabric was also used.
Now I see that I used up all of the darkest value fabric, which was a kind of hydrangea-looking fabric of smaller clumps of dark navy fabrics. If you look closely at the waistline area, you can see that fabric. You can also see a bit of it at the left about half-way down in the picture below.
QUANTITY of COLLAGE PIECES NEEDED
While I agree with Laura's instructions, that you need plenty with which to work once you start placing them on the design, I wish I hadn't done quite as much fusing/cutting in advance, as I found they went further than I anticipated initially. To the right, you can see how many MORE pieces I fused and cut that I did not end up using (hence, are included in the PROJECT LEFTOVER Product at my website that you can find HERE.
Since the Steam-A-Seam 2 was fused to large cut-out areas of each fabric to begin with, I seriously dulled at least 2 of my Kai scissors. It's tough: you need a sharp, good scissors to accurately and interestingly do the detailed cutting, but since you are also cutting through fusible web and paper backing... you get the picture.
By the way, all of the fabrics in the 2nd picture above of the fabrics - are ALREADY FUSED to Steam-A-Seam 2. I blasted through 2+ packages of Steam-A-Seam 2: 9" x 12" ($5.50/package).
Even though it does waste substantial fusible product, I still think fusing to pretty much the whole fabric, or at least large cut-outs as you can see to the left here... makes the most sense, as the intricate cutting is actually easier.
I will share that though I read Laura's good, comprehensive directions numerous times, I think...in the end... I grasped the concept and then 'went with it' by I figured out would work.
A WORD ABOUT THE BACKGROUND FABRIC The sample I saw at the Compass Retreat Center was done on the great fabric I purchased and used: CAP-L3006 Love Meaning by AGF studio, the Letters collection. I did not purchase for the entire length (68"), but rather half that and I have a seam across at about the high hip level. I don't think you'd see that unless I pointed it out. Look closely at the pattern image below, and you'll see she has 6 different fabrics, graduating from lighter to dark. Laura's pattern cover was amazingly helpful. Collectively, her work is all of a darker value than mine turned out to be.
Also...note the hint of 'border' floral around the edges, which I have to admit, I like, and just now 'see'. Too bad - mine is DONE! I likely had plenty of fused fabric cut-outs to do the same.....
DRESS FORM BASE
The interesting part of the scope of Laura's ingenious plan is a 'base' of the dress form itself. She suggests a lace - and though I looked, I ended up with an off-white organza. I'll leave the exact how-to's of the backing and how to fuse/peel/fuse to be details offered only with this Kit, or purchase of the pattern alone at this link HERE. But I will show you that I left this 'base' in the wire cage portion of the piece as you can see below.