Rose's Quilting Blog

Do You Know, "How to Blend Fabrics to Create Shadings in Your Quilts"!

Do You Know, "How to Blend Fabrics to Create Shadings in Your Quilts"!

How to create brilliant shading through your quilts
An easy way to create the right shadings in your quilts
Blending fabrics for shadings in your quilts
How to create the right colour and shadings for your quilts
Choosing the right colour for your quilts

Do you ask yourself any of these above questions?

Good morning everyone,
Today's posting is somewhat a follow on to last weeks posting about
"choosing the right colours of fabrics for your quilt", using my little "tool".

For today’s posting though, I want to bring to you an interesting way to
add "shading to your work" that many people are not very aware of doing, but
when I show this within a class while teaching, students become rather
intrigued and somewhat awe struck.

When an artist is drawing a picture, to give it dimensions and life it needs
to be shaded. Shading transforms a picture from a flat image into a 2 or 3 dimensional picture, it brings it alive and gives it a character or personality, whether that image is a person, a skyscraper building, a rather decadent
cake that makes you just want to “take a bite right into it”, an old knurled
tree or a lady in a red dress.

Here's  just a couple of my simple drawings, although I must admit I
never got back to finishing my tree, and these drawings have scanned in much darker than they really are, but even just light shading makes a huge difference to a drawing,






So what are some of the ways of bringing shading into your fabrics,
quilts and your very own personal masterpiece?

We can use water colour pencils, paints, thread, and even
embellishments, but what about using fabrics in a different way to create the shading?

When shading, we’re looking to give the image its personal character,
by creating depth and shadows. Shading can give the image light, it can make a person look slim or rounder, it can show movement as within a nice flowing dress, it gives shadows which is where it starts to come alive and then also be more realistic.

Shadows are within or upon everything we look at in life, and are
reflected from the sun, the shade of something near that object, our own personal shadows on ourselves, the shadow on part of our arm where the light is hitting across just one part of it and the rest of our arm may be shaded because of the angle we are standing, or the shaded area between our arm and our top/dress, etc.

Within much of my applique work I like to add some form of shadings
and I’m going to use a little piece that I’m so often asked about whenever it’s out and about at teaching events, speaking or demonstration events and so forth.

One day I’m going to create the pattern for this little piece as so many
people ask me for one. I won’t promise when that’ll be though.

So when I’m looking for different shadings, particularly rather subtle
shadings of the one colour then this is how I’ll create that.

I’ll often take a different shade of a particular colour fabric, and lay it
"underneath" the already existing piece of fabric that I’m using. Now I know that this isn't making much sense to you, so I’ll use my little "Lady in Red" quilt for an example.


This little quilt was a challenge quilt and it could only have red, white
and a touch of black, so when I was doing the face, arms and legs of the lady, of course I needed a "flesh" colour, but as I was restricted to using only the above colours, how could I achieve a "flesh" colour within this appliqued piece.

I took a small piece of the same red fabric that I was going to use within
the binding, and as you can see it's very red and quite dark, and laid it underneath the white fabric that I’d used for the top, and this then gave me a "flesh" coloured shading. The white fabric is actually a very fine muslin, which was absolutely perfect for using with shading, as it let just enough of the red colour to show through, but shading it enough to not look like its actually red but more of a skin tone.

When doing the street lamp, I was only using black within the stitching
because the rules of the challenge did not allow me to do the whole lamp black as it would’ve been too much black, as well as in scale comparison to rest of this little piece.

I placed some black under the white once again, which gave me a
darker shading of "white". I’d tried several black fabrics without achieving the desired result I was looking for, so ended up using a piece of synthetic felt.
Synthetic felt doesn’t normally bleed colour as do many of the natural fibre felts.
I then just stitched the shapes of the lamp in black thread.

You’re able use this idea for many places across your quilt when
doing any appliqué work to give different shadings and tonings. The thickness and sheerness of your fabrics will make quite a difference to how this’ll look. In general you’ll need your shaded fabric to be much darker than what you want it to show as. Straight dark black under sheer white gave me a very soft shaded effect. The red was very deep and dark.

If you were going to do a bird for example and you needed different
shadings of the one colour for the breast of the bird, then you can easily add different colours under the breast material.

So if the breast was a light coloured beige, by adding darker
fabrics under the beige, it won't actually change the colour but give a feeling of shadow across the breast. You may even find that to achieve the desired effect and colour you’re looking for, try colours like dark burgundy, even if the breast of the bird is not to be a reddish colour.

I can’t give exact guidelines on this, as it’ll depend on the thread
count of the weave of both the fabrics, the depth of colour, and what you may be working on, in one particular place of your personal masterpiece, may not work the same on another part of that piece. It’s also fantastic for under leaves, animals and pretty much anything that you wish to shade or shadow somewhat.

Another thing to take note of about this, is that when I created the arms, 
face and legs, I wanted the whole of those pieces to be shadowed, or really in this case I was changing the colour of my arms and legs, but when creating the shading effect more, you can just cut different shapes of fabrics to place under
the top fabric.
Let me explain more...

Let’s say you need to create a shadow between an arm and a dress,
you wouldn’t place the fabric under the whole dress, you would just place a piece under the edge of where these two parts join.

If you want to maybe lighten the breast of an animal, you may place a
circle or oval shape of possibly gold fabric under that area of the animal. You may be working with leaves or bark, and instead of adding just one fabric under these pieces, you may add many different colours and shadings under the tree trunk, and some of those pieces overlapping to give lots of shadings throughout the tree.

It truly is all about “playing”, and who needs an excuse to
“play with fabrics”? 
Not me!

You can use something like Mistyfuse which you can find here, to hold the shading fabrics in place, as Mistyfuse doesn’t leave the “thick” layer on your fabric that some types of iron on papers do.

As we want to shade our top fabrics, if we were to use a product to hold
these layers together that is quite “thick”, you won’t get the result that you may be looking for, as much of the underneath "shading" will be "blotted" out due to using a thicker style stabilizer, and as you can see how red my red fabric was, and it was quite subdued once added under the top fabric. 

I truly hope that this new knowledge has given some insight and
inspiration to try out in possibly your next personal masterpiece. As I always say, "knowledge is a powerful tool", regardless whether that knowledge is big or small, it's a powerful tool in the right situation.

Anyway, I’ll leave you all here with this one once again today.

Also if you missed last weeks posting on colour and How you
can "Work" your fabrics you can read it here or just check out this on-line class.

What ever you’re planning for your day,
I do hope that it’ll be somewhat enjoyable.

See you all again in approx a week’s time,
with something else that’ll hopefully inspire you
within your own personal creative journey.

Rose Lewis Quilting