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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee Portrait

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee has been much celebrated here in Great Britain.  I'm not really one for street parties or wearing red, white and blue together so I thought that the celebrations would pass me by but then I saw a competition in a quilting magazine to make a 'Best of British' postcard.

Now, I thought about appliqueing a cream tea (surely, everyone will do that) or, on the other end of the scale, a kebab (may not be quite what they are looking for!) but in the end I couldn't resist the challenge of trying to recreate an iconic image.  The Queen.  Bit of a challenge...

So I found an image on the Internet of The Queen in 1952 and traced around the image to get the face shape right.

I'm afraid it's more Dr Spock than HRH at this stage but bear with me!  

I fabric painted the background, the blue was originally 'royal blue' but I did have to lighten it a bit with white so that it didn't overpower the image.  As you can see I began by making two copies as I thought a mistake could ruin the version I was working on at any time... confidence is key isn't it!

I then set the straight stitch on my machine to teeny tiny stitches and machine embroidered the face. I began to get quite pleased with how it was turning out....

Then the hair in brown taffeta, oooh still no mistakes!

I couldn't resist a photo of the back of the work.  I love this slightly ephemeral image.

I realised I could improve the skin tone by using a standard chalk set I have for cardmaking, as I didn't have to worry about washing the colours out.  I painted the crown and jewellery with silver fabric paint.  I wasn't very good at this bit as I don't think I have a very delicate painting technique!  It was the only way I could think of doing it though.

Finally, the clothes.  I wanted to keep the sense of movement that was in the original picture and so I tried to pleat the fabrics in various places.  I was surprised that this seemed to be the hardest part of the process - manipulating the real fabric - I think I am least happy with this but I still prefer it to just applying flat fabric with bondaweb.  

This is how the final piece looks at the moment with the raw seam allowances untouched.  It is about 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches.   I can't decide whether to turn it into a postcard and send it off to the competition and risk not getting it back or whether to keep it as I am not sure whether I can make it again!  The Gods seemed to be on my side this time and I don't think I could push my luck a second time.  What do you think I should do?  Answers on a postcard please!!!


  1. Check to see if you can get it back if you send a stamped addressed envelope with it, then send it! It's amazing! You should win!

  2. Lovely! I specially like how you had documented it step by step. IT was a lot of work but the result is amazing