Monday, September 15, 2008


Finished Leaf Waiting for the "Fairy Face" to be added




STEP ONE - The Leaf

What you will see here are the steps it took me to create a fiber sculpted "maple leaf fairy" wall accent using my original template of one of the biggest maple leaves I ever saw.

I designed the template from a real maple leaf my husband and I found while taking a walk two years ago during a gorgeous fall day in Lake Geneva, WI. It was the most amazing size maple leaf I ever saw!

This huge leaf, was laying among other regular sized leaves which had fallen from the tree. I was so thrilled at this find I had to rush back to our car and press it between paper towels so that I could perserve it until I got home. The leaf measured 11.75" long, and 11.25 wide by the time I got it home. It had shrunk just a little bit.

Below you will see the steps taken to create this 100% silk, leaf. In another post I will show you the steps taken to create the fairy's face, also out of 100% silk, and finally the completed creation! This is only the third "Maple Leaf Fairy" I have created using this huge maple leaf. There is so much work to it!

The photo below shows the template after I traced the actual leaf onto white posterboard. It was quite difficult tracing all the little peaks on the leaf without ruining the leaf.

The next step was to trace the leaf template onto the silk fabric which I used. I used "tussah" silk. Tussah silk is a silk that is derived from wild moths, whose main diet is oak leaves. I also use this same silk for all of my fantasy creation's faces, as well as the mermaids upper bodies. The natural color of tussah silk can be anywhere from a very light cream to a darker tan. When I plan on dying the silk, I use the very light colored tussah. In order to trace the template onto the fabric, I use an iron on interfacing.

Below you will see the leaf after I have sewn it. Let me tell takes a LONG time to sew around all those little peaks, but the hardest part is yet to come....turning the leaf inside out!!

I think you can see from the photo above, where there is a tiny opening at the base of the leaf. That is where the trouble begins...trying to get the whole big leaf through that teeny, tiny opening. I use a long "alligator forceps" tool to manage this, but it still took me almost an hour to turn the leaf right side out! How is that for patience!

The next step is steaming and pressing the leaf to get all the many wrinkles out that were incurred pulling it through the tiny opening. The photo below shows the leaf after it has been stuffed with acrylic fiberfill.

The next step is to "top-stitch" a design onto the leaf. The photo below shows the leaf after I have completed this step. I always sew all of my creations using a clear quilting thread.

Now is the part I love best.....painting the leaf using Jacquard's liquid Dye-na-Flow fabric paint. It flows on so nicely, but you have to work very quickly with it so that you don't develop lines in the coloring. Below are several photos taken in the process of painting the leaf.

I used several different shades of Dye-na-Flow to achieve the colors I wanted for the leaf. Below you will see the finished leaf....waiting to dry! The next step will be creating the "fairy face" , which will go on the center of leaf. The final creation will be a delightful, colorful wall hanging. Be sure to stop back to see the how the whole Maple Leaf Fairy turns out. I will be doing it in another post later this week.

The center of the leaf and the stem are a bit off center, but this won't show when the creation is entirely completed. Be sure to stop back to see how the completed creation will look!


Terri said...

Great Post and maple leaf!!

Anonymous said...

Of course i never seen like this maple leaf,wonderful and very good idea.

Eid gift to Pakistan said...

Of course i never seen like this maple leaf,wonderful and very good idea.

Gift card printing said...

Of course i never seen like this maple leaf,wonderful and very good idea.

Digital Polaroids said...

Excellent work! I thought at 1st it was real!!

twenty pound tabby said...

Try putting coarse salt on it while the Dynaflow is still wet for some cool affects.

Ras Al Khaimah property said...

The maple leaf is looking beautiful and charming.

Angelina's Trinkets said...

Thank you for the tutorial. Your maple leaf is fantastic. I saw your completed sulpture at the Cloth Doll ning site, she is so beautiful.

Paulette said...

Hi Donna,
This leaf is beautiful!I need to go for a walk in the woods! I live in upper Michigan and I love the beauty of fall. Can't wait to see the fairy!
Where do get your tussah silk?