Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Constructing a Portrait Quilt--Part One

My last post was about my quilt Lake Michigan Beach Boys and its binding.  I have embarked today on a duplicate quilt, but this one will be for our youngest daughter, whose sons are the boys on the left.  The quilt I am keeping shows Dawson, the youngest boy on the far left, in a red striped shirt.  Very cute, but the shirt he wore in the photo on which this quilt was based (taken by his mother) was a blue and white tie-dye-look tee shirt!  I had the perfect fabric for this shirt, but Marcia Stein, my Quilting Adventures teacher last March, encouraged me to use another fabric, as she was rightfully afraid that that blue would blend into the blue of the lake water.

But I was determined to use that fabric for Susan's quilt!  I will make the water a grayer blue so that the true blue of my beloved fabric will show up against it.

I've decided that to document the stages of making this quilt would be interesting for any readers of this blog.

The first step was to scan the photo, doctor it using Photoshop Elements, and then print it onto plain paper.

I "doctored" in these ways:
The color enhanced photo

1.  I clicked on Auto Enhance, which immediately brightened up the colors.
the gray scale version

2.  I also saved gray scale and black and white versions in my folder for this project.

3.  For my color enhanced photo, I went to Filter, Adjustments, then to Posterize and used level 4.  I did this for both my color image and gray scale one.  (This is helpful to see more clearly where shadows appear.)
the posterized colored version

gray scale, posterized

4. Using the original but enhanced image,  I cropped the two boys on the left and the one on the right, enlarged these images, and printed them separately.  Then I taped the two images together, which made then an enlargement.  Then I traced my enlarged version of the photo onto acetate.  I took the acetate to a copy service and had the traced image enlarged to the size I wanted my quilt to be--about 30" x 36".

the tracing after it was enlarged at a copy shop
This post is getting too long, so I will stop here and discuss the next steps in another post.  Meanwhile, here are some photos that show the picture and its various versions.


  1. It is fun for people to know the value of the posterize filter for all sorts of projects

  2. Congratulations. We have been following this quilt in its various forms. It is definitely a winner. ss

  3. I found this blog very interesting. I got a lesson in Photoshopping. I've never used the image enhancement. I don't know why I love this picture. One can't see their faces, yet the photo is very intriguing. Love your quilty baackground, too.