“Breakfast Is Tiffany”, original artwork by Billy Tackett, used with permission.
Part of his “Dead, White & Blue” series, Mr. Tackett came up with a truly challenging design to try to replicate in fabric. Given all of the the details that are done with shading and shadows, I could only hope that I could find enough of the right fabrics to pull this one off.
I started out with a couple of different goals in mind with this piece. First, I wanted to see how large of a piece I could make. This would be the largest overall design I’d done to date. Zombie Sam was broken up into sections and assembled that way. Tiffany would be ground breaking for me. The other part of why I’m taking this design to the size it is, is because of the detail work Mr. Tackett has put in. If I’d taken it any smaller, some of the subtleties that were drawn would most likely be mixed into other elements or flat out missed. My second goal for this pieces was to see if I could ‘bling out’ her jewelry. Right now, I’m still on the fence about the jewelry.
As with working with most black and white images, I start pulling together my palette of colors. Not all black is a solid dark black. Not all whites are white. There are variations and gradations of color saturation and hues. I try to make sure I have a decent selection on hand.
Because Tiffany has a LOT of shading, I wanted to make sure I had a large selection of grays to work with. I read somewhere, once, that gray is the hardest color to match up. After 25+ years of experience working with fabrics so closely, I have to agree. Gray is the most difficult color I’ve ever had to work with. As far as I’m concerned, you can never have too many. This is just the first round picks of the fabrics I’m going to start using. I have quite a few more set offside, to fill in where and when I’ll need them.
Given that Tiffany is such an iconic character, I made it a point to pick up some extra fabrics with a bit of “shine” to them. You’d be surprised at how a little bit of “sparkle” adds to the overall image. The key is to figure out where and when to use it. You can’t exactly see it in this last photo, but the folded fabrics were printed with a shiny silver glitter. I have some definite plans for these prints.
Wanting to get started, and not be distracted by any of the other projects I’m going to be working on, I knew if I put fabric up on my design wall there’d be no way I’d take it down until it was done. Even if they’re little pieces. Pieces going up are still pieces going up.
The next piece going up would be one of the larger dark pieces. It’d also take me a little while to get it all cut out, as it’s fairly detailed. This is what that particular piece turned out to look like.
Now, I’ve got a strong start. To further cement the design, I moved on to the next large dark piece, and few of the smaller detail pieces.
Since I was trying to get my ‘outline’ set up and finish with as much of the black as I could, even more of the details were added. One of my beta viewers commented, “She’s coming alive.” All I could do was smile and reply with, “Bit by bit.”
Yes, she’s there. I know I still have a LONG way to go. The black is probably the easiest part of this whole pattern. It’s when I start moving into the different gradations of the grays that this is going to start going crazy. My biggest problem, that I can foresee, will be keeping track of what shades of grays are going to be going where – and not mixing them up. It’ll be a challenge, that’s for sure.
Deciding it was time to find the borders of my quilt, I started working on getting the left edge into place. This was a lot more intricate than I’d expected, and I was looking forward to the results. It took me almost an entire day to cut this particular piece.
Except for one “minor” thing… when it came to starting to fill in her arm, I knew I was going to have a bit of a time. It would take me the better part of an afternoon and evening to get this section figured out and fitted.
I ended up pulling all of the pins and pieces. I knew I was most likely going to have to, as I was running out of room at the bottom edge of my design wall. Since I was having issues fitting the arm pieces in, now was as good of time as any to make the shifts. Once I moved all the pieces up about 7-10 inches, the arm area managed to work itself out. I was definitely a lot happier with what I was seeing.
Knowing the piece wasn’t in the right place, I started working with the fork, with hopes of getting the section lined up. If anything, this part was very frustrating. It didn’t seem to matter where, or how, I was placing pieces. I couldn’t seem to get them to line up the way I wanted. It didn’t help that I had to recut several pieces more than 5 times. Rather than frustrating myself even farther, I called it quits for the night. The next day would have to be a better day, and – maybe – I could come up with a way to make this work.
Trying a different idea, and refreshed eyes, I began again. I found the “missing piece.” Once that went into place, the problematic pieces seemed to fall right into line. I laughed out loud. (Yes, I really did.) Something was still a little off, and I’d been promising myself that I’d take care of it when it annoyed me enough. It annoyed me enough. I went back through the face and hair sections and began tweaking the areas that needed some work.
Next up would be the section I was quietly dreading.
After getting a good night’s sleep, I started in. Each piece was going into place with a lot more ease than I’d planned for. I was very happily surprised with how quickly this section was going! Layer by layer, the section was coming together. When I finally took a few steps back, to really look at the area within the rest of the quilt, I knew I wasn’t going to have to do any more with it. Take a look, the necklace turned out really neat!
Well, alrighty then!! It’s on to the rest of the torso. I was really hoping this next area would go together as well as the previous. I kept my mental fingers crossed super tight. It was when I was putting in some shading that I realized I’d completely missed cutting out a section in the rib cage.
I was cutting out some of the detail work, when I’d accidently dropped the piece I was cutting out. It took a little while to find the piece, as it was smaller than many of the snippets I’d cut from previous bits. In the next photo, the ruler is an actual regular 6 inch ruler.
It was at this point I needed to stop. I was running out of pins. *blinks* I had almost 1,000 pins in this particular project – and I needed more. I happened to be sitting on the floor, looking up at my design wall, when I saw this view. Truly, almost 1,000 pins. It took me little while to wrap my brain around that.
It was a choice of either to work on the table or go back to the hand with the fork. Since I was already sitting on the floor, the table it was. I had a little bit of “help” for a couple of hours. I’m not taking any responsibility for any of the pieces he may have cut. That’s Zack. He likes to help.
Working on the other side of the quilt, I’d run into a bit of a issue. I needed to refer back to the finished side to remind myself what fabrics were used where and for what. Somewhere along the way, some of those had changed. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, only that I needed a refresher so I could do a better match up.
By the time I was ready to stop for the night (on this section), I realized I was about a day ahead of my “gotta meet my deadline” schedule. A surprise, but not an unwelcomed one. If I could get the rest of the pieces to go together as well as they have for the last few days, I would have time to fix something that’s been bugging me. If I lose that bit of ‘cushion’, I was going to have to leave it as is. Believe me when I tell you I was really hoping to have the time to make the changes.
When I went to work on her the next day, I was moving along quite well. Pieces were going up as they should, with no hassles. I should have kept quiet. I needed to move my base pattern on my light wall, as the area I was working on wasn’t as well lit. I ended up putting a nasty tear in it. Yep, right in the section that I wanted to redo. Taking a deep breath, I moved on to the last area. One of my weights helping hold my base pattern fell. That was a trip to the walk-in clinic.
The following morning, deteremined to get her done, I finished the last section and started to trim off the excess fabric. Uh, yeah. Never, ever doing that medicated again!! Let’s just say that I mis-cut and “lost” about 10 inches worth of work. I could have cried. I probably should have stopped working on her. However, I’m stubborn and kept going. I did finally stop after putting on the first round of borders. My head was aching and I was too afraid of making any more errors.
I started the next day without taking any of the medications. I really wanted to get her quilted and done. I was putting on the first piece of the outside border when my sewing machine decided I wasn’t paying well enough attention to it, and I ended up sewn into my quilt top. It was only a couple of stitches, but enough of a shock to realize I was not going to be able to quilt it on my home machine. I just couldn’t control the weight of the quilt top, keep track of my fingers and the sewing machine needle at the same time. I needed help.
I called a quilt shop where I could rent time on a long-arm quilting machine. Was the machine available today? No? How about tomorrow? It is?!? Great!! I’ll be there when the shop opens! I spent the rest of morning rounding up the supplies I’d need to take with me.
I arrived at the quilt shop prepared to spend the entire day there. The shop owner was gracious about giving me reminders about the long-arm machine, as it’d been a long while since I last used it. Soon, I’d gotten back into my groove and settled in to work.
About four hours later, I was snipping my last threads and pulling pins. I’d done it. She was quilted. The owner of the shop allowed me to use their cutting table to trim her to size. From there, it was home to put the binding and quilt label on. I was going to finish her today.
My photographer couldn’t fit the entire quilt into the photo, as she’s kind of big. Yes, she’s tilted at an angle in the quilt. That was done on purpose.
Breakfast Is Tiffany
Completed: June 20, 2015
Finished size: 78 1/2″ x 89 1/2″
Cotton fabrics, cotton batting
Raw edge applique, machine pieced, machine quilted
Psst… I decided to forego adding anything to the jewelry. 😉