Polka & Bloom on Etsy

November 28, 2018

Manhattan Skyline Appliqué

Manhattan Textile Portrait
Another textile picture inspired by our New York trip. And not the last one, I'm sure! I have no concrete plans right now, but there are some ideas bubbling away...

This is the Manhattan skyline seen from Liberty Island. I had a goal to do lots of sketching on the trip but we were rushing around and often I was too tired to do as many as I'd hoped. Or more concerned about cooling down in the heat!

Anyway, I did take a few moments to do a sketch of the Manhattan skyline and I'm glad I did because it became the inspiration for this textile picture. And sketching helps capture memories too. Not just on paper, but in my mind. I can clearly remember sitting there, looking across the water. Quietly sketching while all the other tourists were milling about, taking pictures.

Manhattan Textile Portrait
I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do with the buildings but I didn't know what to do about the water. I thought about adding scraps of fabric to give it a bit of texture but in the end I just settled on wonky lines in two different blue colours to give a sense of waves. I think keeping it simple was best, so the water didn't take attention away from the buildings.

At first I didn't like how the water fabric didn't want to lay completely flat, I tried pressing it a couple of times. But now I think maybe it actually makes the water seem more 'alive'. See the top photo where you get the whole effect.

Manhattan Textile Portrait
The Empire State building seemed so small in the distance! I think I may have exaggerated its size just a little bit. ;-)

It was quite fiddly to add all the little fabric scraps for the buildings. I used hemming web, but I think next time I might just use a glue stick. It was a close call with the iron a few times!

The fiddly-ness is also the reason for the background buildings of Midtown just being machine stitched without appliqué. It was just too fiddly with layer upon layer upon layer. But I think I prefer the outline effect anyway. Makes it seem more in the distance than it would have if I had added fabric to it.

Manhattan Textile Portrait
I think this little section here is my favourite. It may be because of that little bit of pink in one of the buildings. It's a nice contrast to all the blue, grey and taupe.

Contrast is also the reason I used the pink and orange fabric for the binding. I auditioned several different fabrics but I think this is the perfect one. It is a contrast to the picture but not so much it takes away from it. And it has those lines that kinda echo the lines of the buildings. I'm happy I had it in my stash! :-)

Manhattan Textile Portrait
Like the water, I had trouble deciding what to do about the sky. It's mainly just plain light blue fabric. I added the strip of cloud fabric because I thought it would make an interesting effect and break up the (potentially) monotonous sky.

And when I'd laid out my skyline on a piece of card, it was a bit too short, so I added a strip of a different colour card and liked the effect. Serendipity. :-)

At first I just machine embroidered the clouds on the plain fabric but it was almost invisible so I was at a bit of a loss for how to add clouds without distracting too much from the buildings.

So I'd put it aside for a couple of days and then one day I was tidying away fabrics I'd used in the project and I picked up the last little bit of the cloud fabric. I thought 'maybe I can cut out the clouds and appliqué them..?'

I cut them out so they still had a bit blue around and then I did the machine embroidery on top and into the plain blue to sort of mix the colours together. I think it worked out ok! I especially like how the clouds are unraveling a bit at the edges, it makes them feel more cloud like. :-)

Manhattan sketch
This is my original sketch. Very quick and very loose! It's interesting to see it next to the appliqué picture.

And yes, we did buy a kitschy tourist souvenir. But just the one. It will be a nice addition to our Christmas tree. :-)

Manhattan Textile Portrait

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