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Sat, Sep 28


Providence Renewal Centre

PET PORTRAITS with Anne Mathers

So, you have the perfect photograph of your dog or cat that captures their personality to a tee and you’ve decided you want to make your first quilted pet portrait collage. That’s great, but now what?

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PET PORTRAITS  with Anne Mathers
PET PORTRAITS  with Anne Mathers

Time & Location

Sep 28, 2024, 9:30 a.m. – Sep 30, 2024, 4:30 p.m.

Providence Renewal Centre, 3005 119 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6J 6C1, Canada


About the event


So, you have the perfect photograph of your dog or cat that captures their personality to a tee and you’ve decided you want to make your first quilted pet portrait collage. That’s great, but now what? Fortunately, there are many resources on the internet and good books on the subject of fabric collage to get you started. Even so, there are two steps that often stump the beginner. The first is how to create a pattern from a photograph and the second is how to select the right fabrics for the portrait. In this 3 part Pet Portrait Collage Tutorial, I’ll explain the importance of value in making a realistic portrait, how to read value in your fabrics and finally, how to make a pattern from your photograph.

 Walk Before you Run 

When you think of making a pet portrait, your first impulse will be to collect fabrics that match the colours of your pet. My advice is to resist this impulse. I know this is hard to do because we quilters love our fabric. But before tackling your first pet portrait project, you’ll need to know about one thing: value.  I live in beautiful Victoria, B.C.  When I’m not making portraits, tending my urban garden or throwing a ball for my Jack Russell, Tashi, I am usually riding my bicycle. And, if the travel gods are smiling on me, that means my husband and I are riding along a country road somewhere in Europe.

I welcome you to contact me at

What Does the Student Bring to Class? SUPPLIES FOR DAY ONE AND TWO

Photographs (2) - Please see Photo Instructions on page 3

  • a colour photo enlargement of your pet or animal (finished size)
  • a black and white mirror image of the colour enlargement (same size)

Pre-washed Fabric for the Collage

  • pre-washed quilting cottons or batiks from a colour family of your choice. Bring a wide assortment of small to medium scraps, jelly roll strips, fat eighths or fat quarters in a range from very dark to very light.
  • patterned fabrics (vs. solids) work best for collage.
  • bring a wide range, even if you have doubts about their suitability.
  • do not fuss too much over the perfect fabrics because choosing collage fabrics is taught in the class. Questionable fabrics will be useful to help you learn which are most suitable.

Pre-washed Muslin Base Layer Fabric

  • pre-washed lightweight white/cream 100% cotton or muslina piece about 5” longer and 5” wider than the portrait. 

Lite Steam-a-Seam II Fusible Web

  • 2 - 2.5 meters of 12” wide (or equivalent amount). No substitutions, please.

Portable Design Wall

  • Bring a rigid portable design wall that’s a little larger than the foundation fabric.e.g. Styrofoam SM insulation (24”x30”) or foam core board (20”x30”) 
  • Cover with cotton batting, pull taut and staple/tape batting to the back.
  • Optional: small table-top easel to prop up the design wall.

Other Supplies

  • 1 sheet of clear 0.005 Grafix Duralar film, large enough to fully cover the enlarged image.
  • available at Paintspot and Deserres
  • black ultra fine permanent Sharpie marker (no substitutions)
  • white Gelly Roll pen, size 08 or 10
  • circle template (bring along if you already own one)
  • masking tape and cello tape
  • an iron and ironing board
  • cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter
  • sharp small scissors (e.g. KK Buckley yellow or blue handle, or other micro-serrated
  • scissors for cutting Steam a Seam 2 Lite and fabric)
  • tweezers and large straight pins (e.g. clover head or hat pins)


In addition to the supplies for Day 1 and Day 2, bring the following:  

Cotton Batting

  • one piece of 80/20 or 100% cotton batting, approximately 10” x 16” for a practice sample

Pre-washed Muslin Base Layer Fabric

  • pre-washed lightweight white/cream 100% cotton or muslin, approximately 10” x 16” for a practice sample.

Pre-washed Background Fabric

  • pre-washed quilting cotton or batik.
  • bring several fabrics to audition for the background of your pet portrait.


  • variegated and/or solid coloured threads for quilting the portrait50 and/or 40wt threads of any brand fiber content is your choice bring a variety of threads to audition on the practise sample. 
  • neutral colour 50 wt thread for bobbin (e.g. grey or brown of medium value

Sewing Machine

  • free motion foot
  • single holed throat plate (only if you already own one)
  • sewing machine needlessize 70 or 80 for 50 wt thread size 80 or 90 for 40 wt thread 


Two Enlargement Required  Suggested portrait size, excluding the background: 14” x 16” or larger.  (finished portrait size) AND A B&W mirror image print

  • well lit photo showing your pet’s expression and eyes is ideal.avoid low light images... a balance of light and dark provides contrast and dimension and helps give a realistic look to your pet portrait. 
  • avoid low resolution images as they will be blurry when enlarged. The better the resolution, the better the quality of the enlargement will be and the better your final results will be. It will also be more enjoyable to work with.
  • Crop the photo if necessary, making the face the focal point.

Options for Printing:

  1. Send the image file to a copy centre and request the two prints on non-glossy paper (choose the least expensive option, often called blue-print paper)
  2. Print from your own computer onto multiple pages, then trim and tape together. Flip the B&W image to print it as a mirror image.
  3. Upload .jpg file to to enlarge the photo. Then, print on your home printer. Use ‘flip horizontal’ and ‘B&W’ settings to print the B&W mirror image.

Posterizing is Optional

  • Posterizing a B&W image simplifies it by reducing the number of values, usually to five or six, giving the photo a poster-like appearance. There are several programs and apps such to do this, such as: Value Study (free, iOS only), Pixlr Editor (free app) or Photoshop ($$)
  • Pros of Posterizing:easier to trace a pattern by outlining the shaded areas simplifies the process with fewer shapes to trace and fabrics to cut less judgment required works well for very short-haired animals. 
  • Cons of Posterizing:the portrait will look simplified, less realistic less opportunity for interpretation does not work as well for long-haired animals fine details of the eyes and nose become blurred areas with similar value will be represented as one shape, even though they may be different body parts 

Copyright: If the photo is not yours, you require permission to use it if considering publicly displaying, posting online or selling your final art quilt. Copyright-free photos are available online by doing a Google search. These are not expensive and it may be worth paying a few dollars for a great image.

Workshop Details  

Saturday Sept 28 Sunday Sept 29 Monday Sept 30 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM   


Providence Renewal Centre Room 166 3005 - 119 St NW Edmonton  

Open to FFAA members only. Either with an individual membership or through a member Guild   

Maximum Students = 12   Registration Fee is $130 per student 


Registration and payment is available on our website. Once you pay for your spot, you will receive an automatic confirmation of your registration. 

Please note there are no refunds. If you find you cannot attend, the onus is on you to find your replacement. A wait list can be found on FaceBook, "FFAA Wait List". Students can communicate with those wanting to take your place and exchange the registration fee.

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    with Anne Mathers

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