Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blue and White All Over

I've started a new quilt. I thought I'd post an update today and found out I haven't posted about it at all yet. So get ready for a long one because I'd hate to miss one step. :)

I did sketch out a design, or maybe I should say the outline of a design. I'm sure I'll be adapting as I go.
Of course it's obvious what this
quilt will look like, right? :)
The place to start was the center medallion. The very centre was a circle quartered by a cross. I put it together with English paper piecing. It was a challenge to do the narrow white strips since the seam allowance was wider than the piece itself, but I managed.
I then sewed it inside a piece of white fabric. As I recall, I did it with a freezer paper method. (More on that below when I used it again.)

The next ring was put together with foundation paper piecing (again, way more on that below) and then sewn to the centre circle.
I was using a different set of blue fabrics for each ring. There wasn't so much contrast in the first two rings but the next one had a lot more:
I couldn't figure out how to get the result I wanted with this ring so I did a two-step process. First, I foundation paper pieced some triangles.
Then, I appliqued more triangles to the ring to fill in the empty spaces:
Here the triangle is pinned for
Once the ring was done, I cut a piece of freezer paper with a hole in it. The hole is the exact size of the opening I wanted. I then centred it on the ring and ironed it down.
After that, I trimmed the fabric in the middle to an even width (about 1/2" from the edge of the freezer paper). No more pictures, but the next step is to clip the seam allowance and then press the allowance back over the freezer paper.

Once the seam allowance is pressed back, you place the piece onto the centre circle and glue it in place. (Gluing the "right" side of the seam allowance to the "right" side of the circle.)

Next you lift up the ring enough to fit it under the sewing machine needle and sew right along the edge of the freezer paper with a zipper foot (or similar foot). Clear as mud? Oh ya, and make sure you remove the freezer paper.

The process looked straight forward on the video and the result looked so precise, but it wasn't quite all that when I did it for my first time. (No surprise.) Anyway, here was the result on this piece:
The next ring was a series of blue and white blocks with some curved edges. I decided to use English paper piecing.
When it was assembled, I attached it to the centre circle by hand applique. Since the edges of the ring were already turned under, I just had to put it on top of the centre circle, pin it in place, and sew.
Showing the appliqued ring
from the reverse side.
Once sewn on, I trimmed the seam allowance of the centre circle so it was nice and even:
And here it is from the front:
It was now about 12.5" across.

When I put the circle against the pattern, the size was a little off:
When I copied the outer ring it became obvious that my printer had not been copying at 100% - it was using some "fit" formula! Arrgh! This didn't make such a difference on the smaller rings, but it was very obvious on the largest ring. It also explained why my circle didn't quite fit.

I used another copier to get a true copy of the outer ring. I cut the ring into three segments and used the paper for foundation piecing. It was quite a production as I did the three segments at once. (That way I could chain piece and didn't have to cut the thread after each seam.)

Step one - line up the next piece of fabric with the edge of the existing piecing, with the paper pattern folded back out of the way.
Step two - flip over the paper and pin the pieces in place:
Step three - sew along the seam line.
Step four - trim the seam allowance.
Usually I would trim to a 1/4" allowance but in this case with the seam so close together, I actually trimmed an angled allowance, leaving only 1/8" at the centre and 1/4" on the outside edge.
Step five - flip over the new piece and press. (I used my little wooden "iron".)
Step six - fold paper pattern over on the next seam line.
I used a piece of cardboard by lining it up with the seam and pressing the paper over it.
That may seam unnecessarily fussy but I find it the easiest and quickest.

Step 6 - trim the fabric 1/4" from the edge of the paper.
And then you start over lining up the next piece with this edge. Sounds like fun right?

You can see here how I had the three segments going in sequence:
Once they were all pieced, I sewed the three segments together and made a ring. Then it was time to remove all the papers.
Sounds like more fun, right?

The final ring turned out to be a little large - the circle wasn't big enough to allow for a seam allowance. I was stumped for a minute, but then I realized that if I just removed a few segments of the final ring, it would shrink a little bit, and probably enough. So that's what I did. I took out only four blue segments, and the circle fit. (Hurray for fudging!)

I ended up hand basting the circle onto the ring along the seam line and then sewed the seam by machine. It wasn't ideal because I hadn't pressed the seams correctly, but I've decided it will do.

Here is the final medallion on the design wall:
Next up is a border to make this circle a square.

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...