Quarterly Quilting Update, December 2019

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I try to keep this blog on topic – garment sewing only – but I have a confession: I’ve been bitten by the quilting bug. I had a fabric related job that required its employees to take classes on the basics of several crafts, including quilting. In class, I immediately saw potential for really cool embellishments to garments! I (foolishly) thought it would be easy – not so. I suck at quilting. But I’m determined to get better, and even more determined to use those improving skills to make garments and accessories in the future. And when I feel this revved up, I have to share! So I’ll be dropping quarterly updates on my quilting adventures, and what they could mean for embellishing garments.

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My most recent project is a set of coasters that are headed to a lucky recipient in Massachusetts! I’d been wanting to make quilted coasters and did in fact try before, but they were ugly and amateurish. This set is actually creative, stylish, and not too poorly sewn. I wanted to practice strip quilting, which is a great technique for a beginner, and popped seams, which helps everything behind the scenes lay flat. Both went smashingly! I turned the strips into squares and assembled the squares into 4-patches, which I then quilted and bound. Look at that quilting! It’s my first time doing something aesthetic, though you’ll notice I stuck to straight lines. The only really weak part of this project is the binding: I did a terrible job. It took me three tries and in the end, I still mitered the corners on all the coasters wrong. Luckily, the recipient is not a quilter. :)

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I also made this sad and primitive Christmas stocking recently as a sample for a class I was pitching. Needless to say, my pitch was not accepted. But I would like to establish a relationship with this organization in 2020, so I’m making another stocking that you’ll see during the next QQU. In the meantime, I learned that the cuff of a stocking should be interfaced, if you’re going to sandwich the cuff between the exterior and the lining you should leave an opening in the lining to turn everything through, the loop shouldn’t be heavily stitched because it gives a hard, not festive look, and I should stick with quilting what I know and have an interest in. I do not, nor have I ever, nor do I expect to in the future, celebrate Christmas. Teaching a Christmas stocking class wouldn’t have gone well, and luckily my crappy sample saved me from facing students who would figure that out the hard way. I did however, make a photo essay of the process that I think could be a helpful, so that will be on the blog the week before Christmas.

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Back in the spring, I started a quilt for LJ, but it’s still not done. Why? It’s been missing for months! I think it’s in a scary pile of fabric that needs to be sorted, but technically I’m not sure. This quilt was my first real go at piecing, and I tried out some efficiency techniques. Chain piecing and piecing rows together, then piecing the row bands together (instead of adding one row at a time to the main work), worked out really well. I got the whole top done before I left Boston! However, due to not properly calculating the seam allowances and number of squares, the quilt was smaller than I’d wanted. So I got some more fabric and cut it into squares, intending to enlarge the quilt by adding a pieced border…and that’s where the project stalled out. I wanted to include a variety of elements in that border – flying geese, half square triangles – that I wasn’t comfortable making, but didn’t want to waste any fabric on mistakes. I believe that’s wanting to have your cake and eating it too, non? :p Hopefully I find a way to practice so I can finish this quilt while LJ is small enough to use it!

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This last project is over a year old, but I’m proud of it and never shared it – so here it is! An old classmate was getting married and I was invited to the bridal shower. Being an ignoramus, I didn’t realize that bridal shower gifts are supposed to be, ahem, fertility related. These placemats were originally her bridal shower gift, but I wasn’t able to finish in time. Saved once again by failure! Luckily, I was also invited to the wedding, so I finished up the set and presented it as a wedding gift. This was a very simple quilting project where I got to try the technique of fussy cutting for the first time ever. I also did my first – and so far, only – applique! I did it all wrong, so I don’t know how long that part will last, but I did my best at the time. It was my first time working with Wonder Under, and I thought it would work just like interfacing. I was wronnnnnnng. Next time I work with Wonder Under, I’m going to read and follow all of the directions. At any rate, these placemats were so bomb I didn’t want to give them away. Buuuut I didn’t have the money or the confidence in my ‘picker’ to buy a wedding gift, so I had to part with my beloved creation.

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As for how these could benefit garments? Well, making custom appliques, sticking to where my passion guides me, fussy cutting, binding, and efficient piecing will definitely be handy. I could make quilted patch pockets, for starters. I have a denim skirt pattern with creative lines and back patch pockets that could certainly be jazzed up by piecing or quilting, and I could bind the edges, too.

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2 Comments

  1. Oooooh how exciting, a new sewing adventure! Leah Day has a really good video on You Tube explaining mitred corners and binding. I have followed her instructions and my finishes were much better. Looking forward to seeing your other quilting projects. Yay to more sewing!

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