I have been promising a peak at my grandmother's flower garden quilt that I've been working on for Silje. Today you will get more than you bargained for. I'm contributing a tutorial for sewmamasew.com on good uses for scraps.
My quilt is mostly in pinks with touches of green, purple, and browns. Favor is given to fabrics with roses in them. I'm trying to stay in the "shabby chic" look.
When you spend this much time on an heirloom quilt, it's important to put some heirloom elements in it. For instance, the bunny fabric here is leftover scraps from my baby blanket that "well loved" to the point where I didn't feel bad cutting into it.
The brown here is scraps from a flower girl dress I made for Silje.
The outer ring on this one was generously given to me from Silje's great-grandmother who is an avid quilter, and let me go through her scraps to find something for Silje's quilt.
And lastly, this green is scrap from the bedding I made for Silje's cradle.
But there are so many more to choose from. This will truly be a good "scrappy" quilt!
I'm using quilt patis to make this quilt, and at the risk of sounding like a commercial, I'll show you how to use them. I couldn't find a good tutorial on these. I wanted to make this quilt the traditional hand sewn way, but I was into sewing...not cutting a bazillion pieces of paper or cardboard. I happened to see these on a quilting t.v. show, and found them on eBay for cheap.
There's about 50 of these in a bag. They're plastic, and my size is the 1" size. I do have the 1.5" size too, because they came with the package I got, but I decided to use these for tedious sake.
They're very thin.
They're very flexible, so that you can take them out easily once you're done sewing.
So I cut my fabric to give a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the quilt pati. You need one for the center, 6 for the inner ring and 12 for the outer ring. (edit: I have learned since, thanks to my husband's sweet cousins, that you can cut a square too, which can be a time saver, and just wrap the edges around the quilt pati.)
Pin the quilt pati to your cut fabric, and secure in the middle with a pin.
Fold a corner down tightly, and hold with your fingers.
You want to make a stitch where the needle hits both cheeks, but not coming out the fold. You are not sewing the plastic template, just the fold sitting on top of it.
Do the same stitch you just did in the same spot to create a loop. This will secure it.
Then move onto the next fold.
Loop it around again before moving on to the next corner.
Finish all corners, and knot up when you get back to the beginning. You can now remove the pin.
Once you have at least 2, you can sew them together. Although, when I'm doing this not for the tutorial, I usually get all 19 of the patis ready for 1 flower, and then sew them together in a more continuous fashion, so I don't have to stop and make knots so often.
With right sides together, line them up and sew. I'm not sure what this stitch is called. Perhaps the whip stitch, or mattress stitch, or as I like to call it "putting it together anyway you know how" stitch. You should be sewing together just the fabric, not the plastic pati. It's really hard to sew through the plastic, so you won't do it by accident.
Voila! The purpose of all of this is to make sure all the sides are even and no pieces in the quilt are crooked. I have done some of the flowers in this quilt without the patis, but I have to iron every single seam then, and I can avoid the ironing with this method. You can ask Knut. I will do just about anything to avoid ironing. To me, sewing them on the patis is not tedious. Ironing 42 seams per flower is.
Once all sides of the hexagon have something attached to them, just pop the quilt pati out. All the quilt patis will be removed when the quilt is together. Of course this quilt will be hand quilted once the top is done. I'm crossing my fingers for a quilting frame for Christmas.
Repeat. I'm aiming for a full sized quilt, for those wondering.
What I love about this project is it's so portable. I can sew these on a road trip, or while watching a movie, or while sitting in my boys room making them...um...I mean waiting for them to fall asleep. Although I do intend to piece together some quilts on the machine, those quilts aren't portable, so you need to set aside a chunk of time to work on them. Most of what I have gotten done has been the result of keeping my hands busy while I wait, or sit and chat with a friend, and adds no more time to my day.
On a side note, surprisingly, many Sears stores have a decent little sewing supplies section. Check it out and possibly save with this Sears coupon.
So go ahead and try it. I dare you not to get addicted.