Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We have the technology...

....but not the memory capacity. Yesterday's how-to photos were reconstructed using the patterns I made, after I made the decision to blog the process, rather than during the process of making the heart. The next stage I can't illustrate, but at the end I shall give you some links that will explain it better than I can.

I like to assemble my pieces on a fabric background. I use the parts of old sheets that are too good for dusters. Here's how;

1. Chose a piece of cloth that gives a good 2" or 3" border around your heart. I like to try out stitches on the side. Use the negative of your heart as a stencil to draw the outline in pencil on your background. Then draw in the seam lines. If you can't see the end of your original lines on the paper, re-assemble your pattern bits inside the stencil and mark the ends of the lines. You now have your sewing lines marked on your background fabric.

2. Hold your background fabric up to the window, and copy your pencil lines onto the other side of the background fabric. Why? Because there is bound to be someone like me who cuts out her bits of fabric back to front by mistake and needs to make a mirror image....but even if you are too careful to do that, it helps a lot having the markings on both sides.

3. Use the frame you made to choose which part of your patterned fabric you want for your centrepiece. When you are happy, hold down one side of the frame with tape or a weight, and slide your number 1 pattern with seam allowance piece under the frame, until the lines match up, then hold it down while you remove the frame. You can now draw around your pattern with the seam allowance, and cut it out, knowing that as long as you keep your seam ¼" from the edge, your chosen motif will be just where you want it.

4. Tack this piece in place, right side up. I work right next to the window so I just hold the work up to the glass to position it, but you could always mark the seam allowance on your background if you don't want to eyeball it.

5. From now on it is straightforward foundation piecing. Cut out patch 2 with seam allowance. Be accurate along the seam lines, but if you intend to do a lot of embroidery or quilting later, give yourself a little extra along the outside edge; the one marked with a circle.

6. Place piece 2, right side up, next to piece 1, edge to edge, then flip it over, right side to right side, and sew along the seam line. You can pin or tape it in place first if you wish. You can sew by hand or machine from the right side if you are happy you know you can judge ¼", or your machine foot tells you, or, you can turn the whole thing over and stitch along the seam line you have conveniently drawn on the other side. (See, I told you it would come in handy..)

7. Repeat step 6 for all your other pieces, give it a light press, then place your heart stencil over the patchwork and get your first idea of how it will look when it is completed. If you are happy, tack around the outside edge of the heart through the stencil. It doesn't matter now if the outside edge is not exactly where it was originally marked, as long as you have at least ¼" allowance outside your tacking. You can see from my photo that I have changed the angle of my outline, because I preferred it that way.

8. The next step is to decorate the seams with embroidery. This can be as much or as little as you like. You can choose the same colours as are in your heart, or a complete contrast, that is entirely up to you. You can see above that I have made a start with black, because I want to blend the background of the centre in to the surrounding patches. Next time I shall show you the start of the embroidery process. For now, here's a link to a video that might help you visualise what I have been trying to explain, but if you want a Masterclass, hop over to Melissa's Blog, and read through her tute, and see how it should be done!

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