My Very First Quit…….top layer

Phew……making that quilt was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have a lot to write about this project so I have separated it into two posts. This is the quilt I started way back in February. In my head it seemed so straightforward and I was looking forward to an easy sewing project. It started off that way. The first thing I did was to cut out all my squares for the patchwork front of the quilt. I wanted all my squares to be 8cm x 8cm in the finished design so leaving 1/4 inch seam allowance around the edge, I cut each square out to a size of 92mm x 92mm. This was the perfect size as I had bought a quarter metre of each fabric and therefore could get three squares across the width of the fabric I had bought…..just.

Cutting these out was not as easy as I thought it would be. Using scissors I couldn’t cut through more than 3 layers of fabric at a time. Any more than this and the fabric moved around A LOT. So, I used a cardboard template and drew round it with a washable pen onto the fabric folding it so that I could cut 3 out at a timeThis meant a lot of drawing round the template then cutting then drawing then cutting then drawing then cutting……….you get the idea. With hindsight, I could have made a paper pattern with a grid marked out on it and then I could have pinned it to the fabric and cut without all the drawing. It took ages and hurt my hands but I was glad when it was done.

 

Original Lay Out
Original Lay Out

Next, I laid out my design and played with it until I was happy. I started in the centre and worked my way out radially. I didn’t have a plan and the beginning and in the end I didn’t quite have enough of anything to make it completely symmetrical unless I put three turquoise squares next to each other at either end. It doesn’t look great so I moved a few things around to make it less symmetrical but at least it doesn’t have three of any pattern together.

With the design in hand I gathered the squares in rows and ironed them before sewing them together in rows so that I had 11 strips of what looked like very decorative toilet paper….  In order to minimise the bulk at the points where 4 squares meet, the seamm allowances on the even numbered rows were pressed in the opposite direction to the odd-numbered rows before they were sewn together in order to give the top half of my quilt. This looked so much better than when the squares were just laid out next to each other.

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The problem with the way I cut out the squares became apparent when it came to sewing the pieces together. With two very geometric prints, the seams needed to align with the pattern so that my elephants didn’t look like they were marching along under the influence. wpid-20140702_101137.jpgThis meant a new cardboard pattern to draw around on each and every square so that the patterns were as straight as possible on the final patchwork and a lot of careful pinning to make sure each seam was where I wanted it even though the edges of the seam allowance didn’t match up.

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It is difficult to tell from the picture above but the cardboard isn’t square on the piece of fabric. The extended process was irritating but made the completion of sewing the pieces together all the more satisfying.

20140219_095302The finished patchwork draped over my sewing machine

More on the quilting of this later….

 

 

 

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