Here’s a quick tip we want to share with you which will help organize all the cut pieces of fabric before sewing blocks. Ever thought of using paper plates? Put all the pieces you need for one block on a plate; place another plate on top and fill it with the pieces for the next block and so on.
Then when you have a few minutes to sew, you can sit down and complete one or more blocks quickly without having to search out the pieces you need. This method works especially well with scrap quilts when you wish to distribute your colours evenly.
The best part of this tip is that you don’t have any dirty dishes to wash after you’re done! Check out your local dollar store for inexpensive paper plates. Don’t need anything fancy, just regular paper plates that come already stacked in a package.
Yes, now those challenging concave/convex, inside/outside curves of so many beautiful quilt blocks are within the reach of ALL quiltmakers…Double Wedding Ring or Drunkard’s Path… Wheel of Mystery, Wheels of Whimsy, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, Improved Nine Patch, Royal Cross… The Strips and Curves quilts… Turn traditional blocks into curved-seam creations…All possible with the Curve Master Presser Foot.
This foot was invented by a quilter, for quilters. This “snap-on” foot comes with several universal adapters to fit most sewing machines. Pieces that help this foot adapt work with machines like Viking, Husqvarna, Janome, Bernina, Pfaff, Singer Featherweight, new Singer machines, Brother, Kenmore, Juki, Elna, BabyLock, Necchi and more!
The Curve Master allows even beginners to sew:
On Any Sewing Machine
¼” Seams, Either Scant or Full, and Curved or Straight
At a Steady, Medium-to-Fast Machine Speed
Without Stopping to Align Fabrics
Producing Square Blocks that Rarely Require Trimming,
AND, Without Pinning, Marking or Clipping!!!
Want one for yourself? Find the Curve Master Presser Foot HERE, If you are interested in the Accuquilt die that Vanessa talks about in the video you can find it HERE, but feel free to try your own curved pieces cut the from the pattern of your choice.
Watch the video below for you to see this foot in action.
Ever looked at those romantic quilts with curved or scalloped edges? Seen rounded corners on some old-time quilts. They are very beautiful but how do you attach the binding without getting all puckered up? Well, relax and read this post. Let’s start at the beginning as we look at bias binding.
Bias binding is not only beautiful but is so practical. Quilters prefer it for three reasons:
I. Bias binding wraps around curved edges, rounded corners and scallops. Because the fabric used to make bias binding is cut “on the bias” it bends and stretches as you manipulate it around your quilt’s edge.
II. Practically speaking, bias binding is strong and durable on all those quilts that will go through hard use. There’s just something about the fabric threads at an angle that makes the binding withstand wear and lots of use.
III. Striped or plaid fabrics result in a fabulous candy cane or barber shop sign effect. Very cool and effective. Some of our customers only use bias bindings with striped fabric because they love the look so much!
Now we want to share with you how to create your own double fold bias binding efficiently through the “tube method”. This method gives you a long, continuous piece of bias fabric with little waste. No cutting endless short strips and wasting weird pieces at the end!
The amount of fabric needed to give you an adequate length of bias binding is determined by the following four step formula:
1. Measure the length of bias strip needed to go around the perimeter of your quilt sandwich. Remember to be somewhat “generous” in your measurement as you will have hills and valleys to wrap the binding around.
2. Determine the width of cut strip wanted. Most bias bindings are 2 to 2 1/2″ wide.
3. Multiply the “length” x “width” of cut strip = area of fabric
Example: 230″ in length needed to go around your quilt x 2″ wide = 460″ area
4. Find square root of the area to give you the size of square you need. Use a scientific calculator to get the square root or estimate and multiply until the find the “closest EVEN NUMBER” that matches the “area” you came up with in Step #3. Round up the square root to a simple number. Eg. the square root of 460 is 21.4476105895, go with a 22″ square!
5. Cut a square the size of your square root area. OR 22″ square in our example.
13 STEPS TO MAKING YOUR VERY OWN CONTINUOUS BIAS BINDING:
1. Cut your fabric square (as per size calculated above) from the fabric you want to use as bias binding.
2. Cut your square in half diagonally.
3. Overlap the two triangles that you have created (right sides together). Make sure to overhang the points at both ends of the pinned edge evenly.
4. Sew the pinned edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
5. Your piece should now look like a parallelogram (remember geometry?)
6. Press the seam allowance open taking care not to stretch or distort your bias seam. Now mark lines with your ruler. Distance between the lines will be the width of bias binding you want. Eg. 2″, 2 1/4″, etc.
7. Cut a slit about 5″ long or so along the line closest to the edge as shown.
8. After cutting the “slit”, fold both of the outside corners to the middle and pin as shown matching up the lines on both sides of the soon to be seam. NOTE – it is crucial at this point to stagger this seam as you pin it in place leave the slit you cut as a tail off the side. I know it looks a little weird at this point but trust me, this is going to be fabulous!
9. Sew the seam where you have pinned it together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
10. After sewing the seam allowance, cut carefully along the lines you drew earlier (remember those lines are on the wrong side of your fabric and won’t be seen when they become enclosed in the seam of your quilt later. Cutting this is becomes the funnest part.
11. You are cutting a long continuous spiral. Kinda like those apple peeling tools that cut the apple peel off an apple in one continuous string.
12. Now you can take this long length of continuous bias binding to your iron and press all the seam joins you have open. Then press the binding in half lengthwise WRONG SIDES TOGETHER matching the raw edges.
13. VOILA! Now you have miles (or at least several metres of continuous bias binding to be used on your quilt sandwich that is awaiting binding. Some quilters use this method for all of their bindings. But remember this is the best kind of binding for curves, scallops and as a way of seeing that candy cane effect.
Sew the the double fold bias to the edge of your quilt or placemat (did I mention that this method works great on placemat bindings?! Be very careful not to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the bias strip. Be especially careful as you go around curves.
Next time, we hope to be able to show you how to apply this binding onto your project and get them curves bound up!
Did you know that you can get “black batting” for your quilt sandwich? Hobbs creates 80/20 batting not only in natural but also black. This black batting won’t show through a dark quilt top and is preferred by expert quilters. This batting enhances the integrity and richness of vivid and dark fabrics such as reds, maroons, browns, greens, navy and other dark coloured quilt tops.
Heirloom® Premium 80/20 Black Cotton Blend is highly recommended for quilt tops created in black, navy or other dark colors. It is made using dyed cotton fibers to provide quilters with a batting that will not create light fiber lint on the quilt top during the quilting process.
This product is manufactured in the same manner as our Premium 80/20 in the natural cotton. This batting is made with 80% dyed cotton and 20% polyester. It is lightly needle punched and resin bonded to provide exceptional strength and durability.
Black Cotton Blend is wonderful to quilt by hand or machine. Close quilting yields a flat low loft appearance while more space between stitching lines yields a slightly higher loft. You may experience shrinkage of 3-5% and it may be quilted up to 4” apart.
Our shop is brimming with bolts and bolts of Batik Handpaints and Cantik Batiks right now. We
have lots of bolts on both levels of the store as well as kits and precuts. We have so many that we often think we are going to have to hang them from the ceiling pretty soon!
It’s easy to fall in love with the richness of the colours used in batiks. The colours range from tone on tone “Flavours” and “Watercolors” to multi-coloured Handpaints. We still have lots of bolts of regular printed cotton on bolts in the store as well. So many possibilities and yet there seems to be a myth out there in the quilt world. The myth is this (and I hear it almost every week) “You cannot mix batiks and printed cottons into one project!” What? Where has this come from? No one seems to know, but we want to bust that myth and suggest that YES, you can combine batiks (or not) with other printed cottons!
Some two hundred years ago when quilt making was in the early stages, ladies pieced and quilted with silks, wools and drapery fabrics. They used whatever they would get a hold of. In the last few decades we have seen batiks and printed cottons used and designed together by a few designers such as Editya Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts and Pat Sloan who designs for Moda Fabrics. We have sold several kits that have both types of fabrics in them. Batiks and quilting cottons marry together beautifully in a project, use them alone or in combination with traditional fabrics for a fantastic effect! An excellent example is the sampler quilt pictured below.
Traditional cottons & batiks are beautifully combined in this sampler quilt
Tips for Sewing with Batiks:
1. Microtex Sewing Machine Needle– either a 80/12 or 90/14 size of Microtex needles we get from Schmetz have a very slim acute point. Batiks have a dense thread count. This very thin acute point creates beautiful stitches for quilt piecing. A 50 weight thread is good for piecing batiks.
2. Right Side or Wrong Side? – Batiks are almost reversible! It’s hard to tell right side or wrong side? In the batik-making process, the wax that creates the design sinks into the fabric. As a result, both sides of the fabric show a clear image after dyeing, and it is often hard to tell a difference between the right and wrong side of the fabric. When both sides are virtually identical, take your pick; I choose the right side to be where the design is clearer with less fuzzy edges.
3. Densely Woven – Batiks don’t fray as much when handled and pieces cut on the bias hardly stretch at all. These fabrics have a smooth texture that makes them easier to press and they’ll give you sharp, crisp points.Batiks press like a dream. Pressing seams to one side or open with a batik fabric is a pleasure because they hold their shape where you set your iron.
4. Prewash? – You may want to prewash your batiks before cutting and quilting with them, it’s up to you. They will soften up with washing.
One of several Batik fabric shelves in the store
Hopefully we’ve inspired you to sew with batiks if you’ve been apprehensive. You’ll be so happy you did!