Monday, August 22, 2011

Easy Quilt As You Go Tutorial - Design Board Monday

Two years ago, I was dozing sitting in a lecture by Katie Pasquini Masopust, when I heard something that caught my ears.  She was telling how she had put her amazing art quilt together by quilting it in sections on her regular machine and then she sewed the sections together.  She explained it quickly but it sound like all she did was sew them together and put a strip down the back to hide the seam.  Huh?!  That sounded wayyyyyyyy too easy.  So I just filed it until I could catch up with her later for further explaination.  Well. . . later turned out to be this summer at Quilting by the Lake and I asked her about it.  She said - yep - that's all you do.  She showed me her book where she explained it  - Fractured Landscaped Quilts (which of course I bought from her (grin)  Its really is a super book!).

Why all the interest you ask?  Well, I do have this monster commission memorial quilt that would like to be delievered to its new home.  All three sections managed to get quilted this week and by the weekend I was ready to sew them all together.  I thought I would blog out the method for you all, since it worked really well!

1. I cut 1.5" strips of the backing fabric.  I sewed them together so that they were long enough to stretch the entire length of the two columns  - 115" (yeah I know - ridiculious isn't it?)

2. Then, I cleared off my big sewing table and squared up my quilt using my 16" square.  I had quilted it to the edges just like each piece was its own individual quilt.  I like this method since I could use regular 44" width fabric for the backing without having to piece a back or buy special backing. (TIP: Buy large yardages of fabric when its super cheapie for backings just like this!  Got this RJR bolt for $2 a yard) 

3.  Then I took 2 columns, matched right sides together and pinned every 3" or so.  Make sure you're careful when pinning any points you need to match.

4.  I sewed them together on my machine (using the Accufeed 1/4" foot for all my Horizon owners!) with a smaller stitch length of 1.7 (which I normally use for piecing anyways).  I used the regular 1/4" seam allowance.

5.  I pressed the seams open and trimmed them to 1/8".  DO NOT sew the seam at 1/8" or you'll never get it to press open - don't ask me how I know this (grin)!

6.  Now this is where I differ from Katie's method.  I took my strip of backing folded it length wise wrong sides together and sewed.  I then took it to my ironing board and folded it over and ironed the seam under the new backing "tape".  Katie takes hers  - sews wrong sides together and pulls thru to the right side tube-style.  That just didn't seem fun to me since my tube was 115" long LOL!

7.  I then basted the long backing tape over the seam on back.  I did this old skol with a needle and thread on my big table - but I imagine you could use pins if you like.

8.  Then I used a blind applique stitch to stitch it down with matching thread.  This was a tedious, quiet process - I sat in my easy chair with my knees up and my big block 16" ruler on my lap under the quilt to use as a hard surface  - don't let your applique stitch go through to the front.  Let me just say about this part - Thank God for Netflix!
I picked this picture 'cause you can see how it went a little uneven
And Ta-daaaaaaa -  that's it - 8 hours later and all three columns were put together and you'd never know unless you look close that that backing tape is there.  It wasn't nearly as bulky as I thought .

As a side note:  I did design this quilt so that there were very few points to match once the three columns were put together.  Those that were there were easily matched because I pinned carefully  - the way that you would pin if it was just a normal quilt top.

Anyways - I will definitely be doing this method again.  I don't like to send out my work to a long arm machine quilter only because I like the quilt to have a "home hand made" look to it - plus I can do the design I had in mind for it.  This also keeps costs down for me and my clients.

All that's left is the binding - which I'm thinking of doing by machine - for the first time ever!  Funny how sewing down 390" of binding by hand doesn't sound fun (grin). . . .still I'll do a sample this week and we'll see if I like the look.

Hope this was clear - any questions please feel free to email me or comment!!

You can see more cool design boards at Judy's Patchworks!


Dee said...

I appreciate all the pictures to go along with your directions. I'm a visual person so it made it much easier for me to understand. I'm also amazed at how it looks at the end. You can barely tell you added a strip. Thanks for the instructions!

Bonnie said...

Nice description of that method. Lois Smith also does a quilt as you go method. But I don't think she has any hand work... hum, doesn't seem possible does it. Almost done with your quilt... keep working away.

Jean said...

I do my bindings by machine. I don't have enough patience for hand-sewing a binding. but then I'm a renegade...LOL!

QuiltSwissy said...

I hink I understand what you are doing. I have a QAYG set of blocks that got to be so much of a hassle I gave up and put them away. What you just described sounds much easier than what I was trying to do.


Chris said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I always wondered how it was done as well.

kwiltnkats said...

Thanks for your description of the process. I've not tried it before and might find it useful to know sometime down the road. I've got a king size quilt in my future...we went from a queen to a king just recently and nothing I've made so far will fit properly. Sandi

Annette said...

Brought John to your lovely blog and he said "I can do that~!" HA! Such beautiful work Nina, I am always so impressed and proud to know you after leaving.

PS: I want this patchwork it so much to ask???