Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Making Perfect Circles or other shapes

I'm always coming up with ideas for quilts that involve curves or otherwise un-patchworkable pieces. This it the best way I know to precisely attach shapes to one another without hand stitching it (which is also rewarding, just not so fast)

1) cut your shapes from freezer paper (it's the best tool I have great for pattern making, and also this applique). Avoid inverted shapes. Just "outies". At least at first. Also, cut very smoothly and precisely. This will be your exact shape--no messing around later. This is it.

I used round objects from all around and cut with my fave, the xacto blade.

2) Iron the waxy side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric.

3) trim to within a quarter inch of the freezer paper.

4) cut slits into the quarter inch seam allowance. Get close to the paper, but don't cut through.

5) take a standard, non-colored glue stick and go 1/2 around your shape.

6) With your dominant hand, tightly fold down the edge so it's snug against the paper. Take your other hand and follow along, just to reinforce the finger-pressing.

Now you've got your shapes done, pin or hold your fabric pieces together.
Here's where your sewing machine comes in handy. I used the blanket stitch, but almost all machines come with a blind hem stitch. Just adjust the dials. I also used the open toe embroidery foot so that I can really see the stitches.

I used black thread so you could really see it, but you could use invisible thread (get the quality kind, or it's a total mess)

After it's stitched, you can take the sewn-in freezer paper out by cutting slit in the back an wetting down the areas where you glue-sticked (stuck?) it. If it's really sticking, you can use tweezers.

So that's pretty much it. Stitch your heart out!

Here's my machine's stitch card--I used #28. But seriously, the blind hem stitch looks just like that.

Here's something I learned after doing a million of these--stitch your freezer paper piece onto NON=freezer paper back fabric. Then, inside the stitching, cut out the extra fabric. Now your freezer paper will be revealed, and you can remove it. Like this:

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:40 AM

Read or Post a Comment

I love the look of these circles. How wonderful that you get to have some fun after your period of production for shows.

Posted by Blogger Shona~ LALA dex press @ 9:11 AM #

That's a brilliant idea indeed. I was looking to make some funky circle wall decorations with the oodles of stash materials I have lurking, but I've never appliqued before so was a bit scared - but - problem solved!

btw - do you have an RSS feed on your blog? I'd love to add it to my Google reader list, but I couldn't see one.


Posted by Blogger Crafty librarian @ 9:32 AM #

That is a nice tutorial with good pictures.

However - I would advise sewers not to use the gluestick - the glue can get caught in your machine and gum it up very nastily.

Instead - try ironing the edges of the circle up, the ripping off the freezer paper before sewing.

Thanks! I don't have an account so this is anon - AMB

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 1:26 PM #

That's a good suggestion. I have done lots of this glue-sticking thing, and haven't had any trouble, but it probably depends on what kind of glue-stick, and how tick you're putting it on. So just check it out before you cut out a million shapes.

And I hadn't thought about it, but I guess you could turn the freezer paper waxy side up and iron the edges to it--that would take forever to iron, however.

Thanks for stopping by! Good crafty discussion is always helpful!

Posted by Blogger Beth Howard @ 2:57 PM #

Another great tutorial! I love the fabrics you have shown, too. I would think you could also use a sewing spray adhesive (the name escapes me now) on the back. It doesn't last forever and washes out.

Posted by Anonymous Miss Sassy @ 8:36 AM #

I have also had some success with spray starch. It might be tricky with cirlces that small but what I did was spray some in a small cup, painted it onto the edges of the fabric, then I pressed it to the back of the piece just like you glue sticked (stuck) it. This is time consuming but the paper is a little easier to remove. I have even removed the paper before stitching the piece down and the starch helped hold the shape. I am going to use this this weekend to make water ripples. I hope it works!

Posted by Blogger Lucy @ 9:42 AM #

Thanks for this brilliant idea! Your tutorial is very nice, thanks!!

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