Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sick Day

We were woken up by the Pixie at about four in the morning....she reported that the Punk had puked in both beds. My day has just been one round of eew after another.

I could not work on Rambo Bright. That requires too much concentration to keep my designs straight in my head from block to block. Instead I pulled some blues and threw this top together:

I wanted to practice sewing free-form curves.

But now, how to finish? There are several options.

I could quilt and bind traditionally (by hand or machine). I could quilt and "art bind" by turning the entire binding to the back so it doesn't show on the front - a good option for a piece large enough to need a hanging sleeve. The outside measurements for this piece is 22"x 14" so I know I'll likely hang it with pushpins.

I chose to bag this quilt.

Bagging is basically finishing the edges before you quilt. It's not recommended for any project larger than a baby quilt, but it's great for small art, mugrugs, table runners, or wherever you don't want a traditional binding. It's also the easiest method that allows me to follow the natural skewed lines around the edges of an improv piece.

Here's how I did it. (The Bagging Tutorial)

1. Obtain a backing of the approximate same size as the top. Press it well. I pieced a backing using leftovers from another quilt.

2. Estimate batting size by laying your top on the goods and trimming around. You do not need to give a lot of extra around the edges. This is a great place to use frankenbatting.

3. Layer in this order: batting first, then backing, right side up. You could chose to spray baste between these layers. I did not.

Then smooth your top wrong side up on top of the batting and backing. The top and backing will be right sides together. Using your fingertips, feel around the edges to make sure there is batting underneath the entire top. Reposition if necessary.

4. Once you are satisfied with the smoothness of your quilt sandwich, pin around all four sides using straight pins. The space between the double pins is to be left open for turning. The double pins remind me to not sew in that space...a good trick for someone scatterbrained like myself.

5. Switch to a walking foot if you have one, and pop in a 90/14 topstitch needle (or whatever you would normally use for quilting). Sew around the entire piece, leaving a space to turn; backstitch at double pin markers. Follow the edges of your top, rather than squaring up (unless that's your thing). This gives you that organic shape and wastes less fabric.

Where there is huge discrepancy in the shape, just wing it: use your stitching to smooth the shape a little (unless you like to deal with more than four corners on a piece). You can barely see my stitching line on the light blue, but you can see the results in the final pictures.

6. Trim by running your rotary cutter about 1/4" away from your line of stitching. Chop the corners to make for easier turning.

7. Reach between the top and the backing and turn inside out. Use a bone folder to push out the corners. Also, run it around the entire line of stitching to stretch your fabric to the stitching line in preparation for pressing. Then, using steam, press the three layers from the top to make sure your backing doesn't show on the front. Press the edges of the opening in.

8. Slipstitch the opening closed. Press again to meld the layers together.

9. Pin baste. Generously.

10. If you want your label quilted on, fuse or applique a label to the back now. Do it after quilting if you prefer.

11. Quilt as desired. Stop when it looks good. You're done when you clip the final thread. I used my walking foot and meandered waves across the entire piece.

12. Enjoy! I stuck pins in each corner and hung this "Fish Tank" on the wall behind the tv. This way I have something nice to look at while the Pixie is on a Treehouse kick. (The second picture didn't want to include the weird corner.)

The added bonus? We now have two new pets who never need feeding.

I think I'll call them Stinky and Slimy. They shall by my spokesfish for a new camera.


  1. Looking fantastic Michelle...we had that crazy flu last week, absolutely no fun.

  2. ¡your works are beautiful!
    see you soon


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