Friday, March 1, 2013

Straight and Square

I went through my pile of scraps, searching for a starting point. I roughly sorted into sizes. What emerged was this collection of pieces with straight cut sides and square corners. This is an excellent place to start improvisation lessons.

Grab two pieces and put them right sides together; place them next to your machine to be sewn together. I match by length or width. You can see that none of these are perfect matches, and that is not a problem because your seam will provide the match.

Some of the long pieces were matched with much shorter pieces.

I took my rotary cutter and slashed off the excess so that it could be used in another match.

After sewing and pressing my pairs I had a table full of two piece units.

Take that blue and green unit from the middle. I place one straight edge along a straight line on my cutting mat and then eyeball where the perpendicular line is. I'm not using a ruler to cut. If I cut this one into three...

And then turn one set around.....I have a perfectly matched four-patch! That goes back into the pile to await a seam. The leftover third bit goes back into the mix.

I took this unit and trimmed the little end off. I cut this deep because I had a selvedge to remove.

I could put on another unit, like this:

Or I could do something like this:

Or even work a larger "block" type of unit like this:

The point is that you've already chosen scraps that are colour coordinated, so you need to (more-or-less) match sizes and just sew.

These units are matched to accommodate the selvedge that needs to be cut off after sewing.

I think these units are a nice fit and they'd look good together.

I pulled out my rotary cutter and slashed the excess bit off. It's not actually a straight cut, but it is now a match.

I've lined up this unit with a straight line to show you the curved bottom edge.

I've decided to keep this as a long "string unit" so I will use a ruler to straighten the edge. Then I'll add a strip I cut from coordinating yardage.

To cut the yardage I am using a ruler not to measure, but to keep the fabric flat through pressure. Flannelette is quite fuzzy and has a high loft that could prevent my blade from going through all layers (4 shown). If you were sewing with quilting cotton, you could easily eyeball these straight cuts. Be brave, dear Reader....I cut fabric without a ruler all the time and you still love my results.

Here is where I'm stopping for the day: I have put a frame around my four-patch unit.

I have a large "block,"

And a few small block of these received frames on only two sides.

I have a strip pieced unit that has huge amounts of potential: I could cut it perpendicular to the seams and make one long strip to use as sashing, borders, unit within other blocks; I could slash it - anywhere - and insert more strips; I could use it as "filler" when I put my blocks all together into a whole top.

So go sew! I've got many, many more ideas for us to work through....

Tomorrow I'll show you how to work with weirdly shaped pieces.

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