Friday, March 16, 2007

Back in the Studio

Yesterday I finally got the taxes done - the federal taxes, that is. I still have WI state tax forms to fill out, and to my dismay, I also have to file state tax forms in Idaho as well. If I'd only moved a month later, I wouldn't have been here long enough to qualify. But the bulk of the work is done and I definitely needed a break. I determined that today would be a studio day, the first in over a week.

After doing a bit of this and that (ritual of preparation), I settled down to experiment some more with the curved piecing technique I tried out with February's journal quilt. I took my leftover pieces and sewed them together with an insert as before, only this time I sewed with a narrower seam allowance. I arbitrarily chose to use one of the inner guides on my presser foot and it seemed to work pretty well.

Once pressed, the edge of the seam allowances butted up next to each other as if I had planned it.

This second pair were not the same width as the original pair, so rather than stop here and try some different quilting from the journal quilt, I decided to continue with the cutting and sewing. Here I simply rotary cut free-hand through the piece, nothing else layered underneath, and sewed the two sides back together with a bias insert.

Only one problem with this - with no registration marks or extra seam allowance added, my first try ended with the vertical insert not lining up. This might not bother some, but it did me. Also, I think because it was off a bit, there was one section that distorted. So I ripped out one seam, pinned along the stitching line and folded back to check for alignment. When I finally had it to my satisfaction, I left one pin in at the center and stitched again.

Better and the whole piece lies flatter now.

My next decision was to cut a piece out of the solid section with a print piece layered with it.
Now this method works best with gentle curves, and this obvious was not gentle enough. No way was this lying flat.
So out came the stitching and with the help of pins and some gentle tugging, I got it pieced relatively well. But as you can see, the whole piece is getting wonky now and it will need a bit of steam and squaring to make things right.

In the meantime, my brain was "what if"ing. What if I cut the corner piece and add an insert to widen it. Would it then fit better into the curved seam? I got in a hurry and forgot to add the insert. But yes, sewn directly to the other side, it fit quite nicely and smoothly. But I wanted that insert, so I took the stitching out and tried again.

Again, I found some kind of alignment necessary to get a good fit. But eventually I got it together.

I think my next step will be to sew some relatively straight inserts to join additional pieces to the smaller one to make it fit next to the larger piece. In the meantime, I'm thinking that, while a single gentle curved line works ok with this more casual method, once you start sub-cutting and adding to the original piece, things get weird. I think I would be happier sticking with my more controlled, albeit, more time consuming method of making templates and cutting pieces with proper seam allowance and registration marks. And sewing with lots of pins. That's not to say this is a bad method. Just to say that my personal aesthetic is more comfortable with more precise methods. I still may find places to use this though, and for someone who is freer and looking for a quicker way to sew curves, this method definitely can work.

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