All posts by TeresaDownUnder

Revisiting improv patchwork tutorials

A series of blocks and mini quilts made using improvisation techniques.

The techniques do not belong to any book. I just use my scissors and a vague idea in my mind of what I want to achieve which does not always correspond with what the final block looks like, but that’s where the fun is. I try to use 1/4 inch seams but sometimes the seams turn out slightly wider or narrower. I tend to press to the side the seam goes naturally though I also press open where there is a lot of bulk.

The process to create the blocks are demonstrated using lots of pictures.

  1. Free form, free motion patchwork
  2. Free form patchwork mini quilt – visual creative process
  3. improv / free form quilt block number 1
  4. Improv / free form quilt block number 2
  5. Improv / free form quilt block number 3
  6. Improv / free form quilt block number 4
  7. Improv / free form quilt block number 5
  8. Improv / free form quilt block number 6
  9. Improv / free form patchwork headboard cover
  10. Reversible tray cover

Block 12: Puff gathering – Textured quilt sampler tutorial

Detail of puff gathering 

This block requires hand sewing.

Block type: log cabin

Block size: 11 inches

Colour scheme: reds and neutrals

Texture/fabric manipulation: puff gathering

Quilt size: The finished quilt is 52 ½ x 52 ½.

Needs:

  • one 7in x 7 in rectangle in red tones for the textured centre square
  • two 5 in x 3 1/2 in rectangles and two 11 in x 3 1/2 in rectangles for the border
Making the puffs
Puff gathering is the reverse side of star gathering and it is made the same way as star gathering.
Cut one 7in x 7in square and start marking your puffs as per graph above as for the Star gathering block.
Adjust the spacing in the graph below, which I used for the star gathering block, to the following spacing:  mark your circles at 1 1/4 inches instead of 1 inch and 2 1/2 inches intervals instead of 2 inches, ie add an extra 1/2 inch to each measure.
Also I made the circles 1/2 inch instead of 3/8 inches but it will work just as nicely as using the spacing used in the graph below.

I drew the circles by hand though you could use a template. I don’t think it will show in the result if the circle is not perfect.
Start stitching around the circle from the back of the fabric.

When you end stitching around, pull the thread to gather the fabric  making sure a puff is created on the other side.

If necessary, hold the puff from the other side as you pull the thread.

Finish with a double knot to ensure the thread doesn’t slip.

When you have done all the puffs it’s time to stretch (not press) the square.

If possible pin your square to the ironing board stretching the texture.

Now, put the iron on the steaming setting and place it on top of the fabric without touching. The humidity and heat will be enough to help flatten the square.

Let it dry. When dried remove it from the ironing board.

Trim the square to 5 inches.

Now stitch the border to the centre square.

The block is done.

Variation for this block

If you have a nice geometric print, you could use the pattern to guide you make the grid for the texture as I did (see picture).

I used the pattern to stitch the puffs at regular intervals using the flowers as guides and stitching every two flowers. Polka dots or gingham would work well too.

Textured blocks tutorials

This is the 12th block in a series of 25 exploring texture in fabric.

Each block is made out of a centre 5 inch square featuring some fabric texture such as pin tucks, smocking, shirring and the like. Then a 3 1/2 wide border encloses each centre square.

The colour scheme is red and white/cream alternating reds and white/cream for the centre square and border.

Some of the textures show better on plain colours than on heavily patterned fabric.

See all Textured quilt sampler tutorials for this quilt.

Share your pictures

Are you making this quilt? Share your pictures on Flickr’s TeresaDownUnder group.

Block 11: Star gathering – Textured quilt sampler tutorial

Closeup

This block requires hand sewing.

Block type: log cabin

Block size: 11 inches

Colour scheme: reds and neutrals

Texture/fabric manipulation: star gathering

Quilt size: The finished quilt is 52 ½ x 52 ½.

Needs:

  • one 7 in x 7 in square in white
  • two 5 in x 3 ½ in rectangles and two 11 in x 3 ½ in rectangles for the border
  • matching stranded cotton
Making the star gathering
Cut one 7in x 7in square and mark it in a grid at 2 in intervals alternating in rows on the wrong side of the fabric. See drawing below.
The circles are 3/8 in in diameter. They are spaced 2 inches apart from top to bottom and 1 inch apart from left to right.
I drew the circles by hand though you could use a template. I don’t think it will show in the result if the circle is not perfect.

You will notice I drew double circles. This is so because I started with 1/4 inch circles and they turned out too small so I drew them larger.

Now, following the circle lines start stitching with a running stitch. When you reach the starting knot, pull the thread very tight to make a very small puff and then secure the thread by making two more stitches on top of the last one and cut the thread.

I stitched all the puffs on the diagonal though it doesn’t matter how you stitch your puffs.

This is the reverse side of the square.

This is the right side.

Stretch the square on to some padded board or iron table and pin. Then use the iron to steam the square really well without pressing. This is enough to flatten the piece and preserve the nice gathering.

This is what the square looks like after steaming.

The texture is quite subtle because the circles are only 3/8.

And the back.

Now let’s trim the square to 5 inches. Mark the back of the square to 5 inches.

Trim.

Cut two 5 in x 3 ½ in rectangles and two 11 in x 3 ½ in rectangles for the border.

Attach the border and you’re done.

Textured blocks tutorials

This is the 11th block in a series of 25 exploring texture in fabric.

Each block is made out of a centre 5 inch square featuring some fabric texture such as pin tucks, smocking, shirring and the like. Then a 3 1/2 wide border encloses each centre square.

The colour scheme is red and white/cream alternating reds and white/cream for the centre square and border.

Some of the textures show better on plain colours than on heavily patterned fabric.

See all Textured quilt sampler tutorials for this quilt.

Share your pictures

Are you making this quilt? Share your pictures on Flickr’s TeresaDownUnder group.

Block 10: Prairie points pinwheel – Textured quilt sampler tutorial

Block type: log cabin

Block size: 11 inches

Colour scheme: reds and neutrals

Texture/fabric manipulation:  prairie points pinwheel

Quilt size: The finished quilt is 52 ½ x 52 ½.

Needs:

  • 4   2 ¾ in squares in white
  • 4  2 ¾ in squares in red for the prairie points
  • two 5 in x 3 ½ in rectangles and two 11 in x 3 ½ in rectangles for the border
Making the prairie points

Cut 4   2 ¾ in squares in red.

Fold the square in half and press.

Then mark the centre of the folded rectangle and fold towards the mark line making a triangle on each side as on the picture.

Arrange the prairie points with the openings facing the white fabric making a pinwheel as in the photo and pin each prairie point to the white square.

Stitch each prairie point to the white square.

Now stitch in pairs as per photo.

Stitch both rectangles into a pinwheel and press well.

Now add the border.

And you have finished the prairie points pinwheel block.

Textured blocks tutorials

This is the 10th block in a series of 25 exploring texture in fabric.

Each block is made out of a centre 5 inch square featuring some fabric texture such as pin tucks, smocking, shirring and the like. Then a 3 1/2 wide border encloses each centre square.

The colour scheme is red and white/cream alternating reds and white/cream for the centre square and border.

Some of the textures show better on plain colours than on heavily patterned fabric.

See all Textured quilt sampler tutorials for this quilt.

Share your pictures

Are you making this quilt? Share your pictures on Flickr’s TeresaDownUnder group.

Embroidery tutorial round up

I tend to use embroidery mostly to embellish sewn items. Here is a list of items I have embellished using embroidery or where embroidery is the main element.

  1. French cuisine embroidery tea towel
  2. Reversible tray cover using improv piecing and embroidery
  3. Napkin embroidery
  4. Reversible tray cover using improv piecing and embroidery
  5. Love is the answer… hot water bottle cozy tutorial
  6. Embroidered eye mask tutorial
  7. Fabric keychain with embroidered flower
  8. Noel embroidery mounted on canvas
  9. Mini Christmas quilt
  10. Peace wall hanging tutorial
  11. Charm squares and embroidery tote bag
  12. Christmas quilted Noel wall hanging
  13. Elf quilted wall hanging
  14. Embroidered quilt tutorial: Part I and Part II
  15. Merry Christmas embroidery tutorial
  16. Embroidered hot water bottle cover