Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Sewing EPP pieces to a central medallion


I've trawled though my blog trying to discover if I've already talked about sewing English paper pieced shapes to a central medallion, but the post I'd intended to write about this last summer can't be found, so I'm assuming not. When I was piecing my Rouenneries quilt it was the first time I'd attempted to sew pieced shapes to a medallion. I believe there are several ways of doing this and the one I tried first I know works for many, but sadly not for me. Initially, I used fabric glue on the back of the hexagons and, with my medallion sitting smoothly on a flat surface stuck the hexagonal border to it. All seemed well, but as I sewed I felt that the central piece of fabric wasn't lying quite as taut as I would have liked. No amount of easing it back into place and re-gluing it with better tension worked for me. It wasn't awful, it just didn't look perfect and the rumblings of an internal duck-fit were felt I'm unsure if a duck-fit is a widely used term, but my mother has always described the feeling of flapping around in despair or frustration in this way, which I think is such a lovely image (that of ducks suddenly flapping about, seemingly on the surface of the water, quacking frantically and flapping their wings and spraying water all about. It's always an unexpected event that seems to come out of nowhere).


One way of doing it would have been to create a central English paper pieced medallion which perfectly followed the inside edge stepping-stone line of the small hexagons and then sewing them together in the conventional way for EPP, using an edge-to-edge whip stitch. However, not only would this be fiddly to cut, but in the case of these shapes it would be virtually  impossible to wrap my fabric around so that wasn't an option.


Eventually I found a way of attaching my pieces to the central medallion that made me feel altogether more swan like. My problem was all about tension, so it made sense that if I was sewing hexagons of fabric that were firmly wrapped around card, then my medallion should have an identical tension brought about in the same way. I cut a template a little bigger (by about 3/8") than the aperture created by my ring of hexagons, so that I could sew them to the top of this shape. I sewed the medallion into place by using something which probably most resembles a whip stitch, but with not quite as many stitches per inch as I'd normally do for standard EPP. I sewed the inner edge of the small hexagons to wherever they rested on the central medallion. I lifted the fabric away from the card a little with the tip of the needle to make the stitch as it's really important not to let the stitches go through the centre of the medallion as it would be almost impossible to remove the card afterwards. When you're doing normal EPP if the odd stitch goes through the edge of the template it's not the end of the world because it will perforate the edge and still pull away easily. Here though, the stitches are made about 3/8" in from the edge of the card, so it would be disastrous (and may cause an unforeseen duck fit when it comes to trying to separate the two).

 
My medallions were actually a little bigger than an A4 sheet of card, so it involved sticking two pieces of card together with glue (as above). It's far better to do this with glue, rather than tape, as it meant I could press my work with the card still in place, once I'd finished. This stabilises the fabrics prior to card removal and has the additional benefit of the heat of the iron warming the glue a little, making it easier to separate the card from the fabric.

I'm yet to find a solution to the problem of finishing this project with any kind of speed, but I quite like that it's something I've picked up and put down over the last seven months as working with these fabrics still delights me.

Florence x

14 comments:

  1. Loving this quilt Florence! And I had wondered earlier about how you would keep it stable. This is a great solution.

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    1. Thank you! I'm working on it today and I've just ordered my batting so the end is in sight...sort of. x

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  2. Oh, I'm so glad you did a post about this as I'd been wondering how you had attached the hexagons to the centre fabric when I saw the quilt. Thank you! I'm looking forward to seeing the quilt all finished; what you've shown so far is gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you - it gave me such a prolonged strokey beard moment that I wondered if others might find it helpful - I'm so pleased they do.

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  3. What a great solution - I'm so excited to see this quilt Florence! Each picture you show gives such a teasing glimpse. Such a perfect showcase for the French General too :) Sx

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    1. Thank you, Sonia - that's really kind! Although my love for this fabric means I think it may look wonderful even as a bin liner - it's one of those fabric lines that I've completely fallen for and I love every single print...it's sounds like you have too! x

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  4. So, are you more or less appliqueing the small hexagons around the edge of the big one?

    These quilts you are making are really lovely.

    Thanks for the blog.

    Amanda

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    1. Yes, that's right - it's appliqueing the small hexagons on, but not to the very edge, as you would do in regular epp when joining two shapes.

      So pleased you like my quilts - thank you, Amanda!

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  5. Thanks for sharing these details, as I had wondered how you did those lovely hexagons around a bold fabric design.

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    1. I feel bad I hadn't done it earlier as it had been on my mind since last August!

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  6. Very clever! Thanks for this - I've just started to EPP (second attempt as the first did not take) so the timing on this is perfect. :-)

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    1. I'm so pleased - that's a shame the first attempt didn't work out well - if you look in my left-hand side bar you'll find a picture and link to a whole post I've written about my own first experiences with epp and what helped and what didn't.

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  7. You genius. I have literally never thought about this before, but have been idly thinking of making some sort of medallion pattern quilt, so I'm pleased that you've encountered the problem and found a solution before I've got there!

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    1. I'm so pleased to help - it was one of the few things I had to think through myself as for everything else someone came to my rescue and told me the best way of doing something...their ways just didn't work for me with this though (I may have been doing something wrong!) x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x