Saturday, February 21, 2009

Step by Step: A Quilted Notecard

hmmm. They only flipped 2 of 21 images. I guess that's a good thing. Now to put them in order and proceed with this post...

Over the past year, I've shown you a number of the quiltlets/cards that I've made for friends and family. This is a relatively easy process, that gets easier with practice. The first few cards took hours, now, depending upon what kinds of odds and ends I have handy, I can whip them out pretty quickly. The first thing I need is an idea. This can be knowing a person who needs a card, or celebrating an occasion that warrants acknowledgement or even just the opportunity to explore a possible new color scheme. I'm also big on using leftovers from finished quilts, to make cards.

Anyway, today's project is a thank you card for a gentleman who was a GREAT help to me on Thursday. He seems to have a fondness for quiltie ladies, so that tells me that he might appreciate his own little quilted thank you note.

I had this mini purple star on my design wall. It was made from pieces of something or other, I don't remember what. But I've had it on the wall, thinking that the center would be perfect for a quilted message: all I needed was a message.

To begin with, I position the block on a 5" x 7" piece of cotton batting.

Then, I find a scrap that will help to fill in the blanks, and begin sewing, using my walking foot.

I press the added piece open, and make sure that the batting is covered.

In this picture I've already added the second piece (the blues) and am adding the third (the yellow).

As you can see, the batting is disappearing. If I need to use some of the fabrics that are overhanging the batting to cover this particular card, I will trim early. But for the sake of demonstration, I will leave everything extended, so that you can see each step of the process.

Here I am getting ready to sew on the last piece. Notice that it is positioned near the top of the batting, not lined up with the excess yellow fabric. My goal at this point is to cover the batting, and that's it.

If I'm adding a pieced strip, it really helps to use some sort of stiletto to keep the seams down in the manner in which they've been pressed.

When all of the batting has been covered, this is what it looks like: (And if you're wondering what the "null" symbol is on my cutting mat, that is my note to myself that this cutting mat has been used to cut flannel and batting. It is NOT good for cutting regular fabric. I use it solely for cutting flannels and batting.)

When I flip the card over, this is what it looks like.

Time to trim it down to the batting. It is absolutely KEY to make sure that the corners are cut 90 degrees. If that means trimming down the batting, fine. Trim it down. If the corners are not sharp and 90 degrees at this point, they never will be.

This is what it looks like, once it's been trimmed.

And here's the top.

I pick a backing piece and lay the quiltlet on top.

I trim the backing to 5/8", all the way around.

Then it's time to press. This step is also critical. I press down one side, making sure that the crease in the extension is nice and crisp.

Then, using the stiletto, I turn the corner up to a 45 degree angle. I LEAVE A GAP (about the size of the stiletto's tip) between the batting and the corner of the angle. This gives the backing some ease, as I pull it to the front and press again.

See how I have this nice sharp angle?

Oh, phooey.

I took all of these pictures, and I just now realized that I didn't take any of sewing down the backing. I'll have to come back and do that in a second post, on another card. For now, I'll tell you that I turn under the raw edge so that the self-binding measures about 1/4". The corners are tricky, and the stiletto is once again instrumental in helping me turn them.

Once the back is sewn to the front, it looks like this:

At this point I add my free-motion message:

The final message is a bit shakier than I like, but there are seam allowances under the words, and there's not much I can do about it at this point. I also noticed that the star seems "poofy," so I pulled out my walking foot and quilted around the star points.

Of course my final picture is tipped. I am grateful that the important step by step pictures are not.

Be sure to sign your name to your work of art, and date it. I usually do that in a matching color (I've signed this one on the bottom green triangle) because I don't want my signature to distract from the body of the card. But it is a handmade gift, and hopefully the recipient likes to remember who it came from...

And that's all folks...until I add the back to another card, and try to take pictures of myself sewing. (Some of these pictures were snapped one-handed with my left hand, so if they're fuzzy, well, they're fuzzy!!)

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