Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stairsteps to Paradise: A Tutorial--Sort Of.

So being that I haven't done any real sewing in over a week, I figured I would at least share about one of my works in progress.

Disclaimer: this quilt is rather complicated with lots of seam matching, just to warn you.

I tried to take pictures along the way so that this post would end up sort of like a tutorial for this quilt. There may or may not be enough pictures to really show what is going on in every step, but if you're feeling brave and want to try this, just post any questions you might have.

This quilt was made from 2 batik jelly rolls. Not 2 entire jelly rolls, because in these jelly rolls, there was about 4 times as much green and dragonfly print as the pink and the purple, so I designed my block and then figured out how many blocks I was actually going to be able to make.

This is the strips laid out for one strip set. The jelly roll had 3 or 4 different green batiks of the same color, 3 pinks, and 2 purples. The tie-dyed looking strips actually has a print of butterflies and dragonflies on it. I have actually seen yardage of this fabric at Joann but I looked online and they don't have it available online for a picture. And here is a strip set all sewn together:

So then the strips were cut into squares (with a it being 6 strips wide, I was able to get 3 blocks out of each, with a little extra that will eventually be used for the borders.) From the squares, I cut them in half into triangles. Now. This is the part where you have to be paying attention. You need to cut half on one diagonoal and half on the other diagonal. I always cut mine by aligning the block so that the points were N-S-E-W (ie, like a diamond, not a square) on my cutting mat and always had the green strip on one of the top edges. I cut half with the green pointing from N to E and half pointing N to W. Here is two blocks cut opposite ways to show the difference.

The next step is to make the "step" blocks. Taking two pieces with green as the long piece (basically two pieces that are mirror images of one another, match to make a V (or rather, a whole bunch of them) like so:

This picture shows one with a green "step" and one with the dragonfly "step." Then the very fun task of remaking squares out of triangles and matching all your strips to make lovely 90 degree corners up the middle of the block. This, for my project, was actually really easy. Especially in comparison to the rest of it.

This is all the blcoks laid out before it was sewn, so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about when it comes to sewing the blocks together.

One problem I had is that the corner of the block that ends up as a square ended up a LOT smaller than the other strips in the block. I'm not sure why this happened, but I am guessing it has something to do with math and triangles and bias stretch. Regardless, this was the most difficult quilt to put together to date.

So worrying about trying to ease and fit with this oddly small squares, I went ahead and just sewed pairs of blocks together along the flat of the step (or the step rise, if that's how you want to look at it). The main point is that I only sewed blocks together if they were in the same column (or row in this picture). Here's one sewn together.

See how tiny the corner squares are? I don't get it either.

So rather than just sewing rows together, I went and made it harder than it has to be and sewed the places where the strips connect to one another between rows and sewed it all together in a stairstep fashion (how appropriate!) Don't do this unless you're crazy like me. You end up with perfectly matched stairs but then you have to worry about not sewing all the way down this seam, and then making sure to go back and sew this seam, and its a lot of work. So if you're a normal person, if you can, just sew in rows and sew your rows together.

And here's the final product!

So now I need to decide if it needs a border (or two). And find a backing for it. But it looks pretty awesome.

This was my first foray into batiks. Normally I am not into batiks, but this ended up as a really great final prooduct. What's something you never thought you would try and ended up really liking it?

Happy quilting!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool tutorial. Another idea for a baby quilt! Thanks!


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