Friday, April 10, 2015

April Showers Don't Stop Us!

It may have been a rainy couple of days, but aren't rainy days good ones to get some sewing done?  April showers didn't stop some of the Sewphisticuts from getting together for an April meeting to learn a little about Stained Glass quilting techniques.

We learned about two different ways to accomplish the look of stained glass with fabric.  The first, presented by Peggy N., involved the use of fusible bias binding.  Sold in rolls and in various colors, it is bias binding with a fusible backing strip so that it can be pressed into place.  After cutting out the "glass" pieces from fabric, they are fused onto a backing fabric on which the pattern has been traced.  Then the bias tape is laid down, filling the space between the fabric pieces that make up the design and covering the raw edges.  It is fused in place, then stitched down to secure it.  A twin needle helps makes it easier to stitch the tape evenly.  The bias tape simulates the leading between glass pieces in stained glass works.

The second method, presented by Maura, uses paper-piecing, also called foundation-piecing.   Fabric is laid directly on the pattern paper (foundation) and sewn to it according to the numbered sequence indicated on the pattern.  The pattern lines serve as sewing lines, making it easy to piece accurately.  To achieve a stained glass look, the quilt block patterns have narrow strips designed between all the major color pieces of the design.  These strips serve as the leading that would be in real stained-glass works.

We concluded that the bias tape method would probably be best for designs with many curved lines and flowing design, while the paper-pieced method would work best for very geometric designs with more straight lines, or where the pieces for the design were very small.

Other business:  Everyone should have received flyers about upcoming events in the Chapter, but here are some reminders - May 2nd is the Sew-In at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fishkill.  The Yard Sale date has been changed to May 30th.   Please note this change on your calendars.  Lots of help is needed to make this a success, so besides helping out with set-up, on the day itself, with clean-up or donations, please spread the word!

Our next meeting will be held at Judy's house so that we can prepare donated fabric for the sale.  Please contact anyone in the group if you need more information.  An email reminder will go out before the meeting next month.

As always, we had some Show-and-Tell:  as a group we are quite productive in numerous ways!

Peggy's blouse

Maura's knit jacket

Peggy's T-shirt

Ronnie's quilts

More of Ronnie's quilts

One of Ronnie's quilts in lighter colors

Maura's retro kitchen towels

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fabric Manipulation

The topic for the Sewphisticuts in our March meeting was Fabric Manipulation.  Several of us tried pleating, tucking, or poufing fabric in various ways for different effects.  We also experimented with felting wool and new ways of binding edges, with varying degrees of success.   Whether you view less-than-hoped-for results as "happy accidents" or outright failures, you still learn something from that attempt.  So we shared some of our non-successes as cheerfully as our successful attempts.

Maura brought a sample of plaid fabric that was pleated and sewn so as to make a more solid-colored fabric, imitating a technique she saw on a vintage dress in a show at the Metroplitan Museum of Art several years ago in which a purple and white  striped fabric was pleated to appear as solid purple.

She also experimented with felting, repeatedly washing and drying some wool swatches.  Since they were woven wool, and only washed 3 times, there wasn't much change.  But the lesson she took from this was that woven woolens could be safely preshrunk in a home washer.

Connie had a frustrating experience trying a new technique to attach binding to her table runner.  She found it made mitered corners lumpier, so her lesson was that a new technique isn't always better than the old way.   This runner was also her show-and-tell, the first paper-pieced project she had done.
Pat tried a method for tucking squares of fabric so that poufs formed in the center of the square.  Buttons were fastened in the center and the squares then could be sewn together for various decorative uses on purses, tote bags, quilts, etc.

Peggy investigated tucking and pleating, as well as using strips of fabric (similar to binding) in a woven pattern.  Some of the techniques had potential as insets in clothing (yokes, epaulets) or as decorative elements for bags, we thought.

In other business, we began to think about Make A Difference Day.  Connie agreed to reach out to a contact at Hudson River Housing to see what their needs might be.   By the next meeting we hope to have some ideas for a project for October.  Also next month we will have a presentation from Peggy and Maura on two different methods for sewing stained-glass quilt blocks.

Oven mitts

And of course we had some show-and-tell:
Bag made from vintage tablecloth
Easter basket

Pat's bed runner
Connie's quilt
Another quilt from Connie
Collapsible waste can for sewing
Hot pads

Peggy's shirt
Flowing blouse from Peggy