Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Patchwork Essentials

Over on TNN (The Nappy Network) we are doing a monthly craft focus.
There was a small but reasonable amount of interest in a Patchwork project, and given I have a bit of exposure to the said craft, I have decided to help things along.

Patchwork has been a part of my whole life.  My mother is a prominent quilter and has impeccable taste in the said craft.  I don't have much contact with her anymore, but I figure I have picked up a few tips along the way.

Firstly - lets talk about patchwork essentials.  Your hardware.  Keep in mind these are tools that make life easier and more accurate, but you can do patchwork with a needle and thread and a pair of scissors!  Think Amish - they don't have electricity right?

But I like to have things a little more comfortable, and so these are my must haves.

1.  Pins.  You must pin the pieces together.  Accuracy is critical, and if you don't pin your pieces together, you will never get points to match!  I have a pincushion that site beside my machine.  I admit to leaving pins in while I'm sewing, and hoping that my machine won't hit them.  Its only happened once, and that broke the needle and stuffed up my timing.  Expensive!!  If you don't want to chance it, leave the pin in until your needle reaches it, then pull it out before sewing.  That way the pressure from the foot holds the piece in place.
2. Quick Unpick.  You will make mistakes.  Its totally normal.  The good patchworker undoes their mistakes and resews, rather than regretting the inaccuracy down the track.  I have this one - the one that came with my Bernina - handy beside my machine.
3. A patchwork foot.  This foot allows you to get an accurate 1/4" seam allowance.  Most, if not all patchwork patterns come from USA which works on the imperial system (not metric)  So all the designs and templates are specified with a quarter inch seam allowance.  If you don't work within this limit, your final product will be so far out, it can be unusable.
4. A cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler.  Rotary cutting is so much more accurate and time saving than scissors and tracing around templates.  You can start with small everything, and as you get more confident scale up on ruler, mat and cutter.  I do find that a larger blade is nicer for cutting strips, but the smaller blade is nicer for around tricky templates.
5.  Sharp needles.  Little pieces of fabric, blunt needles, jamming threads.  Nuff said.

Thats about it - the essentials of patchwork.

1 comment:

Photos Family said...

this is a great idea. Looking forward to doing 2 for two little girls. Off to the shops in the new year.