The Billboard Quilt-Along is open to anyone who wants to participate and has no set start or finish date. I’ve compiled a list of posts here.
Today's post is about making fussy patchwork letters. Instructions for making simple patchwork letters are here.
Use a pencil to trace one of your letters onto a piece of freezer paper. (Be sure to trace onto the paper/non-plastic side.)
Use a pencil and ruler to divide the freezer paper letter into as many columns as you would like. As you work, keep in mind that you're drawing the finished letter (no seam allowance is being added). Remember also that a little bit of wonkiness will often produce more polished results than a bunch of random/crazy angles.
Subdivide each column into however many segments as you would like. Ideally, the pieces in adjacent columns will be staggered so that no seams line up. (The lines you're drawing will become the seams.)
Once you're happy with the layout of your letter, use a pencil to code each segment. Start by numbering your columns from left to right. (I have 1, 2, 3, and 4.) Then, add a letter to indicate the placement of each segment within the column. (1A, 1B, 1C, and so on.)
The idea here is to code the letters so that you'll know in what order they should be sewn back together. Write the codes in the same place on each segment (I used the lower right corners) so you can quickly tell how the segments should be oriented (i.e. which side is up and which is down).
If you're using scraps, you might divide the scraps into several groups (solids, big prints, etc.) an assign a color to each. You can also opt to skip this step and simply assign segment templates to your scraps at random.
Arrange the segments from one group on the right side of the corresponding fabric. You'll need to add a quarter inch seam allowance to all sides of each, so they'll need to be placed far enough apart to allow that. If you're using any big prints, you may wish to place the segments so that certain parts of the print are included on each. If you're using a directional print, you may want to align the segments with the print.
Once the segments are where you want them, press them in place. The heat from your iron will melt the plasticky backing on the freezer paper, creating a temporary bond with the fabric.
Sew the segments in each column together, pressing seams open.
In order to make sure everything lines up, you'll need to match the corners of the finished segments (as indicated by the freezer paper templates) not the outside corners of the shapes plus seam allowance (as you could with squares or rectangles).
The easiest way to do this will be to leave the freezer paper in place as you sew. Before sewing two segments together, match up the corners of the freezer paper, peeling back the fabric on the top piece a bit (as shown above) to ensure that everything is perfectly aligned.
Once you're finished with each column, peel away the freezer paper. Don't panic if you get a little of it sewn into your seams. Just pull it out carefully from one side and then the other.
Even though this is going to be a raw-edge applique, we added a quarter inch seam allowance around the outside. That little bit of extra fabric will give us some wiggle room for adding the fusible web and trimming the letter into a nice streamlined shape, both of which will be discussed in the next post.
Homework (if you're making fussy letters):
Use this process to make patchwork letters
Wednesday, August 24 - Making Fussy Patchwork Letters, Part 2