Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Using Unusual Fabrics in Unusual Ways

There are so many fun and "different" fabrics out there.   A lot of them aren't really conducive to regular piecing because of the size or placement of the pattern.  I actually seek out these kinds of fabrics because I can have a lot of fun using them in different ways.

The above pattern consists of framed chicken motifs.  The chickens are very fun but what I was interested in were the circle frames.  This isn't a motif you find often and if you visually remove the interior funky chickens you can see a lot of possiblities for the colorful frames.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this fabric but when I received it I decided to use it to accent a patchwork of brights, blacks, and antique looking prints.  I measured the size of the frames and cut circles out of squares so that the frames would cover the raw edges.  I then added the interior fabrics and did a simple machine basting around the circle to hold them together.  Then I pieced the rest of the quilt.

This is what I ended up with.  Now it's time to apply the circle frames.  I cut apart the funky chicken fabric, giving myself 12 assorted circles with at least 1/4 seam allowance on the outside.  I kept the interior intact until I prepared the frames.

To prepare them I backstiched with matching floss around the exterior and interior of the frames.  I then applied a very thin layer of clear nail polish close to the interior stiches on the funky chicken part of the frames.  Once that was dry I cut out the interior leaving a 1/4" seam allowance, which I then clipped to the stitches.

Now it was time to baste them to the quilt.  I lined up the outer edges so that I'd have an equal distance around all four sides.  Then when I was satisfied with the placement I basted the frame to the quilt using the outer seam allowance.

As you can see from the picture below I wasn't concerned about the outer seam allowance being perfect at this time, it will be trimmed later.

Now I thread my needle with floss matching the interior color of the frame, in this case orange, fold under the edge and applique the interior of the frame.

Now you can see the interior frame stitched down.  I like using the double stitching on the frame because when it's stitched down you get a little trace of the color around the edges.

Next, remove the basting stitches and trim the seam allowance. Then notch the edges so you can turn down the outer edge.  Since the edges are back stitched you don't need to use the clear polish on the outer edge, you'll find it's easy enough to applique without it.  Use the same color thread as your back stitching on the frame.
Here's a finished square.  See how you can see a trace of the aqua in the inner part of the frame?  I love the fresh way this looks. 

I hope this gets you thinking about different ways to use unusual fabrics.

Happy Stitching!



Nancy said...

I love what you did with these but I also love the original fabric. Do you know who makes that? I have a collection of funky chicken fabric and that would fit in.

Susan Gannon O'Connell said...

It's called Giggle Feathers by Robin Roderick for Studio E fabrics
It's about a year old so I don't know how much luck you'll have finding it but it's worth a shot!