Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Bloom: Part I

Bloom: Part I
71" x 71" (the other side of Seed)

I had an idea for this side and it took a few tries of sketching it to get what I wanted.  It is the first time that I have tried a design like this.  I believe it is very similar to the Dahlia quilt design, block? 
This is the color palette.

After sketching it on drawing paper, I drew it full scale using old school tools.  I got some white craft paper and my giant compass, (which is really more like a pencil and a long string).  I also used a protractor, which turned out not to be as accurate as I needed on this scale.  The paper arcs were cut individually and then folded in half multiple times to get the right sizes.  I used a freehand to draw the curves, and then cut out plastic templates to use for marking and cutting fabric.  And, since each arc gets bigger, I needed a new template for each arc.  Only one went wonky and had to be redone, so I consider it a pretty huge success that these methods worked as well as they did!
Each section needed a template with three pieces (with the exception of the tiny innermost lime green part).  To make right side and left side pieces, I used the template pieces right side up, and then right side down.  I marked the stitching lines on the back of the fabric pieces, and then cut seam allowances.  Everything was cut with my scissors....wah....
I also discovered that the innermost ring of lime green pieces was too tight of a curve to do on the sewing machine.  Fortunately, I had just accrued an amazing amount of practice sewing small curves from the work on the other side! 
After I had about 8 blocks completed, I sewed them together in an arc, and then checked the accuracy and fit by comparing to the original paper template and making adjustments as needed.  That worked amazingly well! 
There were a lot of seams to keep track of.  Some of them were pressed open (the straight ones), and some of them were pressed to one side (the curved ones).  I always think it looks interesting to see the back!

It was hard work to piece everything accurately, but so incredibly satisfying to see an entire ring come together. Here is some progress on the second ring.

At some point, the arcs are sewn together to form a quarter circle.  The last seams were the straight lines connecting the four quadrants. 
I prefer to sew curves without a lot of pins.  I was not very successful with this design, and spent a lot of time making minor adjustments on each and every curve.  It was frustrating!! Which led me down the rabbit hole of using lots of pins, I mean really, a LOT of pins.  It does take longer to pin it, but every seam was perfect, so it was worth it in the long run.
And there was the added satisfaction of the interesting shapes these curves made when the pieces were pinned...
So there is also the option of glue basting seams like this and skipping the pins altogether.  My biggest problems was that I cut all the pieces by hand, which meant that not all the seam allowances were very accurate or precise.  I normally sew curves by matching the edges of the fabric together.  This did not work.  And, while the accuracy of one piece is not that significant, it becomes more so when multiplied by lots of little pieces.  For glue basting to work well here, I would need some plexiglass type templates that you can use a rotary cutter on (and the templates would need to include the seam allowances).  I didn't have those, nor patience to learn how to make them.  It was possible to do this project with just low cost freezer paper and pins...just possibly less fun.

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