Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Test Block for Seymour

I'm not really sure how much I've shared about my recent thought process for Seymour, so I'm going to back up a ways.  Sorry if it sounds redundant!  My original plan for this quilt was that the front would be the desert side with Seymour's skeleton and the back would be the jungle side with Seymour's body.  From the beginning, the practical aspects of this were daunting:  How was I going to get it quilted so both sides looked right?  How was I going to bind it (I wanted a faced binding) so that it was truly reversible?  How was I ever going to get it lined up right, especially if I decided to overlay the raw-edge applique with tulle?  I finally decided just to start and figured I'd work out the details when I came to the proverbial bridge.

After assembling both backgrounds though, in addition to still having no idea how I'd solve the above problem, I was really in love with both sides and the thought of one side being permanently against a wall made me really gloomy.  I decided the best thing to do, which would have the added benefit of solving all the above dilemmas, was to make two completely separate quilts.  The only remaining problem, therefore, would be how to make them hang as one front-back piece in the show for which I'm making them (where they're supposed to be a front-back thing).

I decided to try to find a way to finish the edges that would enable the quilts to be laced together, back sides together, for display as one piece or unlaced for display as a diptych.  Before trying something rash on my big pieces, I thought I'd make a test block to try it out.  This also enabled me to decide whether I needed tulle over the raw-edge applique.  I wasn't crazy about the idea of tulle, every time I held tulle up over the quilts it blunted the colors in a way I didn't like.  However, I wasn't sure how the edges of the fused pieces would do without something over them.   I therefore made two test blocks, about 11 x 14ish, in the same way I made the backgrounds, namely fusing together random bits of fabric.  I then draped tulle over half of each side and quilted them each separately (with separate batting and backing).  I went to JoAnns and picked up three different types of trim to try and glued sections of each to the quilt top.  I then sewed over the trim so I'd catch it consistently in the same place. Next I pinned on the facing and sewed around again, this time from the back, so that I could sew exactly on top of the same stitches as were used to hold down the trim.  After flipping and ironing, the trim stuck out nicely from the edge on both sides.  Hooray for something working as I'd imagined it would.  Then all that was left was lacing the two sides together.

Various test trims glued down.

Test trims stitched down.

Both sides laced together after facing; from either side it looks just like a normal quilt with a special edge.

Both sides laced together, observe black cord laced through the trim.

I liked the results enough to go for it on the big quilts (although not with black or silver trim), which is what I'm working on now.  Incidentally, I decided I didn't need the tulle, the test blocks quilted just fine with the raw edges.  Since I've now quilted the actual quilts, I can say I don't regret that decision although there were a few loose edges.  Some of them I sewed down with the quilting, and some of them I fused back down where I could.  There are a pieces that are a bit frayed, but I've just concluded that's a consequence of doing raw edge applique.

Linking up with Lee over at Works in Progress Wednesday.