Thursday, December 26, 2013

Double Wedding Ring QAL: Sewing the Melon Units

Well, hello!!

I'm very sorry for not posting sooner. I enjoy blogging so so much, but when my business gets busy, blogging keeps getting pushed down on my "to do" list. Being busy with all of my business stuff is not a bad problem to have. I'm very grateful. I just wish I had more hours in my day, or maybe an assistant, or a housekeeper. I'm going to keep on moving forward, and share with you as much as you can handle. Thank you for staying by my side, and understanding my life as a wife, mom, teacher, quilter, business-woman and blogger. {mwah!!}

We're almost in the home stretch! Soon, you'll have your Double Wedding Ring quilt assembled! I can't wait to see what it looks like.

I have three videos to share with you today, which will walk you through how to:
  • Turn and press the edges of your arches: solid, pieced and improv.
  • Assemble the melon units of the Double Wedding Ring.
  • Sew the melon units together.
Turning the Arches:
This step is where the magic of Piec-lique begins. Turning the edges, is what makes that perfect crease line, which will become your sewing line. Take your time, on your first and second arch. Practicing the technique, with intention, will make you faster, and more confident. As you go, you'll find your groove, and might surprise yourself with how quickly you were able to turn the edges of your arches.

In the video, I talk about open and closed seams, in your pieced arches. I might surprise you with what I share. I've mentioned before that there's a time and a place for open seams. Your pieced arches might be one of those times. Are you shocked? I believe the "why" is very important. I'm not against open seams. I only want to help quilters understand why they should be open, or closed, at certain times. If the seam is the strength of the quilt, it's best to stay closed. This makes the seam rely on the fabric for strength. When your seam is open, it's only as strong as the thread you used for sewing. Open seams are helpful for reducing bulk, when the seam is not the strength of the quilt. This is the case with the pieced arches.



Assembling the Melon Units:
The next two videos will walk you through layering and assembling the arches and the center pieces, making the melon units. This step goes pretty quickly. I love that I can assemble all of my units, with glue basting, then chain piece them together. The best part: NO pins to pull out, sew over or poke my fingers with. I hope you enjoy how quickly sewing these together becomes, with Piec-lique.





In the next post, I'll show you how to attach the melon units to the large center piece, making apple core units. After that, we'll attach our apple core units, and finally see our Double Wedding Ring come to life!!

See you soon!
~Cristy

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Double Wedding Ring QAL: It's Time to Sew!!!

Hi Everyone!!

It's time to get to my favorite part: sewing!! I'm really looking forward to sharing this next step in the DWR QAL with you.

Once you have layered your arches, using the Piec-lique technique, sewing them together is so easy, fun and fast. I made this video for you, to walk you through how I sew the pieced arches together.

As you watch, you'll find some similarities with the paper-piecing method of piecing the arches of a Double Wedding Ring Quilt. This biggest difference is that no paper is used for piecing, which is why my mom calls this "Paperless Paper-Piecing". Like with paper-piecing, you'll sew a seam, and trim off the excess seam allowance to 1/4". What I like most about Paperless Paper-Piecing is that all of my arches are already layered, glue-basted, and ready to sew. I don't have to go back and forth between placing my fabrics on the paper, sewing, trimming, pressing, and around again, for each piece of my arch. And, my favortie part is no paper to tear off later! Doesn't that just sound wonderful?!

Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of paper-piecing. Huge. After my mom taught Piec-lique and Paperless Paper-Piecing to me, she showed me how almost all paper-piecing patterns can be layered and sewn with Paperless Paper-Piecing. These days, you'll find me using both techniques. One doesn't replace the other. I love the results I get with both techniques. Whenever I can, though, I will convert a paper-piecing pattern to Paperless Paper-Piecing. Try it sometime, and let me know what you think. As with all new techniques, the first couple of times will be a little slow-going, but once you get in the groove, you might discover something new to love about sewing.

I hope you enjoy the video! I'll be back soon with solid and improv arches.



Thanks for stopping by!
~Cristy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Double Wedding Ring QAL: Piecing the Arches

Hey hey hey!! I'm back in the land of the living!

The past few weeks really did a number on me, and I'm finally beginning to get things back on track. Thank you for sticking by my side. I'm ready to get this quilt along going again, and am really excited to share this next step in the series.

The next video is all about getting your arches ready to piece. Using Piec-lique, you'll prepare your arches and get them all ready for sewing. Since you have all been so kind and patient with me, I thought it might be helpful to speed up my pace, and post the sewing video tomorrow, instead of next week.

I hope you enjoy the video! And as always, please comment, or email me, with any questions.



Here's a little bit of what's to come:

  • Turning the edges of the arches
  • Making improv arches
  • Putting the melons together
  • Assembling the "apple core" units
  • Putting it all together in a real-live quilt! Woohoo!!
Thanks for stopping by! And happy stitchin'!
~Cristy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bit off a little too much...

I did exactly what I was trying to avoid. Biting off more than I can chew. I did it anyway. Gah!

Things were moving along pretty well, at the beginning of my Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along. I was also in the midst of prepping for Quilt Market, but things were getting done, and I had it all scheduled. (Schedules keep me moving forward. They're essential for my ADD brain.) Then it happened. I hit a wall. The disdainful hand/foot/mouth disease is completely to blame. Both of my daughters got it; my sweet Nora, then Little Miss Molly. I've been able to scrape by with the help of my mother-in-law, and get the bare minimum done, just to keep my head above water. Under the surface, I'm scrambling like mad.

Ilness came at the most inopportune time. Really, the worst time of the year. And my babies needed their mama, more than I needed to keep up on the quilt along. I thought I could keep it all going, when only Nora was sick. Once it spread to Molly, it just wasn't going to happen. I feel guilty. I knew you'd understand, though, and I wanted to make sure you knew that I will keep it going.

I'm leaving for Quilt Market, in Houston, bright an early in the morning. I'll update while I'm on the road, and we'll get back on track once I get home. I'll update the schedule soon.

Thank you all for staying by my side, and being understanding.

Love you all!
~Cristy

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along - Cutting Instructions


Hi! I'm so sorry about having to delay my posts. After being a work-at-home mom for over 8 years, you'd think I'd get use to my kids getting sick, unexpectedly. It doesn't seem to work that way, though. And when it happens, I have to push some things down on my "to do" list. Thank you for understanding!

I'm going to update the schedule, but we should be pretty close to finishing when I planned to.

Are you ready to cut some fabric?

I have three new videos for you! I'm thrilled to share them with you, and I think they will really help with the next step in the quilt along.

The first video has more info and tips for planning out your Double Wedding Ring quilt design. You can still download the printable coloring sheets, if you haven't gotten the chance, yet.



In the next two videos, I talk all about cutting your fabric for the pieced arches and solid arches. In an upcoming video, I'll share how to make the improv arches.





Here's a cutting guide for your pieced arches:

*There are 12 arch pieces and 2 cornerstones for each melon

1 Full Ring

  • 48 arch pieces
  • 8 cornerstones
2 Rings
  • 84 arch pieces
  • 14 cornerstones
4 Rings
  • 144 arch pieces
  • 24 cornerstones
You can join the Flickr group, anytime. And if you're on Instagram or Twitter, our hashtag is #dwrqal.

Next time, we'll be piecing our arches! See you soon!
~Cristy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Life can sure throw some curve balls.

I'm sorry. I have to push the DWR Quilt Along back another day. My youngest daughter got really sick last night, and I was at the ER with her, until midnight. She's been sick all day, battling a fever that just won't break.

The videos have been filmed. I will be doing the final editing, tonight, and will get all caught up between now and Thursday.

Stay with me! Just think of this as some extra design, coloring and template prep time. See you Thursday.

~Cristy

Monday, October 14, 2013

Double Wedding Ring QAL: Update

Hi Everyone!

The next video, for the quilt along, is almost ready. I just have to do a little editing. I'm also in the midst of getting prepared to leave for Quilt Market (which is next week, ahhhhh!). I'll have the next blog post and video ready to post for tomorrow.  I'll be back on schedule for Thursday.

Keep on coloring, and have your templates ready! We'll be cutting and piecing our arches in no time!

See you soon!
~Cristy

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along - Preparing the Templates


Welcome to the next post in my Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along!

Now it's time to talk about our templates and get them prepped for cutting and preparing our fabrics. The Double Wedding Ring block pattern, that we are working with for this quilt along, was designed by Sharon Schamber. The design is based on Sharon's Piec-lique technique, for easy curved seams. To get the most out of this quilt-along, I recommend getting one of the patterns. (If you purchse it from my store, please use the code: Inspiring for 15% off.)

Now that I've gotten the business part out of the way, let's get to the fun stuff!

Did you download your Double Wedding Ring coloring pages? I hope you've had a little fun with designing your own DWR.  It's so much fun to play around with colors, and to see how many different ways they can "flow" around the rings of the DWR. I admit, I love coloring. Always have. I just have to keep my coloring pencils out of the hands of my kids. Otherwise, they're never "mine" again.

Are you ready? Let's jump right in, and talk about the templates. I prepared a video that will walk you through each step of preparing your templates. In this post, I'll talk briefly about them, but you'll really get the most from watching the video.



The Templates:

In your packet of templates, you'll find each of the following, pre-printed on freezer paper:

This is our main layout template. See how it's shaped like an apple core block? As we move forward, we will use this to help up put together each of our units. When we have our finished units, they will be set together a lot like an apple core quilt design.

Layout Template D 
These are out cut-out templates for the centers of our arches, and for the center of the apple core unit. We will be using these to cut our background fabrics.

Cut-out Templates C & D 
This set of arch templates is for Step 1: Paperless Paper Piecing. We will be using these to cut and prepare our fabrics for our pieced arches.
Step 1: Paperless Paper Piecing
This set of arch templates is for Step 2: Turning. We will be using these templates for each type of arch: pieced, solid, and improv. It will help up create a smooth curved edge in preparation for sewing.

Step 2: Turning
All of the templates, that we will be using, are printed on freezer paper. If you are making your own, at home, please preshrink your freezer paper (I show you how in the video), to prevent inaccuracies, with multiple uses. To print on freezer paper, cut it to size (either letter or legal size), and be sure to orient it so your printer will print onto the paper side.

Once you have all of your arch templates prepped, this is what they should look like.


Next up, we'll prep our fabric, and get started on our pieced arches.

See you Monday!!

~Cristy

Monday, October 7, 2013

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along: Let's Talk Fabric


Welcome!! Today we're going to talk about one of my most favorite things: Fabric. I have a confesstion. I'm an avid fabric collector. Some may call it "hoarding", but I prefer to call it "collecting". Maybe you can relate? My fabric stash is made up of a bit of everything: treasured reproductions, florals, stripes, solids, new, old, and even some rare, hard to find prints. When I can, I like to pull from my stash for projects that I have in mind, or am starting. This is especially true when I'm trying out a new technique or pattern, and want to make sure I can do it, before I cut into more special fabrics. If I may, I'd like to encourage, and recommend, that you consider this as you begin your Double Wedding Ring. I'm going to be teaching you a technique that, most likely, is very new to you. It can be much easier to learn it when you're not worried about messing up your lovely fabric.

I'm going to be demonstrating three different ways to use fabric for making your arches, which are generally the focus of the Double Wedding Ring design. These are: solid arches, pieced arches and improv pieced arches. Using solid arches, makes creating your DWR fast! If you're apprehensive about piecing your DWR, using solid arches might be the way to go. Pieced arches are what we see more of, traditionally. I'll be showing you how to piece these arches with Piec-lique; no paper-piecing required! Then there's improv pieced arches. Did you know that improv and DWR could even go together?? I cannot wait to show you how to make them!!
Improv Pieced Arches - Nordika by Jeni Baker!
As you begin thinking of the fabrics you'd like to use, also think about which method (solid, pieced, and improv) that you want to try for making your arches. Also consider if you'd like to work with prints, solids, hand-dyes, batiks, or a combination. What your fabric is made of, is also an important consideration. I always recommend starting with good quality quilting cotton. As you're learning this technique, and possibly trying the DWR for the first time, you'll probably find cotton fabric to be easier to work with. Once you are comfortable with the technique, and your awesome new skills, trying different types of fabric blends could be a lot of fun. Can you imagine how lucious a DWR made from voile would be? Oh my! But start with cotton. You'll thank yourself later.
I made this one with hand-dyed cotton fabrics.
Prewashing. I've been a quilter for 13 years. In my time as a teacher, a member of guilds, and a quilting-based business owner, I've heard it all about prewashing. I'm going to be completely honest with you. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't prewash. (Are you shocked?) There are definitely times, like with turned-edge applique, that I have "rules", and they exist to give me the final results that I want to achieve. Then there are times that I prewash simply because I don't want to risk any bleeding. And there are other times that the "sewing bug" bites, and I impulsively start cutting and sewing, with little regard to whether or not my fabrics have been prewashed. With this block, I highly recommend prewashing, especially if you're past "trying it out" and want to create a Double Wedding Ring quilt that will, someday, be an heirloom piece.

Why prewash for the Double Wedding Ring? Well, I'm not hosting a debate, here, so I'm simply going to pass along information that you can take, and consider, or decide not to use. Prewashing removes any chemicals and excess dyes from the fibers. If you choose fabrics that contrast a lot, like the red and white DWR I'm making, prewashing will keep you from having a heart attack, as I did, when I saw the red start bleeding into my white background. I had already cut all of the pieces, for my arches, and I could have kicked myself. I ended up washing them, though, and I'll save you the drama that came from washing precut fabric. I don't recommend it, at all. If you're using fabrics that are from different manufacturers, and from different decades (like I did), prewashing can help the fibers to relax and shrink back to where they're meant to be. Whatever your choice, please be consistent. If you're going to prewash, be sure to prewash all of the fabrics that you'll be using for your Double Wedding Ring. And if you choose not to prewash, don't let a prewashed piece sneak into the mix. You may end up with a wonky arch, or center, when you weren't going for the wonky look.
One Melon from my red & white DWR
Another thing to consider as you think about fabrics, is the overall design that the rings of your DWR will take on. Will it be scrappy, or more planned out? I started a Pinterest board, and Flickr Group, for the quilt-along, to provide some inspiration for your own design. I also have some coloring pages for you, courtesy of my mom. You can print them out, and have some fun coloring your own designs. Here are a few of my own, and feel free to use them as inspiration, as well:
My red & white quilt design.
This will have improv and solid rings.
I love rainbow order!
Do you see the flower in this garden?
My modern rings.
Any of these designs can be used with solid, pieced or improv arches. Coloring and designing, like this, helps me plan out what I'm going to do next, and how much of each color I'm going to need. Scroll on down to download the coloring pages.

Let's talk fabric requirements. I don't expect you to make a huge quilt, right now, so I'm only going to give recommendations for a wall-hanging sized quilt. I think it's really important to color/plan your design, and figure out how many rings you want to make, and go from there. It also depends on whether or not you're going to make solid or pieced arches for the rings. This will determine how many different colors/prints you will use. 

One full ring, is 20.5" in diameter, unfinished. A quilt that is 2 rings x 2 rings, will be 34.5", across (from the widest part of the ring). 3 rings x 3 rings will be 48.5". 

Basic Fabric Requirements, for a 2 ring x 2 ring quilt (increase by 1/4-1/2 yard for every 2 rings you add:
  • 1 yard Background, for the centers of the melons, and rings
  • 1.5 yards for Arches 
    • 1/4-1/3 yard for each color of arch, or various colors for pieced arches
  • 1/8 yard for Cornerstones
  • 1.25 yards for Backing
  • 3/4 yard for Binding
Intersecting Cornerstones
The measurements are based on Sharon Schamber's Double Wedding Ring pattern. If you don't have one yet, you're welcome to order it, when you're ready. You can use the code: Inspiring for 15% off your order as well. And it's good for anything else you might need over at Purple Daisies. I'm also working on getting the pattern ready for you, as a download. As soon as it's ready, I'll post again. If you're not already following me, please do, so you will get the news as soon as it click "Publish".

Next time, I'll talk about the pattern and templates. If you don't have them yet, please don't worry. I almost prefer that you follow along, and give yourself some time to wrap your mind around Piec-lique and using it to make the Double Wedding Ring. Just remember, all of the instructions will always be here, just waiting for you.

Thank you for stopping by! See you soon!
~Cristy



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along: Introduction


Welcome to my first quilt-along! I'm so happy you're here! The Double Wedding ring has been one of my favorite quilt blocks for as long as I can remember. It's also one of my favorite classes to teach. When I started thinking of which quilt design I'd like most to share in a quilt-along, Double Wedding Ring was it, without a doubt.

My first Double Wedding Ring quilt, from 2005.
As a teacher and quilter, I hear these words often: "curves are scary". They can be, yes. But, they don't have to be. The Piec-lique technique is going to take a lot of the fear out of curved seams. Piec-lique (pronounced "piece-li-kay"), developed by Sharon Schamber, is a simple technique for making smooth, flat, and accurate curves. I will walk you through, step-by-step, how to use this fabulous technique to make your very own Double Wedding Ring. If you'd like to get a little more cozy with the idea of Piec-lique, take a peek at my Piec-lique Circle post.

If you're ready to get started, you'll need just a few things:


**The Double Wedding Ring Pattern and Template will be available as a download, in the next couple of days.

If you're on the fence, and not sure you want to jump right in, don't worry! Follow along, read the posts, and see how it's all being done. I bet once you see it for yourself, you'll be ready to give it a try. I'll be sharing lots of tips and tricks, and putting it all video for you, too. And, I'll be sewing right along with you, so please get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Double Wedding Ring is such a fun, and satisfying, block to make. I know you'll be amazed by what you create! You can start with just one ring, which makes a great mini-quilt to display anywhere. Once you make one, and get the hang of the technique, you just might keep adding on to make a lovely little table runner. You might even surprise yourself and go bigger to create an heirloom piece that will be treasured for generations.


The Double Wedding QAL ( #dwrqal on Intagram and Twitter), will run for 6 weeks. I'll post each Monday and Thursday, through Monday Nov 11. Next time, on Oct 7th, I'll talk about fabric selection. If you'd like to join in, please do!

Here's the DWRQAL board on Pinterest.
You can join the Flickr group here. This is where we'll meet for questions and discussions.
You can find me Instagram and Twitter, too.

The master post for the DWRQAL schedule is {here}. It's a great reference, and perfect for bookmarking.

Did you hear about the DWR Challenge that the NYC Modern Quilt Guild is hosting? This quilt-along is a wonderful opportunity to try a new technique and end up with your very own quilt to enter in the challenge. It might be a bit of a time crunch, but they have multiple categories, so a small DWR is very doable.

I'm really looking forward to talking about fabric (one of my most favorite things) next week. See you then!

~Cristy
{mwah!}




Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grandma's Lawn Chair: Blog Hop and Giveaway!


Welcome! Pull up a seat! I'm happy you're here, for the last stop on the Grandma's Lawn Chair BlogHop.

Last month I found this great paper-pieced "C", which was designed by the talented Diane, at From Blank Pages. It was the perfect little touch for my Tinker Tote, especially with purple flowery fabric. From the download to the finshed "C" block, I had only spent about an hour. I posted a pic on Instagram, and told Diane how much I like it, and that I'd love to test a future pattern for her. Not too long after that, she asked me to be a part of her blog hop to announce the release of her first full quilt pattern: Grandma's Lawn Chair. Of course I said yes!


Diane's instructions are so thoughtful, and well written. I love that she even included coloring pages, in addition to suggested layouts, to let me play around with different color combinations and ideas. She also includes measurements and cutting instructions for multiple quilt sizes. I'm not great at quilt-math, so I appreciated this a ton.

It was still Summer, when I started the quilt. I had been sitting on a full fat-quarter bundle of Sunny Side by Kate Spain, since Spring Quilt Market, and when I saw the quilt design, the match was perfect. So, reluctantly, I carefully disassembled my pretty stack of Sunny Side, and got to cutting and stitching.


The quilt top came together really fast, especially with glue basting the seams. Gluing helped me zip right through the pieceing of the whole top. Diane's instructions ask to press the seams open, which is probably the only thing I did differently. I prefer to press to the side, and nest my seams. I appreciate that there's enough flexibility, with the pattern, to allow me to use the techniques I like. 


Then it was onto quilting and binding. I wanted to add some texture to the quilt with free-motion quilting, and decided on a cloud-like design, which I'm so happy with. It complements the weave pattern of Diane's design really well. For the binding, I went scrappy, using strips of the prints that are in the quilt. I really love how it turned out, as well.

I'm honored and grateful to have the chance to try out Diane's pattern. It's a lot of fun, and perfect for quilters of any level.





Diane is so generous, and has given me a copy of her pattern to giveaway! Enter below for your chance!! The winner will be announced on Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can purchase the pattern on Craftsy and Etsy.

If you missed any of the stops on the BlogHop, here they are:

Mon 9th - Diane @ from blank pages...
Tues 10th - Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
 Wed 11th - Ginny @ Fishcreek Studio
Thurs 12th - Kelleigh - guest blogging at from blank pages...
Fri 13th - Sara @ Sew Sweetness 

Mon 16th , Diane @ from blank pages... 
Tues 17th - Hilary @ Young Texan Mama
Wed 18th - Mike @ The Amateur Quilter 
Thurs 19th - Rachael @ imagine gnats 
Fri 20th - Courtney @ Mon Petite Lyons 

Mon 23rd - Jamie @ Sunflower Seeds 
Tues 24th - Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
Wed 25th - Krista @ Spotted Stones 
Thurs 26th - Cristy @ Sew Much Like Mom
Fri 27th - Diane @ from blank pages...

Thank you for stopping by!
~Cristy

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Applique is My Favorite: Video Tutorial

Oh, how I love me some applique! It makes me giddy. It's okay if you think I'm a weirdo, I'm completely good with that. There's just something about applique that speaks to my heart.

I adore applique because it can be pretty, funky, crazy, arty, modern, traditional, simple and complicated. Applique can be used in so many ways, as well: on quilts, clothing, bags, purses, and on an on an on. There are also many techniques for creating applique: turned-edge, raw-edge, machine stitched, and hand-stitched. And within those techniques, there are many ways to create the final applique.

In this post, I'm sharing my most favorite of techniques: turned-edge applique. If you Google that term, it's very likely that you'll find an overwhelming amount of information and mulitple methods for the technique. I'm quite partial to one technique, which was developed by my mom, Sharon Schamber. Although, in my 13 years of quilting, I've tried virtually all of them.

When my mom began creating applique for her quilts, she did it all by hand, with needle-turn applique (which she still does, for very special designs). The results were gorgeous, but it was very time consuming. That began her quest for a more efficient technique that she could stitch by machine, but get the look of hand applique. She tried freezer paper methods, and many other foundations until she discovered what she was looking for. Finally, she developed, and perfected, her technique using a leave-in foundation, which is glue-basted to the applique piece. Then all of the applique pieces are glue-basted to the background fabric. Once the quilt is washed, like magic, the applique pieces look hand stitched. It's easy, fast, and the results are fantastic!

Liberty Floral by Alyssa Lichner
Modern Beauty by Alyssa Lichner
My friend Alyssa, at Pile O' Fabric, has been hosting a wonderful Skill Builder Block of the Month series, on her blog. And guess what!? This month's blocks are applique!! Yippee!!! When, Alyssa asked me to teach her my mom's technique, to use for her BOM tutorial, I was thrilled. What a wonderful way to share this technique with so many quilters! When I saw the fabulous designs, I knew I wanted to do more to support Alyssa. So, I made some videos. At first, it was going to be just one little video on how to turn the edges of the pieces. But, it became much more than that. I put together an entire series of applique videos, walking you through the complete process from the first cut to the final stitch. The series supports Alyssa's designs, but the techniques, tips and tricks can be used for so much more. I focus on beginners, but I think many levels of quilters will gain something from watching. Did I mention that the videos are FREE?! Yep, they sure are.

You can watch them here, or hop on over to YouTube. I really hope you enjoy them, and that they inspire you to find a place for a little applique in your life.



Thank you for stopping by!
~Cristy

Friday, August 16, 2013

Piec-lique Circles & Drunkard's Path: Tutorial


Piec-lique (pronounced: piece-li-kay) is a technique, developed by Sharon Schamber (my mama), for creating any type of curved seam. More than 10 years ago, She began developing the technique , and published her book, "Piec-lique: Curves the New Way", with AQS, in 2005. For those who have taken classes from my mom, or myself, the technique is often an "Ah-ha!" moment. We've seen eyes light up and minds open to so many possibilities for their sewing and quilting.

Sewing curved seams can be very intimidating. Most of the other techniques, out there, require special feet for your machine, plastic templates, many pins, and/or tic marks. All of which can be costly and tedious. Piec-lique requires none of those. It just needs you to be willing to give it a try.

Once you learn the basics of Piec-lique, you can apply the technique to ANY (yes, ANY) curved seam design in the sewing and quilting world. My mom has developed three ways to use Piec-lique: 1) Inset Curves (like the circle), 2) Layered Curves and 3) Paperless-Paper-Piecing (layered straight lines). You can find more info, and detailed, high quality instruction for all of these methods {here}.

Are you ready? Let's get started!! I know you're going to love this!

First up: Supplies
The Cast of Characters

  1. Washable Basting Glue, with a fine tip. I use Elmer's Washable School Glue, and attach {this} fine tip to the top. It gives me the perfect fine line of glue, that I can control and won't get gloppy.
  2. Spray Starch (Regular or Heavy) & a Small Cup or Bowl (I just use the lid, though)
  3. 2 Pieces of Freezer Paper. Renyolds works well**. If you have access to heavier weight freezer paper, that's even better. You can order the heavier from my mom {here}.
  4. Small Stencil or Paint Brush. I generally use a 3/8" stencil brush.
  5. Scissors for Fabric and Paper
  6. Pencil
  7. Rotary Ruler, Cutter & Mat
  8. Iron - Hot and Dry
  9. A Circle Template, or Something to Trace a Circle From
  10. Fabric - Fat Quarters work great: One for the background, and one for the circle.
  11. Sewing Machine, ready to stitch (I'm using a 50wt cotton thread, and 75/11 embroidery needles.)
Step 1: Creating Your Freezer Paper Template Shape

Trace!
Trace, or print (you can print onto freezer paper) the size circle you'd like. I prefer a pencil, if tracing, because I'm paranoid that the ink from a pen will bleed. If you print from a printer, try changing the ink color to a light color to prevent bleeding. The shape only needs to be on one of your pieces of freezer paper.

The circle can be place in the center, or off center, of the paper. We're not worried about it very much. We'll be centering it on the fabric later, using guides we'll create.

Step 2: Preparing Your Freezer Paper Template

Once you have the circle traced and ready, lay both of your pieces of freezer paper on your pressing board, SHINY SIDES DOWN. I can't stress that point enough. If you put shiny sides up, the paper will stick to your iron. If you put shiny sides together, you'll adhere the pieces together, incorrectly, and won't be able to use them for Piec-lique.

You might be wondering why 2 pieces of freezer paper, instead of the typical single piece. Making your template with two pieces makes it much stronger, durable, and reusable. Doubling the layers will let you use the template 5-8 times, easily.



As you're pressing, apply a good amount of pressure to make sure the layers stick, and any bubbles or ripples are flat.

Shiny Sides Down!
After the two layers are pressed together, cut the center of the circle out, leaving the outside frame intact. Be sure to cut with smooth movements. Any bumps or gouges will show up on your fabric, later.


Our circle is cut and ready for the fabric!


Step 3: It's Fabric Time!

Cut a square piece of fabric that is a few inches larger than your circle. My circle is 4" across, so I cut my fabric at 8", but I would have been just fine with 6". We'll true up our block, making it the actual size you'd like, once we're done. You could cut your fabric to size now, but if this is your first time trying Piec-lique, I recommend giving yourself extra to work with.

Lightly starch and press your background fabric.


Finger press center creases into both your background fabric and your circle template. Draw a little line, or mark, on the creases of the circle template. This will help us center the circle, just right. If you want to play around, and off set the circle, go right ahead!

Line up your marks on the background fabric and template. Hold it in place, and press it, shiny side down, with your iron, to the back of your background fabric.


Press the template well, so it completely sticks to your background fabric. You should have no bubbles or bumps.


 Step 4: Cutting Out Your Circle

Next, you'll cut the center of your circle out. This can be a rough-cut. Give yourself at least a 3/8" seam allowance, here. That extra width in the seam allowance will help give you more control when you sew. Once we sew it up, you'll be trimming it off, to make it a nice little 1/4" allowance.

Discard the center that you cut away, or add it into your scrap bin.


Next, clip the inside curve of the circle. We are going to be pressing this up and over the edge of the freezer paper template, and the clipping will allow it to open up, creating a nice smooth circle. When you clip, stop about 2-3 threads/fibers before the freezer paper template. If you clip too close, a pesky little hole will show up on your lovely circle.

Gauge your clipping, so the allowance will turn to make a smooth circle. Too far apart will keep your circle from looking smooth. Too close is hard to manage,when your pressing. Mine is usually 3/8", or a tad smaller, for a circle. The wider the curve, the wider my clipping.


Step 5: Starching the Seam Allowance

Spray some starch into a small cup, or bowl. I usually just use the lid of my starch can. It will probably foam up some. When the foam settles, the liquid will be left.


With your stencil brush, paint some starch along the inside edge of the seam allowance. It should be damp, not heavily wet. Paint it around the entire circle. You also paint on the starch a bit, then iron, then paint on more. Either way is fine.


Step 6: Pressing the Seam Allowance

Be sure your iron is hot and dry. Pull back the little "tabs" of the seam allowance, over the top of the freezer paper. You'll feel when you "hit" the template. Don't pull on the tabs too much, to prevent the freezer paper from folding over, as well.

Press the tabs down, with your iron. Move around the circle, pulling over the tabs, and pressing them down. Slowly and smoothly.


When it's all pressed it will look a lot like the cog of a wheel. You should have a smoothly pressed circle, all the way around.


Step 7: Adding the Circle Fabric

Cut the fabric for the center of your circle. Since my circle is about 4", I cut a 5" square. The square doesn't need to be precise or cut perfectly. It just needs to be bigger than the center circle. I'm using Lilly Belle by Bari J. from Art Gallery Fabrics.


Remove the freezer paper. If you press it lightly with your iron, the wax of the shiny side will warm up, and release more easily.

Draw a fine line of glue around the circle, on the inside edge. See how close the edge I place it?


Place your circle fabric, right side down, and be sure it covers the seam allowance on all sides. Heat-set it in place with your iron.


Now for the big reveal! Turn it over, and take a look at your gorgeous circle!!!


Step 8: Sewing it all Together

Turn your circle back over to the back, and open up the crease you made when you starched and turned  your background. See that crease you made by pressing the allowance over, and against the freezer paper? This is your sewing line! Awesome, right? It's like magic!


Place your circle on your machine, and get ready to do some stitchin'. Be sure that the tabs of the allowance, and the right side of the raw edge of the circle fabric are to the right of the foot. You will be sewing through two layers, just like when you piece normally. Line your needle up with the crease, and begin with your needle down.


Slowly stitch directly on the crease, going around the entire circle. I guide with both hands, using my left to keep the bulk of the background out of the way of the needle. If you catch the background under the needle, you'll get tucks and puckers. I used a 1.8/2 stitch length, here.


When you get back to where you started, backstitch a few stitches.


This is what the seam will look like.


Once it's sewn, trim the allowance down to 1/4".


Turn it over, and press out any creases made from the sewing process. Feel free to starch lightly, if you'd like.


Ta-Da!!!!!!!


Step 9: Truing Up Your Block

To true up our block, we'll be working from the center out. This will give you a much more accurate measurement.

The following instructions are for making a centered and square block. If you'd like to play around with your circle and cut it off center, or make it wonky, go right ahead. There are so many fun things you can do with Piec-lique circles.

First, mark the centers of all four sides. It's a good idea to mark at the edge, and a small mark closer to the circle. Our original mark will be removed, as we cut away the edges. The additional mark, will help us we true it up.


Choose a measurement mark on your cutting mat to center your block on. I chose the 5" mark, but you could choose the 10, or anything you prefer. Lay your marked block on your mat, and line up your verticle marks with the measurement you chose.

Decide how big you want your block to be. I wanted a 5 1/2" block, unfinished, so as I trim, I will be measuring 2 3/4" from the center out, to be sure my block is accurate at the end.

Cut the right side first. Line up your ruler, from the center line, to half of the measurement that you want your unfinished block to be. For example, my block will be 5 1/2", unfinished, and 2 3/4" is half. That will be my mark for cutting. I lined up my center mark to the 2 3/4"measurement on my ruler. Then cut off the side with your cutter.


Next, line up your ruler on the left side of your circle block, going out, from the center, the same measurement you cut before. For mine, I went out from the center 2 3/4". Then cut.

Turn your block around, line up the bottom of your block to a horizonal measurement line, to keep it square. Repeat the measuring and cutting process for the last two sides.


TA-DA!!!!!!!!!!!! You did it!! Once you get the hang of this technique, you'll be making circles, of all sizes, and making them really fast. Now, I can finish one circle in less than 10 minutes.


The Drunkard's Path:

Turning your circle into a Drunkard's Path block is so crazy easy! There are only 2 steps. All you need to to is cut your circle in half, right down the center. Then cut both halves of your circle, in half. And just like magic, you have 4 Drunkard's Path blocks.

So freaking cool!!!


You can make a bunch of different circles, and cut them up to give you some scrappy Drunkard's Path blocks. There are so many layouts you can create with Drunkard's Path. I know you'll have a lot of fun with these blocks!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had fun learning Piec-lique.
~Cristy

**A note about freezer paper: If you use Renolyds, or another brand found at a grocery store, it will need to be preshrunk. When ironed, freezer paper shrinks in width (about 1/8"), but not length. Preshrinking it will prevent inaccuracies as you reuse the template. To preshrink your freezer paper, tear off your desired length, lay it shiny side down onto your pressing board. Lightly spray it with spray starch, and press it with a dry (NO steam) iron until it is completely flat and dry. Repeat for your second piece of freezer paper. You'll notice it pulling in on the width. Once it's dry and flat, it's ready to be used. If you order freezer paper from my mom, it doesn't need to be preshrunk.