Monday, April 23, 2007

Finishing the Purple Heart Crazy Quilt...long!

First I just want to thank those of you who have left comments on this series of posts...especially you who have said that this tutorial is giving you confidence to take on your own more complex (i.e. large) crazy quilting projects. Nothing could make this blogging stitcher happier than hearing that!

So, to resume...applying the "dressy back" is much easier and quicker than hand-basting the false back into place. All that is involved is pin basting the backing that will "show', sewing on a grid of buttons on the back that secure all the layers of the quilt together, and then attaching the French Facing--instead of a binding--around the perimeter of the quilt to finish the edges. ...attaching the hanging sleeve was a little tricky, and I would do it slightly differently next time. So I will write about that another day....

I chose a contemporary cotton print for the back that has both red and blue purples in it. I liked the idea of a matte finish on the back to contrast with all the fancy shiny fabrics on the front. I think the contemporary design of the print offsets the old-fashioned look on the front; it's a little unpredictable, which I, I think it will wear better...this quilt is going to be doing some traveling to various exhibits before it finds its home in the hospital.
Here is the backing pinned into place. You can see that it doesn't cover the entire width of the quilt....those edges on the side will eventually be covered by the facing.

To place my buttons, I ran a pin through the lower left corner of the blocks. This helped me locate exactly where to sew my button on the other side. My stitches will come up through that seam line and not show...that is, if I use matching thread. This is a tad obsessive, but why not do it right?

Button in place. There were sixteen total on the back.

See? You can hardly see those stitches coming through from the back.

My bad here. This is a word of caution not to use gel pens to mark outside stitching lines in your block! I like gel pens because I get a fine line that shows up on a dark fabric...but...even though I had marked my 8" X 8" sewing line carefully, any embellishment will shrink up a block some (even when it is interfaced) that when I trimmed up my block, guess what? When I pulled out the stitching line that was over the gel pen line, alas, the line shows and this ink is permanent.
Not a huge deal...but from now on I will only use the gel pens for marking stitching that I know is not going to be pulled out later.

So now for the French Facing Technique. I described it on my late lamented blog, Works in Progress, but that is here we go again. (This will be good practice for writing this technique up formally for CQMagOnline next issue, and who knows, maybe for a book one fine day.)

Before I sew on my facing I need to trim my edges, but before I trim my edges I baste them together close to where I'll be cutting off the ragged part. This saves grief and slippage when sewing on my facing. I want my fabric to behalf itself at all times, particularly that notoriously wiggly velvet!

Niiiice velvet. Goooood velvet.

Oops, I forgot to take a picture of the four strips of this purple lining fabric that I cut, one for each side of the quilt. They were folded long wise and ironed, so that one edge of each strip is finished.
I used this fabric because it adds no bulk and will take a sharp crease when ironed.
Here I am cutting one of four squares that will become the corners of the quilt's facing. Notice the bias is on the straight grain of the fabric.

My little square is ironed in half....

...and pinned onto the RIGHT side of the quilt corner.

You can see here the strips pinned on top of the corner triangle, but not quite to the ends. The raw edges are at the seam line and the folded edges face the center of the quilt.

Then I have sewn my seam around the corner, over all the layers. See why I wanted thin fabric? Also, notice how I have trimmed the corner at an angle. Can you guess what is going to happen next?

Voila! I turned the corner right side out, sliding the strips under it so that no raw edges show, pinned all in place, and....

....then I hand sewed everything down. (Sorry the corner keeps changing directions from one picture to the next.)

This is how it looks from the front. Except for that miter missing the corner by 3/16" (Dang!!! Points off here!!!), it is a nice looking, clean and square corner.

The last step in finishing the quilt was sewing on the lovely label that Barbara Blankenship, the lady who organized this quilt, created for it.

Her embellishment work is so delicate and truly reflects a Southern gentlewoman!

So here it is at last, all done and ready to be mailed. I kept track of how much time this whole construction process took me...I was curious...and if anyone wants to hire me professionally to do this for them I will know what to charge: ALOT! It took me 30 hours exactly.

Glad, so glad to do it. And I've been equally happy to drag you all along with me!

The quilt will be unveiled May 6th at Walnut Street Gallery in Perkasie, PA, in conjunction with a great show featuring the art bras, and related objects, from the Way to Womens Wellness Foundation. It will travel to Texas, Maine and Virginia this year before finding its permanent home in a cancer treatment center.


Victoria Adams Brown said...

Bravo Allie! This is a stunning piece. Your fabric choice for the back is perfect. Using the rayon cord as a border is a great touch. The tutorial is easy to grasp. Now let's go get you a book deal!
Thank you so much for taking on this project!

Chelle said...

What an incredible quilt!

Rian said...

Incredible. It will bring joy to all who gaze upon it.


Pat Winter Gatherings said...

Absolutely gorgeous Allie! It came together so well. You certainly make it look easy. I know it was a huge job to undertake. I don't know where you find the time.

Debra Dixon said...


Where will it be shown in Texas? maybe I need a road trip!

Possibilities, Etc. said...

I wish it were coming to Austin - but Houston or San Antonio would do!! It is a beauty, and I would love to see it "in person." JAH

Marty52 said...

Good job! Absolutely gorgeous!

Erm.... did you say BOOK?

Gerry said...

This is such a beautiful piece. Each and every piece. The velvet border is stunning. And the backing is perfect. You desire a HUGE round of applause for a job superbly done!

Sandra said...

'Incredible, stunning, gorgeous'-- I totally agree - 'Priceless' would also apply. And I love the verse on the label and the design for it. It will be a blessing to everyone who gets to see it.

Granny Fran said...

What a wonderful creation of love! I'm definitely in favor of a book. You do and you teach. More people need your assistance.
Where in Texas?

Micki said...

Allie, you have done an amazing job with this quilt.

Barbara said...

This is absolutely gorgeous, Allie! How thrilling it is to see the finished wall hanging and be able to follow your wonderful step-by-step tutorial.

Each block is a work of art and the wall hanging a treasure. Fabulous work, my friend.

Kay said...

I've been away for a while and missed the posts leading up to this, so it was fun to read them all. A beautiful quilt, and you've done such a terrific job of explaining your steps. Well done.rt

Robin said...

The finished quilt sings of love, hope and healing ~ it's a masterpiece! Allie, you picked the perfect color for the sashing... couldn't be better, and I know you must have agonized over the decision a bit. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I'm saving this one in my favorites for the day I get around to a CQ ~ which, with your frequent inspiration, won't be long!

sharonb said...

Allie - Congrats on the finish and a great series which I am sure many people will find really useful

Shelina said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I had heard you put buttons to attach the clean backing, but didn't realize they were on the back! The french fold technique is also new to me.