Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Trimming the Blocks

The twenty-five gorgeous blocks were almost all in a proper state of readiness...the 8" seam line was delineated with stitching, there were adequate margins all the way around that line for cutting a clean edge to make the blocks exactly 8 1/2" square...a few blessed ladies even had surged the perimeters of their blocks so there was no fraying.

Job one, then, was to interface the blocks one by one and then trim them to size.
But why interface them first?
My friends and readers know by now that I don't like working with floppy blocks. Plus, the interfacing gives a nice clean edge to some of those easily fraying silks or fancy least, it is clean enough for the next step, which will be sewing the sashing between the blocks.
Also, the interfacing can give a little extra "territory" to the block if it ends up being a little less than 8 1/2" (see below; Willa, you are about to be publicly busted, and for this I do apologize in all friendship and humility! But it is only because your block was so heavily embellished that it shrank right up. This is why it is good to interface before you start stitching, will help prevent that shrinkage.)

So here is how the trimming process looked, times twenty-five:

Judith Green, of New Zealand, made this beauty. Here it is positioned onto the fusible knit interfacing, which I will cut to size.

The fusing. I have a cushy towel on my ironing board to provide "give" for all the 3D embellishments on the surface of Judith's block. The block is placed face down on some release paper, with more release paper between the interfacing and the hot iron. If any edge of the interfacing is hanging over the edge of the fabric, this way it won't gunk up my towel. The top layer of paper is to prevent the iron from melting the interfacing, which sometimes can happen.

Trimming it up here. I used my spiffy ruler that has increments marked in inch-and-a-halves, so it was easy for me to line up my 8 1/2" square over the block.

Most of the time I didn't worry about cutting through hand stitching in the seam treatments. Too many of them extended over my cutting line...and the interfacing helps hold the stitches in place on the back. But here I went "around" this buttonhole fan, as I didn't want the whole thing to come apart when I cut into it.
I should say that the trimmed edges are fragile and unstable, but because the blocks are not being touched again (aside from being pinned back up on the wall) until they are to be sewn, I think they will be fine for the time being.

Willa my dear, your block is my favorite of all of them and will be placed right in the center of the quilt. But it is not 8 1/2". I fused interfacing onto the edge to give me my exact needed size...but the interfacing is wider than my 1/4" seam allowance will be, so it would therefore show after the block was sashed. So I am going to add some purple fabric along the edge and retrim it. I do that all the time to my blocks. So the problem will be easily solved.

There are a couple of details I just have to share here because they are so cool!

This is Stephanie Novatski's beaded butterfly. Isn't it wonderful?
(Sorry my new all-seeing camera picks up any stray thread that my poor eyes sure don't notice when I snap the picture...)

Barbara Blankenship made this fascinating beaded ribbon rose. She meticulously sewed that picot beaded edge to some ribbon before she gathered it and made a rose out of it. That is dedication.

Tomorrow I will sew these blocks together with some yummy gold dupioni sashing fabric that I purchased this morning. Now it is off to the gym!


Robin said...

This is really helpful... thanks for posting about trimming the blocks, and especially about the extended seam allowance for the block with the fan. The picot beaded edge on the ribbon rose is delicious. And the finished quilt will be amazing!

I've been busy with back to back teaching ~ no time for blogging. It's great to have a free morning to catch up on blogs. Scrolling down through yours for the past two weeks has been pure pleasure... eye candy galore!

Rian said...

This was a very interesting and informative post. In the case of CQ blocks you can make it larger than intended and trim it to size. Of course this wouldn't work with a pieced block, you'd lop off the points for sure! Ask me how I know!

Absolutely stunning blocks, all of 'em.

Debra Dixon said...

I sometimes have trouble trimming when the block has surface embellishments that prevent the ruler from laying flat on the block. I pullout trusty scissors for those blocks.

Nice tutorial!

Deb Hardman said...

Incredible work!

I love that stabilizer! What a good way to work your CQs!

goodthings said...

I'm not a quilter but I can appreciate the gorgeous and labor intensive work. What beatiful work. WOW! Georgeann