Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My focus on design gravitates toward projects smaller than full sized quilts: wall art, table dressings, bags and such. I have a couple of favorite products that I find myself using over and over again on my projects and thought I’d share them with you. Mind you, there may be other products just as useful and reliable, but these are a couple that came across my path.
The batting I find myself using again and again is Warm & Natural 100% needled cotton batting ( For my purposes, I like the 100% cotton make-up, but most appealing to me is the dimensional stability it offers for my projects, that is, it holds it shape while working with it. My pattern, Sophisticated Trio of Handbag Accessories, is a set of three accessories: eyeglass/sunglass case, checkbook cover, and business card caddy. They are small items to sew and using batting with a soft, fluffy, malleable hand would not help achieve the tailored look sought after for this project. I also used this batting in constructing Fab Frame, a fabric photo frame available on, (see Textiles, Sketchbook Entire Line) and a soon-to-be-released table dressings pattern: Simple Elegance. Again, shape retention is important to me in these applications, and I find this batting fills the need.
Another product, also made by the Warm Company, that I use for numerous applications is Steam-A-Seam 2, fusible bonding tape. A few of the uses (I’m sure I’ll think of more after I’ve posted this)
To tack pieces for stitching, as in the band on the business card case in Sophisticated Trio
To "baste" openings in seam lines closed to hold for topstitching. I find that using this product tends to lessen the fabric rippling or "scooting". You folks with walking feet probably don’t have this problem.
To substitute for pinning. On occasions when I cut bindings on the cross grain, which has more give than the lengthwise grain, I use SAS2 to fuse the binding to the quilt, then stitch. Again, it holds the seam line in check to prevent the presser foot from pushing the top layer of fabric ahead and distorting the fit of components.
Another "basting" application: on the most recent project, I’ve designed a bag which has an angular medallion of sorts, that is applied (sewn) on the face of the bag. By applying SAS2 to the edges of the medallion and fusing to the bag prior to topstitching, it is a no-fail application—no stretched corners or cross grain distortions. The puppy sits and stays!
I also use the ¼" fusible bonding tape for turning under ¼" hems. The paper lined tape acts as a template to yield a uniform hem depth. Position the tape on the raw edge with paper liner on and press 1 or 2 seconds to melt it a little into the fabric fibers. Take care not to overdo this step, I find the paper can get difficult to peel if I overheat it. Turn the raw edge over the paper--the paper acts as a template with which to delineate the hemline. Once creased, remove paper liner, fuse according to manufacturer’s instructions (longer than the 1 or 2 seconds to tack I mentioned) and, voila! Hem marked and done.
The application that follows is similar to what I’ve already listed, but a specific application. On the bag medallion I spoke about, I applied lines of ¼" wide fabric strips criss-crossing the face. I used the SAS2 3/16" tape to hold the strips securely in place prior to topstitching. Another basting application, and the 3/16" tape is easily hidden beneath the ¼" wide strips.
Note: I often apply the tape/paper and fuse just a second or two for "basting" or melting the adhesive just a bit into the fibers to position elements on the project,. However, you must follow manufacturer’s instructions for fusing to get the permanent bond and to prevent the adhesive gumming up your machine needle. Visit the Warm Company website for further information.
Well, enough prattling on for today. Hope there is information some of you Creative Folk can use.
Happy Quilting Travels. Deborah

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