I thought I would follow up my last post with a little more of a tutorial just on improv piecing. This is a very low risk way to try it! The secret is fabrics that are similar in both value and color, but not toooo much alike. (I may do yet another post on using a wider range of fabrics, but I have to learn more about that first 🤣😅)
I have been wanting to play with the borders on this fireweed panel from Teresa Ascone since I got it, but haven't had a chance! I made a couple of quicker versions for bazaars, but I really wanted to make one similar to the tall iris one, they go well together.
The first step is to grab a pile of fabrics that I think might work. Then I put them by the panel, and quickly saw a few that I wanted to remove. Too 'grayish' or too red, or too light. That's partly just my preference, it's quicker and easier with less variation. What is left is fairly homogeneous, but there is still some variety. All medium ish purples. I did end up putting one of the pinks back in, you will see how that ended up!
If none of your scraps are in strips, you may want to cut a few to start. I had several already in my pile, so I started with sewing some of those together. The width doesn't matter too much, but keep in mind the scale of the project you are doing. Then I cut those into random sized chunks. In the second pic below, you can see that I cut a few chunks off, then trimmed a whole strip so I could add another to that set and have it not be too wide.
Then I start stitching those pieces to each other, or to another strip. You will be amazed at how quickly it comes together! I just keep making each little chunk bigger, then when I have a good pile, I can put them by the panel to see how it's coming. At this point, I will decide approximately how wide I want my borders to be. I decided to have them 4 inches on two sides, and 6 inches on the other two. (cut size, but it's improv, so it doesn't really matter!) So then if a chunk was already four or a little over, I knew to only add to the ends, not the sides. I squared things up after each batch of stitching a new piece on, but that's optional too, it can be wonky if you want!
I thought I had enough at this point, (below) and I even remembered to allow extra at the top and bottom to make room for inner borders. But for some reason it didn't connect that the sides would need that too. 🤦♀️ (Lyme brain😭) But that was ok, because I was also not really happy with that one bright pink fabric... I tried flipping the whole border over so it would be on the inside, and I still didn't like it, so I chopped the whole thing in half and sewed it back on another way. After adding some more to the length, the pink ended up in completely different spots, but I like it better. The trouble with a wider variety of fabrics is that totally random doesn't always end up looking great. But that just means it requires at least a little more planning.
It still needs quilting, but that has to wait a bit! I'll put the iris one in here again too. As long as there isn't a huge range of colors and values, these can be pretty random and still look great! I'm still not 100% sure of those little pink squares.... maybe I'll paint them 🤣 And, as I said in my last post, this project can also be done as a 'beginners and enders' project. I hope you will try it! Now I need another beginners and enders project myself, hmm.... Oh, and I almost forgot! These plus more panels, kits, and patterns available here, just click 'shop online' above.
Happy sewing! Beret
Upcoming classes: Barn wood quilt block painting, Mon, Feb. 17, Free Motion quilting Saturday, Feb. 22. Click 'classes' above for more info or to register!
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Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of them have even been in Keepsake Quilting! I teach classes at local quilt shops, and am starting to do more traveling and teaching. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
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