Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Coarsewoven patchwork - how to put it together

This turned into a bit of a tutorial - based on all the drawings I came up with.  I thought that I could easily demonstrate how to sew this coarse woven block together with the help of a couple of pictures but that would have fallen short.

So here goes.

Chose three fabrics, cut them into a few strips of equal width. Pick the fabric to use for the vertical strips and cut these into lengths of four times their width.

You may want to cut a couple of squares off the other two strips (one of one colour and two of the other if you're making one block to try this out).  Sew these three squares to a vertical strip each, like so:

Always make sure to press seams open before sewing over them (if you never tried patchwork before: pressing seams open makes a huge difference. You'll be glad you bothered. Honestly)

Put the two strips aside and work with the single strip and square unit.

Attach two vertical strips to either side - but not for the entire length. This is where the partial seams come in - and it's these partial seams that makes this block come together so smoothly.

Start at the top and sew down about three quarters. You want to leave the stepped end open with enough room so you can easily sew another fabric against the end of what are, for now, the outer strips. That's for later though. For now just sew down about three quarters. Or two thirds if you prefer, it doesn't make much of a difference.

I drew in a light grey line where my partial seams end. The broken lines mean seams.

The graphics show the outer strips bent outwards, that's meant to show those ends being loose and not sewn against the inner, central strip yet. Not sure if this makes sense.

Next, sew the strip of the upper colour (bolded in the graphics) against the top of the three strips. I didn't bother cutting the horizontal strips to the right lengths but daisy-chained all my four motifs onto the continuous horizontal strip and then rotary cut them on the mat after that.

Then sew another two vertical strips against the outer sides, again with a partial seam.

Continue in this way (alternating vertical strips and horizontal strips working with the first two colour fabrics only) until you added four horizontal strips.

The next step gets a bit more interesting. This time attach one of the two strips with the square of the third fabric already attached. You no longer have to do a partial seam, you finally get to sew an entire seam in one go!

If you would like to make more than one block/motif at the same time you will want to attach the second block to the side of the first.  The broken line on the right is meant to show that this is a horizontal strip that is really longer than the square I drew.

Now flip the whole thing over so your first horizontal (bolded) strips are at the bottom and the side with your third fabric horizontals are at the top (the ones in purple/blue). You want to sew the third colour strip against the top of the three vertical strips.  I am showing one of the three vertical strips with a round edge, that's just meant to show that this side has not yet been sewn to the neighbouring vertical strip.

The next bit you get to do, finally!, is to close the partial seam where I drew the red rectangle in. I should have really done another graphic but I'm sure you get the idea. You need to close the first partial seam all the way down once you attached the second purple strip. Once that partial is fully closed you can attach the next purple/blue strip*, close the next partial seam and so on until you are done.

*: I am saying purple/blue strip because the colour looks purple on one monitor, but blue on another. Go figure.

Please let me know if the drawings and my description makes sense.

I loved sewing this. It was so much fun.

When I make enough progress with this project I will post about what it is going to be. Fingers crossed it pans out the way I imagine and hope.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

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