Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"BLOOM" Sew Along, Block 6. And "Nesting"...Not Just for the Birds!

"BLOOM"ing right along on Lori Holt's Sew Along, here's Block 6:
Credit: "Bee in My Bonnet".  Click the pic for Lori's tutorial.
I LOVE this flower!  I really wanted to make the petals white, like a real daisy, but of course it wouldn't work against the background.

Here are my fabric choices for this one:

And then I did my standard trace shapes onto Steam a Seam, rough cut out, stick onto wrong side of fabric, press, cut precisely, arrange, press again, then applique!

Ready for applique!
Applique done!
After this step, I square up the block before adding the border rectangle and squares.  This time, I figured I would show you how I try to make sure my seams all line up so I don't have a wonky frame for my cute little block!

In this pic, I have already sewn my "rows" together, and I pressed them.  I hope you can see how I pressed the top and bottom row seams inward, and the middle row seams outward.  This is so 1) the colored seams don't show up on the white background square, and 2) my seams will "nest", thus helping them lock together.

What is "nesting"?  It's a thing I first learned from Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Co where basically you plan ahead and press the seams of your rows so that they go in opposite directions.  She demonstrates it in MANY of her fantastic tutorials, so click that link to check out some if you haven't already.  

The thing about Jenny is that she just nests her seams with her fingers, and then just happily sews together a perfect block right before your eyes.  Unfortunately, I do not have her skill, so my block seams would be close, but would still be off, causing me much frustration.  I figured I would just improve with time and practice.

Then bought a Craftsy class called "Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple" by Camille Roskelley of "Thimble Blossoms" and of "Bonnie & Camille" fabrics.  Camille has a very different style than Jenny does; not better or worse, just different.  And she pins.  A lot.  Jenny doesn't pin.  But the way Camille pins seams was life-changing for me.  I highly recommend buying this class, not only for her fabulous infamous "Swoon" Block pattern you get as part of the class, but for all of the tips and tricks she gives along the way.  BTW, I am addicted to "Bonnie & Camille" fabric, and I love that this is a mother-daughter design team!

So anyway, Camille will plan ahead to "nest" her seams as well.  But she adds a pin down the center of where the seams intersect.  And by doing that, the seam will not move when it is sewn.

Freakin' brilliant!!  I am using very fine (.5mm), long glass-head pins by Dritz which I found on Amazon HERE.  After using these babies, "normal" pins feel like toothpicks to me...I suggest you get some.

So when the two seams are nested and pinned, they look like this:

I also added an extra pin mid-way through the rectangle, because why not?  I actually keep my pins in when they go under the needle, although some peeps will tell you to pull them out right before they reach the needle.  You do whatever you want.

What's funny is that I used to not pin because I thought it took too much time, work and effort, but now I do it all the time without a second thought; it's just part of my process now and the results are worth it.  If there's one thing quilting taught me, it's that investing the time and effort on the front end will pay invaluable dividends in the finished product...and yes, that applies all the way back to starching and pressing your yardage before you even cut it.  

And, here are my pretty-darn-close-to-almost-perfect seams:

No, not perfect, but way better than if I had not pinned those seams.  And as Jenny says, finished is better than perfect! :-)

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