Sewing in Sections

Thanks to all of you who chimed in with birthday greetings yesterday. I had a wonderful day, mainly spent sewing. It's just about the best thing I could do on a birthday. 

My first task was to fix a little spot where I'd used the wrong fabric in my sewing from the day before. I wanted to switch out the piece below where my scissors are pointing. Originally, I'd used the striped fabric there, but then realized it was really a part of the arm of the chair and not the chair back. For this technique, seams are intentionally offset, and so it makes it nice not to have to have everything matching up perfectly. 

Ann Shaw would have made all the pieces first before sewing anything together. That isn't my style, and so I'm winging it and sewing things together as I go. Where I think there was value in auditioning the fabrics for the individual subjects of the quilt (i.e., the chairs, sand, sky, etc.), at some point I have a great need to start fastening things together and avoid losing the many small pieces. Nevertheless, I'm leaving my freezer paper templates attached to the back. I'll leave them until I've sewn the whole thing together, and then I'll remove them. (I'll probably hate myself for sewing over the paper in places.)

A few of you have asked questions about this process, and so I'm going to show you how I'm sewing this little section together. On Wednesday, I'd taken section "K" to this point. In the upper left corner of the image below, you can see that pieces K-1 and K-2 are sewn together, but they can't be sewn to the larger part of the section until I've finished pieces K-17 and K-18 (not visible in this image). For now, it's just pinned to the top. If I'd been better at numbering my sewing order, I probably would have started K-1 at a different place. This works, however, and so I'm doing it in the order I originally designed it.

So, now I'm down to the pieces K-11 through K-16. I've been cutting the areas I'm working with in small pieces and leaving the freezer paper sections intact for as long as I can. With so many little pieces, it's easier to keep them attached to one another until I'm ready to use them.

With that in mind, I've cut out K-11 and K-12. Where is K-11, you ask?

Well, it's right there. It's one of the smallest piece in the whole quilt. As a word to the wise, once I start cutting these sections apart, I keep all the pieces together at the narrow end of my ironing board.

I'm not using that section for this demonstration because that little piece is so tiny. Instead, I'm showing you how I sewed K-13 through K-14 together. First, you iron the piece to the back side of your fabric. The shiny side of freezer paper is waxy, and it will stick to your fabric when heat is applied. It can also be peeled up and repositioned if necessary. Freezer paper is wonderful stuff. Please forgive this blurry image and notice that I've lined up my 1/4-inch line with the edge of the template. I'll cut it there. The template edge is where the seam line will go, and the extra is, of course, seam allowance.

When it's cut on all three sides, it looks like this. 

Piece K-14 happens to be a part of the chair seat. The pieces for the back and seat of the chair were first sewn together in strips of the two different fabrics. To create the pieces, I simply lined up the template by eye-balling approximately 1/4-inch of the orange stripes since that is the part I want to show when the strips are sewn together. (I hope that makes sense.)

When I'm ready to sew the two pieces together, I match up the red hash mark I made when I created the pattern. The hash marks are essential in that they make matching your pieces easier, but they also give you some clue as to the orientation of these little triangles.

I simply stick a pin through the top piece at the hash mark...

then check the other side to make sure they match up. (That's the shadow of the pin you see in that image below. When I took the picture, I was looking straight on at the pin. I don't think I could do that again if I tried.)

Then I sew the two pieces together.

Through all of this, I'm constantly checking back to my color-coded drawing so be sure I use the right fabrics with the right pieces.

Now, I just need to add pieces K-15 and K-16, and I'll be ready to sew this lower section to the one above it.

I still can't sew the original K-1 and K-2 until I've added pieces K-17 and K-18.

There they are there at the top in the image below.

Now I can add that final corner

And then my section is done. I'm ready to move on to section J above.

Section J has a lot of pieces as well. As the arm of the chair, it's one of the more complicated sections. It includes the polka dot fabric of the arm, the Kaffe Fasset section on the sides of the arm, and some of the sand. It's sometimes hard to decide, even with the color coded drawing, which fabric goes where. Often, I'm forced to lay the vellum tracing over the original image to figure out what's what. 

When section J was sewn together, I was able to add it to Section K below. 

After that, I completed Section L (to the right in the image above) and then I sewed sections K, J, and L together and my quilt looked like this.

And here was where I faced the moment of truth. Try as I might, I have not been able to make peace with those "shadow fabrics" beneath the chairs. After consulting with Mike and some of my friends, I decided to switch it out. If I'd left it, it would have ruined the quilt for me. Every time I looked at it, my eye went straight to those fabrics and I couldn't get over the idea that they were wrong for may different reasons. This morning, I started doing my morning embroidery, but couldn't get my mind off of this. So I put away the embroidery, mid-string of floss, and went to work on it. Here's how it looks now.

I like it better now, and I can stop ruminating about it. This morning I went to the Northwest Quilters quilt show. I have a lot of pictures to show you, but that will have to wait for another day. This afternoon, I'm making a cheesecake and a vegetable. The whole family is coming up tomorrow and we're going to celebrate all the May birthdays: Mae's, mine, and Mike's.

When Mike came home last night, he brought some flowers with him.

Shortly after that, we headed to downtown Portland to the Portland City Grill. It's on the 30th floor of the US Bank Tower, and it has the best views of the city. We always request a window seat, and that usually means waiting for a bit in their bar. It's a very nice bar, also with nice views of the city.

We barely waited very long at all and were seated at a very nice corner table. The table was decorated with "Happy Birthday" confetti.

We had a nice dinner, and watched the sun set and darkness fall on the city.

And it was a great day!

If I have time tomorrow, I'll start showing you some pictures of the quilt show. Really, I don't know how busy I'll be, and I'm hoping to get some more time for sewing. For now, I'd better get busy on that cheesecake.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sally T said...

Thank you so much for the detailed look at the sewing. And yes, the hash marks make a lot more sense now. And the replaced shadow looks a lot better. Meanwhile, I look forward to celebrations throughout your birthday month.

quiltzyx said...

That is a lot of teeny tiny pieces! I do like the new fabric for under the chairs. Not sure this something I would like to do. But it will be wonderful when you're done.
Beautiful flowers and a lovely dinner view - Mike done good! Glad you had such a great day.

Marlene said...

I had been wondering about the sewing of those pieces together but now I understand-thanks for the explanation. I agree that the pieces under the chairs do look much better. is that a Cosmopolitan I see in that glass? Hope you had a lovely dinner.

gpc said...

Flowers, a lovely dinner and birthday confetti -- sounds like a perfect celebration to me. :)

Debbie said...

Glad you made changes that satisfied you......sorry to have caused you the extra sewing. Looks good and your patience excells at this :)

Dana Gaffney said...

Just looking at that and reading about it makes me want to slap together a big block quilt, LOL. I'm glad you had a good birthday, it looks perfect.

Dana Gaffney said...

Just looking at that and reading about it makes me want to slap together a big block quilt, LOL. I'm glad you had a good birthday, it looks perfect.

Lynn - JnL4God said...

Your chairs are looking great. Happy Belated - I miss reading your blog for a couple of days and you go and have a Birthday. LOL Hope you had a nice one - it looks like you did. :)

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

For someone who hates paper piecing, you are doing a great job of drawing it up, and piecing it. Happy belated birthday!

Pam's Applique Paintbox said...

WOW! That is really coming together. Looks like you had a lovely birthday. Sweet flowers from your husband!

Kate said...

And I thought those Vintage Dresses were complicated! Your lawn chairs are really coming together. Hope you had a very happy Birthday and Mother's Day.