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BellaOnline's Sewing Editor


Sewing, Piece by Piece

The endearing folk art of patchwork has a unique claim upon our cultural psyche. Spanning generations and national boundaries, at times to waste not want not or merely to delight in assembling colorful patterns that catch our eye, patchwork endures.

Patchwork items can be found in every period of history. It is a time honored craft from which everyday clothes and quilts are constructed as well as functional items that insulate windows from cold drafts and incorporating as well colorful art to decorate the home. Patchwork fiber artists use fabric pieces and threads that can often tell a story much like a painter uses a canvas and paints.

From fabric simply cut into squares and or rectangles, sewn into strips, then each strip sewn together to make a colorful whole to visually picturesque landscape quilts showing woodland scenes, images of a bygone era, replicas of famous paintings or childhood memories all are really a stitchery achievement blending color, pattern and creativity.

The humble square shape is easy to replicate yet amazingly versatile in the assembled repetition of chosen patterns. Beginners will find it helpful to create a cutting template that includes a 1/4 inch seam allowance. A rotary cutting tool is immensely valuable in cutting neat, accurate shapes. The rotary fabric cutter speeds up the necessary cutting of fabric pieces, however sharp scissors can do an excellent job as well.

It is useful to have a design idea beforehand of what the finished piece is expected to look like. Drawing a scale design, or several designs, on paper helps to organize thoughts before any marking, cutting or piecing. Sketch coloring the paper drawing with color pencils or crayons can help visually when making design decisions.

It is vastly important to press seams between each sewn square, rectangle or sewn strip. It is considered best to press toward any darker fabric or press seams all in one direction. One of the challenges of patchwork piecing, particularly when all squares or rectangles are being sewn, is to have the edges match as perfectly as possible.

Times past have had patchwork items all hand sewn, sometimes necessary but obviously time-consuming. Machine-stitching the squares or rectangles into strips then strips to each other and continuing on in an assembly line method will speed up the process.

Patchwork quilts, wall hangings, baby blankets, throws and pillow coverings can be visually striking and yet enjoyably easy to sew. Patchwork items are a very creative not to mention thrifty use of fabric pieces.

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Content copyright © 2018 by Cheryl Ellex. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.


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