Probably four or five years ago I started a project and, after an enthusiastic start, I put it to one side, got involved with other things and that was that. It was, however, still peeking at me in an accusatory fashion from underneath other things on the shelves of my cutting table so, in an effort to finish what I started I pulled it all out again.
The project is a Moda bake shop ‘recipe’ by Lynne Goldsworthy (available here for free) and I liked the slightly raggedy look of the finished flag and the colours she used but, at that time, I’d never done much (if any) foundation paper piecing. Now I have so it was a bit of a shock to remember that this is not at all like that apart from the fact that paper is involved. In this method you cut up the fabric into squares using pinking shears (or cutter) and lay them on sheets of newspaper making sure they are overlapped by at least 1/4 inch. In fact, the easiest way is to use charm packs which already have pinked edges.
Then, you stitch down the pieces an 1/8 inch away from each pinked edge – which is why I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with this project at first because it just seemed wrong to me. However, this method is what gives it the shabby look that I had liked initially.
You separate the colours into brown, red and cream and lay each colour on sheets of newspaper which you cut to a set size then sew them down with a small stitch so, in effect, you are making a new fabric which is sort of what you do in all patchwork but this is different in that the seams are showing on top. It feels a bit weird. It is also a bit of a pain because, unless you use a multitude of pins, it does try to shift around under the sewing machine. Then you remove the newspaper and cut the new ‘fabric’ into triangles for the brown fabric and different sized bands for the red and cream.
With me so far?
At this stage I was still dubious but, once I started joining it together I became more enthusiastic and am actually quite chuffed with the resulting top.
**** If you are not interested in more of ‘the process’ scroll down to the next set of ***** lest you be unnecessarily bored to tears.
I did find certain problems with the instructions so I did a bit of research to find out if anybody else had the same issues but couldn’t find anything so maybe it’s just me. However, in case it helps, this is what I found.
When I joined the first quadrant together I assumed the joining seams would be 1/4 inch which is usual in patchwork. Unfortunately, I assumed wrongly and it came out too small – luckily I checked before I joined the other three. It seems that everything is 1/8 inch but I couldn’t find that instruction anywhere. The top stitched seams are 1/8 inch, yes, but as they are not ‘normal’ seams I didn’t think it would follow that the joining seams would also be that small. The instructions have you press the ‘normal’ seams open but I didn’t bother as that is a difficult thing to do with such a small seam allowance so I pressed to one side – a maverick, that’s me. Also, because I had to undo the seams of the first quadrant and mess with edges cut on the bias after removal from the foundation paper, it started to go out of shape so I had to be careful lining it up with the other quadrants.
The instructions have you cut ten 2 inch bands from the cream ‘fabric’ you have made but, as you can see from the photo above, you actually need twelve. Luckily I had enough cream squares left to cobble together another couple of bands. The instructions also tell you to use 1 inch bands for this stage but she actually means 2 inch ones as there only four 1 inch bands in the design used for the narrow strips of the flag and, anyway, it is obvious from the photo that they should be the wider strips. The pattern is free but, even so, I’m surprised it doesn’t appear to have been corrected since it was published as I’m sure I can’t be the only one – or can I??
Anyway, enough of the technical stuff.
Still with me?
This is actually supposed to be a wall hanging but I’m not sure Mr. T wants another one (yet) and I’m not so patriotic that I’m going to hang a Union Jack in a prominent position on the wall – even if it is a stylised, scruffy version. So, I’m thinking I’ll use it as a throw over the back of a sofa or chair or bench or something.
The fabric I used is the same as the one in the original instructions and is a Moda fabric by French General and called ‘Falalalala’. The text in the fabric range is taken from a French song of the same name which is sung to the same tune as ‘Deck the Halls’ but with different words so there’s a bit of entente cordiale going on here – as is fitting for a Brit living in France. You can’t say I don’t give you useless information in my posts or even fodder for pub quizzes. Of course, this range is hard to find now as I’d abandoned the project for so long but I wanted to back it with something pretty as it won’t be hidden on the wall but visible as the reverse side of a throw. I found a couple of the designs still available in a shop in the U.K. – more in the U.S. of course but the shipping was silly talk – and I went for the cream one with poinsettias. A rash choice for a house full of animals you might think but, hey, I’ve already got visible pinked edges in possible danger of fraying so I’m obviously throwing caution to the wind with this project.
Mr. Tialys will be arriving home from the U.K. in a couple of hours with the cream fabric – and some of the plain greyish brown for the binding – I didn’t want the binding to be a feature as it’s supposed to be a flag after all – so I should be able to get it together this weekend. I’m a little worried as the instructions say you need 2.5 yards of backing fabric and I worked out I’ll only need 1.6m – mixing my metrics with my imperials is never a good thing – so I might have to add a strip of some of the fabric I have left over, we’ll see but maths was never my strong point. I will be quilting in the ditch only as I think there’s enough visible stitching going on already.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the finished throw artfully draped over the back of a sofa and adorned with a cat or two (who will be chucked off straight after the photo is taken IG style) early next week.
What do you think? Have you ever had doubts about a project you started some time ago? Did you abandon it or complete it and, if you completed it, were you glad or sorry that you bothered?