Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tutorial - Sewing a 3-Point Corner

I'm currently making another baby quilt for a friend and I didn't realise that I'd designed a crazy block that required a 3-point corner to join 3 of the pieces together until I started cutting material. Up until now I've been careful to make sure that all pieces can be sewn together by simply adding each individual piece to the growing block with straight sewing lines - much easier to sew. The 3-point corner isn't very difficult to sew but it can be a bit fiddly. Here's how I did it:

Here are the 3 pieces that need to share a corner.

I sew 2 pieces together first and press the seam - in this case towards the blue piece as the flower piece actually forms a corner of my crazy block.

Then I sew the third (pink) piece to the flower piece, starting at the outside edge sewing towards the blue piece, taking care to stop exactly when I reach the seam joining the first 2 pieces. I sew back for a few stitches then forward again to reinforce the seam. Note: this is NOT how most would sew this. Usually it's recommended to sew from the existing seam at the middle of the 3 point corner outwards in case the sides aren't exactly the same length but whenever I try to do this I wind up fighting with my machine and saying many bad words in the process. So this works for me.

When I open up the seams you can see the junction of the 3 pieces and the remaining seam still to be sewn.

This is the fiddly bit as you may need to tug the material a little to get the 2 sides of the last seam to line up and you will also need to fold the first piece out to make sure you don't catch it in the seam about to be sewn.

Here is the last seam lined up ready to be sewn.

Again I sew from the outside towards the central corner and reinforce the end of the stitching so the corner won't gape or come loose. I don't bother reinforcing the start of the seams as with the addition of more pieces to the growing block all these ends will be incorporated into new seams preventing them from unravelling. However, if you're starting the seam from the centre of the block then obviously reinforce your stitching before sewing towards the outside and no need to reinforce the end of the seam.

Press the seams to one side - in this crazy block the flower piece is a corner, the pink piece forms part of a side and the blue piece is a centre piece so all seams are folded towards it.

The finished product - a 3-point corner.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Playmat Part 5 - Finished!!

Well it's been a very busy end to 2009 with little time for craft. I have a very good reason for downing tools - I had a baby! Now that things are settling into a bit of a routine I hope to start up again. Got some great ideas already and a few gifts to make this month. But to continue the playmat story....

All the hand sewing was done and it was time to finish off the mat with a border and a backing. Since the background to the mat was a neutral pale lemon I wanted to add some colour and after fumbling around organising and reorganising bordered cells in an excel file I came up with a triangle motif border in bright vibrant colours.

I sewed all the pieces together in colour order first for each side....

...then attached each bordered side to the mat...

...leaving the corner seams to last.

Using the same 6 colours I made a long strip of paralellograms attached to each other for the hoop covers and lined it with some thin wadding. I folded each strip in half lengthwise with right sides facing and inserted a skinny tie (made of the lemon material folded in on itself and hand sewed together - it was way to skinny to be able to use a sewing machine) at intervals along the strip. I then machine-sewed each strip to form a long skinny cylinder. Then came the fiddly part of trying to turn the cylinders inside out which turned out to be easy compared to pulling it over the half hoops as I had made the cover very snug. I hand sewed each end closed, incorporating a thicker, longer tie at each end - thankfully I was able to make these with the sewing machine so not as tedious to do.

The skinny ties are to hang toys from and the longer ties at each end of the hoop half is to attach it to the mat.

Each corner of the mat also got a longer tie which I sewed on in a box-cross pattern to secure it.

Next I cut a piece of thick wadding and some backing material made of polar fleece - both designed to provide warmth and comfort when the mat is on the floor. Each layer of the mat was sprayed with adhesive and carefully layered together - normally I would only spray one side of the material to form a temporary hold but since I wasn't going to quilt the mat, I needed a firmer more permanent hold to keep the layers together.

I used the same lemon material to create the binding and sewed it in place before trimming the mat edges, folding the binding over and hand sewing to finish it off.

Last things to add were some novelty buttons to cover the reinforced sewing on the ends of the longer ties on each corner of the mat and since I sewed through all layers of the mat, this also helps provide extra strength as the mat is stretched fairly taut when the hoops are tied on. Pictured here is the flower button - the other corners were a sun, a pig and a zebra button.

And after 3 months of scheming and sewing it's finally complete!!

Little Sir has already had a play and loves laying under all the hoops, taking random swipes at the toys tied on. I'm so pleased with how this has turned out, I just wish I had had the idea to do this with Little Lady when she was a baby. Ah well, there's still plenty of things I can make for her. Hmmm...speaking of which...
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