A new project

Nostrils and tail yet to do, but looking good!

I started a new project last night.  I haven’t been able to appliqué for a couple years so I’m really excited about this.

I’ve wanted to try some new stuff.  A friend supplied the material and will get the resulting coat.  I’ve made tests of the coat pattern (A Little Something), made the necessary adjustments and I’m ready to go!

This is a three color coat.  The left side of the jacket is purple batik.  The right is green batik and the accent is ink navy.  The sleeve bottom and coat bottom will be bordered in Oriental Dance blocks.

This bit of the project is all hand appliqué.  The horse head pattern is on a piece of paper on the back.  I sew the three layers together (paper, background and foreground) using a sewing machine and staying on the pattern lines.  From the front I carefully cut the foreground material away and, as I unpick the stitching, I turn the edge under on the stitching line and appliqué the foreground down to the background being careful not to catching the paper in the stitching.  This technique gives me accurate and flat appliqué.  It always looks like the appliqué was just ironed flat.  So far, so good!  I think it’s looking awesome!

I’m not sure how it’s going to be quilted.  I may give Karen the background and batting and have her pin the coat pieces to it and quilt them.  So far I’ve got the pattern pieces cut extra big so there’s room around the outside to stitch it down to the backing before it’s mounted on the quilting machine.  That might work.  You can tell I’m still pondering this part.


Ribbons galore

Vendor's Choice and a first place in the "Other" category

Wreath of Life hanging in Karen's booth

The quilt show is over and two of my quilts did really well.

The Sunset quilt got People’s Choice the second day and second in the pieced category.

The Ichthy Bog Coat got a Vendor’s Choice ribbon and a first in the “Other” category.

Even better, LouAnn’s grape quilt got People’s Choice the very first day!  That rocks!  And Karen‘s been asked to teach the Square Dance (block used as the border on the bog coat) at two different location!  That really rocks!

LouAnn’s Wreath of Life quilt hung in Karen’s booth and many asked for the pattern.  We all agree the quilt would have been pretty without the pieced background, but the large Dance block in pastels behind the appliqué really added to the depth and richness of the quilt.

Bog Coat Finish

Lips of the camo seam sewn together from the paisley side. You can see the soluble stabilizer in the seams.
Running stitch from the camo side

The paisley side closed up. Here I'm using a series of running stitches followed by a whip stitch, repeat.

I’m pecking away at getting the pink paisley/camo bog coat seams closed up.  I’m using a running stitch to close up the seams.  For one set of seams I’m leaving the soluble stabilizer untouched.  The other set I will dissolve the stabilizer before sewing.  This will help me establish which method produces a better result.

This coat is so girly cute I’m temped to add lace in the front bodice seam.  I won’t, but I’m tempted.

LouAnn has offered to finish stitching down the binding on the nested stars quilt and, bless her, I’m going to let her.

Quiltable Bog

Layered and trimmed
Mark and cut the sleeve
Soluble stabilizer cut into ~3
Stitching and trimming - note the layer of stabilizer between the fabrics
Clip the inside corners
Press. Isn't that a luscious paisley?

This is what the sleeve cut will look like after the stabilizer is stitched together. This gives the quilter a visual break for the quilting.

This is the step by step of preparing the bog coat for long-arm quilting.  If you don’t know the basics of bog coat construction, you’ll need to bone up for this post to make any sense at all.  Because this post has a lot of pictures, they are thumbnail size.  You’ll need to click to see the enlarged version of the image.

Because the fabrics and batting I purchased were all pretty close to the same size, layering and trimming was pretty simple.  Press all three layers, stack them with the fabrics right sides together and the batting against the fabric that will be the main outside fabric.  Trim the selvages and square up the cut edges.  Once you have the stack of fabric and batting trimmed, pin the edges to keep everything aligned while you’re cutting and sewing.

Using 45″ width fabric , the 45″ will be the vertical measure.  Purchase the amount of fabric you need to go around your body or to go from wrist to wrist over your shoulder, whichever is longer.

For determining how deep to make the sleeve cut, I do not follow the standard bog coat construction.  Physically, I have more real estate in the front than in the back.  It’s a girl thing.  Instead, I measure from underarm seam to underarm seam across my back at underarm level and add 2 inches.  That’s the amount I leave intact across for the back of the coat.  The extra in the part that has been cut to make the sleeve I will put to good use in the front covering said real estate.

Insert stabilizer between the fabric layers on both sides of the sleeve cut and between the fabric layers at the front edges, matching the edge of the stabilizer to the edge of the fabric and extending the stabilizer ½” beyond the end of the sleeve cut.  Pin in place.  When the garment is turned right side out for quilting, the soluble stabilizer will be sticking out of those seams.

The goal isn’t so much giving the quilter something to grab as it is to prepare the seams for construction after the quilting is complete.  The bottom, front and neck can be bound.  Binding the yoke and under arm seams would create bulk and the result wouldn’t be reversible.  I’m hoping this technique will allow the fabric seam lips to be slip stitched together inside and out  to create a completely reversible quilted garment.

For the sleeve cut I’ve stitched from the outside edge in, then across ¼” from the end of the slit and back out the other side, as if sewing the box for a welt pocket.

The batting in the seam allowance needs to be trimmed away to reduce bulk.  I didn’t grade the seam allowance.  There’s only a scant ¼” of fabric in the seam allowance, not enough to trim and expect the seam to hold together.

Clip the inside corners of the sleeve cut almost to the stitching so the fabric lays smooth once the garment is turned right side out.  This is the same thing you’d do for a welted pocket.

Remove all the pins holding the layers together and turn the coat right side out.  Make sure your iron is set to no steam and press the seams.  Don’t touch the stabilizer with the iron, it can melt and distort.

And finally, before it goes off to the quilter, the pieces of stabilizer sewn into the sleeve cut need to be sewn together ¼” from the seam allowance.  This “repairs” the cut making the cloth entire and allows it to lay flat for quilting.  Sew these pieces together so the excess stabilizer sticks up on the side the quilter sees while working.  This gives a visual guide so no quilting is done beyond the seam.

When the bog coat comes back from Karen I will trim the sleeves to the right length, trim the front to match the yoke and hand sew the under arm and yoke seams before adding binding.  Because this coat is reversible I want to sew the seams to allow a button hole in the seam allowance to allow the bottom edge of the sleeve to be turned up into an accent cuff.

For the next bog coat using this technique I will trim the sleeves to ¾ length and the front to the proper length before sewing in the stabilizer.  Once the coat is turned right side out and pressed, I will baste stabilizer to the remaining raw edges using soluble thread to give the quilter something to grab.  No trimming should need to occur after I get the coat back from the quilter.  I want the next coat to have a cheetah pattern quilted in a border around the edges which can only be done if the garment is trimmed to size and completely stabilized.  I’ll have to mark the front and neck openings so the border continue around those edges.

Moving on

Everything I need . . .

I sent my Ichthy bog coat off today to the NW Quilting Expo.  I was going to drive it down but the drop off locations were both on the south end of Portland.  It just wasn’t worth it.  With insurance the shipping was $14.  I can’t drive there for that.

I swung through WalMart and got 4 lengths of inexpensive yardage for two quickie bog coats, one in pinks and greens and the other in fall colors.  I’m working on a technique by which the bog coat sandwich can be held in place in the longarm frame for quilting and can be easily assembled when the quilting is complete.  The resulting bog coat should be completely reversible.  We’ll see how well I do.

When I got the Ichthy bog coat back after the quilting I spent quite a bit of time picking quilting out of the seam allowances, then trimming out batting, basting down the seam allowances and appliquéing a strip of lining to cover the seam allowances.  My poor planning really bit me in the butt.  Yuck.  The finished coat is very smooth and a pro job, but I know I can make the quilting easier for Karen and the assembly easier for me by spending a small amount of time preparing ahead.  I want people who examine the construction to scratch their heads about how it was done.  <evil grin>

The picture shows the pink and green paisley and matching camo.  Also shown are the batting (rayon), water soluble stabilizer and water soluble thread.  I’m hoping the rayon batting will provide a better drape than my normal Warm and Natural quilt fav.  Warm and Natural softens with washing and use, but I’m hoping the rayon provides that softness right from the start.

And, in case you didn’t know, WalMart has batting in bolts.  Our local store has 45″ wide Warm and Natural as well as the 45″ wide rayon.  For this app, 45″ wide is perfect and being able to buy off a bolt lets me get only what I need.

The construction technique I’ve got floating around in my mind is a little complicated, so I’ll take pictures as I go and write a good description.

The beauty of Karen

Click to see the detail

I love Karen’s quilting.  She is so creative.  I never would have thought to add a quilted in fish for the appliquéd fish to chase.  That creativity is one of the things I love about Karen.

Update: LouAnn tells me my coat got a blue ribbon and an Honorable Mention, which I take to mean it’s the runner up for best of class.  That’s nice!  It wouldn’t have happened without Karen’s quilting.

The traveling fish

The traveling fish

My bog coat is off and traveling.  Karen did a beautiful job on the quilting giving a quite spectacular result.  The coat is being judged at the local fair today and slated <fingers crossed> to go to the NW Quilt Expo next.

I learned a lot building this bog coat. I will construct the next one differently.  It won’t effect the look, just the ease of final construction.  The goal on the next is to be able to put the seams together with a slip stitch.  In this one I sewed the seams, picked out the quilting in the seam allowance, clipped away the batting, fastened the seam allowance open/flat with a basting stitch and covered the open seam with a strip of the coat lining.  It was tidy, but very work intensive.  I am WAY too lazy to go that route again.

No closure, but the binding's done

I wanted to make this one with no binding on the center front so there was no disturbance of the row of pinwheels. I didn’t make that happen. I will next time.

I need to purchase two things before starting the next bog coat.  I need soluble thread and wash away stabilizer.  I will pre-assemble the sandwich with exposed grippers of soluble stabilizer so Karen can quilt right to the edge of the front and the yoke and underarm seams.  I think I can make this happen . . .