31 October 2010

Halloween Sew-Along: The Finishing Touches

Now that you have completed all six blocks, it's time to put them all together!  The first thing to do is figure out how you want your blocks arranged.  Here's how I arranged mine:
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You could sew them all together just like that, or you could add sashing. What is sashing? Quite simply, it is the addition of strips of fabric between all of the blocks. If you want to add sashing, here is what you will need:
  • Eight 1 1/2 x 9" strips 
  • Three 1 1/2 x 32" strips
(I used "Little Lady Pink Kumquat Antique Dots" by ALexander Henry)
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Whether you use sashing or not, the first step is to sew the blocks into rows. If using sashing, just add a 1 1/2 x 9" strip between all the blocks in a row, and on the outside. Use 1/4" seam allowance and press open all seams.
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Next, sew the rows together, making sure the block seams line up. If using sashing, sew the 32"-length strips between the rows and outside as well. Trim off any excess sashing and iron open all seams.
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Now it's time to add batting and fabric for the back. I've used Fairfield's Fusi-Boo batting. It's really great for a project like this because all that is needed is an iron--no sticky basting spray required! Whatever kind of batting you decide to use, you will need a rectangle of it that slightly bigger than the table runner top. For the back, you will need 3/4 yard of fabric.
(The following instructions are for the fusible batting) Lay the back fabric on the ground (or other flat surface) facing down. Lay the batting rectangle on top of it and smooth away wrinkles. Add the table runner top facing up, smoothing away more wrinkles. The most important thing is to make sure that the table runner top is centered over batting and back fabric.
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Following Fusi-Boo package instructions, I've set my iron to a "wool" setting with steam. Starting in the middle of the table runner, I iron, heating each area for 3-4 seconds. I continue to iron outward, smoothing the layers as I go.
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I didn't feel like the heat from the iron fused the back fabric to the batting very well, so I turned the whole thing over and iron the back similarly.
The next step is to quilt it. You could do this in a variety of ways. I merely installed my darning foot, lowered the feed dogs, and did a simple squiggly-sort of line over the sashing. (See my Freehand Machine Quilting tutorial here for more details.)
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Here is what it looks like on the back:
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And a view of the intersecting squiggly lines on the front. It really didn't feel the need to quilt it too much since it is already a pretty busy table runner.
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Trim the batting and back fabric to line up with the table runner top.
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The final step is to add a binding. I have a couple of binding tutorials, but I would recommend my newest one: My Favorite {Perfect} Skinny Binding. For this, you will need 1/4 yard of fabric. From that fabric, cut three strips 2 1/2" x WOF (assuming the standard 45" width of fabric).
After the binding is finished, you get to stand back and bask in the glory of your labors. And figure out which table will get it.
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