I have finished prepping all of the pieces for the Chickadee block, but I still have a few things left to do before I can start placing the pieces on the background.
First, I need to trace my pattern onto the background. I always cut my background fabric 4″ larger than the finished size. This will allow for shrinkage when I wash the block (more on that later). And, believe it or not, the block will shrink up a little when the stitching is completed.
So, I pin the background to the paper pattern. Fabric shifts, so I like to use quite a few pins to hold everything in place when I trace. I use my light box, but you can use a window to trace on or, depending on how light your background is, you may not even need a light box. I use a Clover water soluble marker (the thick one) to trace the design.
The next step will make your life so easy! I trace the “unprepped” seam allowance on the right side of each piece. On every single piece! There are 2 ways to do this. You can simply place the piece (right side up) on your light box and trace the edge of the freezer paper that is “unprepped”. I use my Clover marker to trace on light fabrics and a white pencil marker to trace on dark fabrics. At this point, the freezer paper is still attached to the wrong side of the fabric.
The second way to do this step is to take the freezer paper template out and place it on top of the fabric (shiny side up). Trace the edge of the freezer paper onto the edge of the fabric that is “unprepped”. This step is worth the time spent. Trust me:)
Go ahead and mark all of your pieces. You will thank yourself later:)
Of course, you don’t have to do this step with the pieces that are prepped all the way around, like this one.
Next, I am going to make some stems using my 1/4″ bias maker. First I cut my strips 1/2″ wide. Because I want these stems to curve easily, I will cut them on the bias. I like to place my bias strips in a bowl and spray with starch before I feed them through the bias maker.
Place the bias strip wrong side up and insert in the bias maker.
Use the point of your stiletto or a pin to guide the bias strip through the bias maker. If you pray to the Quilt Gods the strip will come out the narrow end:)
Next, I use my big iron and press the edges flat. Gently pull the bias maker and move the iron so that the iron and bias maker almost touch. Make sure you hold the iron on the bias strip long enough so that the starch completely dries.
Perfect bias every time! So, now I am ready to start placing pieces on the background. I will save that for my next post:)
Til next time….