Monday, September 12, 2005
You are off on a great adventure with crazy patchwork, because there are no
rules...you just go wherever your heart desires!
Piecing a crazy block is different to normal patchwork and piecing...a lot
of newbies do not realise this. You do not cut out pieces and try to seam
Start with a backing fabric...somewhat larger than the finished size you are
planning on...this can be calico, homespun, anything really as it will not
If you know what size you want the block to be, draw it on the fabric, then
go over the line with machine stitching so it shows on both sides.
Pull out a bundle of fabrics from your stash that seem to belong together.
You can go for a colour theme, or a colour grouping (like jewels, pastels,
autumn) or whatever your heart desires. Try for a variety of tones and
textures..but do not be too precious about it......this is meant to be fun!
Place your first piece (an irregular shape) flat, face up on your backing
fabric. Many find it easiest to start in the centre, but you can start in a
corner. Place your second piece flat face down, aligning one of your edges
with the edge of the first piece. Sew a 1/4" seam then flip it over, and
press (or fingerpress) the seam. Continue to add pieces using the
sew-and-flip method, trimming as you go.
If you end up with an edge that seems too long, then join two pieces
separately before adding them to break it up.
Sometimes you may work yourself into an awkward spot, and may need to
appliqué some of your edges down. If you like curves, it is easier to
Once you have gone beyond the edges that you defined with a machine
stitching at the beginning, press the piece, turn it over, and using the
original line of stitching as a guide, do another line of stitching to
secure the border of your piece, and keep it firm and flat.
Now you are free to embellish and embroider.
Remember to keep bulky embellishments, like buttons and beads, a good
centimetre away from the edge so you can sew the seam with your machine when
you come to turn your piece into something like a hanging, bag, cushion etc
Just work with colours you like. Try for a balance and harmony. Even if you
are not really happy with your block when you have pieced it, you can
transform it with what you add to it with embroidery etc. e.g. if there is a
bright red piece that stands out like a sore thumb, add things like red
embroidery,braid, red beads/buttons in other parts of the block to balance
Too much of one colour (e.g blue)makes it look uninteresting ? Add
embellishments in that colour's complement (e.g. orange) to liven it up.
There are many ways of going about it, and loads of books
with good helpful diagrams. And you cannot go past the ones by Judith Baker
Montano for clear instructions and inspiring pictures.You could try your
But remember, there is no right or wrong...you are the creator here, and
what you make will be totally unique. You can cover up "mistakes" with lace,
button clusters etc. Above all, enjoy "playing."(With thanks to Mary!)
Tomorrow I'll add more: templates,and instructions for shaping the Ornies!