Monday, October 25, 2010

Arcs for the Double Wedding Ring and pressing tips

I'm moving along with my arcs for the Double Wedding Ring!  I now have 200 arcs sewn together.  Here is a pile of the finished reds.  I thought I had more red and white fabric that leaned toward the white.  But most of the fabrics in my collected pile ended up being more red... so that's what I went with.

I'd like to show you how I got to this point.


After a little practice, I settled on a way to cut the pieces to place on the die.  I first I ironed the fabric.  (more about that later).    I folded my fabric in half, and then again in thirds, to get these long strips that fit one of the pieces I wanted to cut.  I wanted to allow enough fabric to completely cover the shape, yet not waste a lot of fabric.  This is something you have to practice a bit.  I haven't seen many tips about this.  It was something I just had to play with on my own.


I ended up with some pieces that were a little bigger than the shape I wanted.  I made piles of 6 pieces of fabric.  

The way I accordion folded the fabric, half of the pieces are right side up and half are upside down.  If you look at the arc, the 3 shapes in the middle are identical, and they are symmetrical, so it doesn't make any difference if the fabric is place right side or wrong side up.  But the shapes on the far left and far right are NOT symmetrical.  I cut half right side up (for the shape on the left) and half right side down (for the shape on the right).  This accordion fold took care of that.  All of my cuts were half up and half down so everything came out OK.


I place the pile on the shape I want to cut, and then run it through the machine.  I must note here that it would be a lot more efficient if I had all my piles together and cut 2 shapes with one pass under the rollers.  But I was trying to keep my colors and shapes and the correct number of each all straight- and I opted to do one pile at a time.  Maybe I'll get better at this in time.


Here's a pile of my scraps.  I think I did pretty well at keeping the waste to a minimum.  This can go either way with the GO!.  You can waste a lot if you don't plan well.  But if you think about it, you really can do very well conserving fabric.


Here's a partial pile (I cut a lot more).  I used sticky notes to keep myself organized.

  You can see the 3 in the middle are symmetrical and the shapes on the left and right lean out.  On the far right, you see a single sewn strip.  To assemble the strips, I laid out the shapes for about 10 or 20 arcs.....


.... and then piled them IN ORDER.  I put the piles in front of my sewing machine.  I strip pieced the first 2 piles, then added the third... etc.... to the 5th pile.


Then to the ironing board.  I have several irons and ironing boards.  I have fat boards and big boards- you name it.  This board belongs to a friend.  Do you know this trick?  When you're doing quilting, you need space.  You don't need the skinny end of the ironing board to the left because you aren't ironing sleeves or anything 3-dimensional.  So, flip the ironing board around with the skinny end to the right and put the iron on the skinny end and you have more area to work.  Reverse this if you are a lefty.


I said I'd talk more about ironing.  BEFORE YOU START ANY CUTTING, you MUST iron your fabric.  I used some Best Press.  It's especially important to press if you pre-wash.  I usually pre-wash but not always.  With a black and red and white quilt, I kinda want the white to stay white, so I pre-washed.  It only takes one bleeding fabric to ruin your day.  Unwashed fabric usually looks pretty good,  but even if you think your fabric is not very wrinkled, press anyway.  I mean it.  This is not up for discussion.  And it's not just when using the GO!  Your iron is a sewing tool.  It can be your best friend if you're nice to it.  When pressing, treat it like a child or a pet.  Be firm.  Show it who is in charge.  But be kind.  Don't ever use a "scooping" motion or "dig" into the fabric with the point of the iron.  Be aware of the grain and be very gentle when pressing against the bias.  I like to use the side of my iron when pressing seams to the side.  I use the side up close to the tip, and try to get the whole seam at the same time- spreading out the pressure exerted by the iron.  This gives a gentle pressure along the seam and doesn't tend to distort the piece.  I also press both sides.  I start with the wrong side up and then I turn it over and press the right side up.  When pressing seams to the side, I tug JUST A LITTLE on the fabric to put a tiny little bit of stress on the seams and get them nice and flat.  DON'T read that as "pulling hard or yanking on the fabric".  Really.... just a tiny little bit of tension on the fabric to open it up and avoid a crease at the seam. I don't have my left hand in the picture pulling it for 2 reasons.  I didn't want anyone to see a picture of me pulling the fabric and think I want them to stretch the fabric out.  It's hard to show "gentle" in a picture.  The other reason is that I was holding the camera in my left hand. :-) 

I generally use steam.  If the iron has several steam settings, I generally use light steam.  And I like Best Press.




And we're back to my arcs.  I'm working on the black ones- almost finished.

23 comments:

Quilary said...

Oh I'm a teensy bit jealous that you are making such quick progress on your double wedding ring. It is looking absolutely gorgeous with those lovely reds in there.

Kath said...

I'm loving these reds Sue, and watching each stage with great interest. I have only made DWR with English paper peicing.

Lovie said...

Does it work best to iron all seams to one side? Or from the outside to the middle?
Looking forward to any other tips for the DWR, I always had problems when it came time to connect the rings. Ususally I would do that section by hand, it just went faster for me, with fewer rip-outs. Never used GO cut pieces, like how you show details. Thanks.

AMKreations said...

While it looks like a lot of work, it seems like you're just moving right along. I"m sure the accuquilt helps a lot! I love your fabric selections too.

Sandy said...

Oh I am soooo glad you posted this! I know you said you would do a tutorial...and it is terrific. I have the GO, am waiting for this die, and now will be one step ahead of the game when it gets here thanks to your blog ;) Sandy

deborah said...

Thank you for your tutorial! I can never stress enough to someone I'm teaching how important it is to press, not iron. You are making tremendous progress on your DWR, looking forward to the next 'installment'.

Barbara said...

Wow, I'm exhausted! (grin) Thanks so much for the thorough post with photos, and I have to agree -- this quilt in reds will be absolutely stunning!

JayTee said...

love all the reds. You pics help explain very well

Linda said...

Oh its coming together nicely.
I guess you have been too busy lately, but don't miss out on my giveaway.

WoolenSails said...

You have gotten a lot done and it is going to be beautiful all put together. I do like to press my fabrics before cutting and the seams, as I sew.

Debbie

Barb said...

That is alot of wonderful information. I use alot of starch. So did you find that you saved time using your Go cutter? Did you get more precise cuts? This is going to be one beautiful quilt!

Needled Mom said...

It is going to be gorgeous, Sue. Nice job so far.

kathyinozarks said...

thanks so much for this informative tutorial

Wendy said...

Your progress is amazing. This quilt will be so beautiful when finished. The colors you chose are so awesome.

Judy S. said...

What a fabulous quilt this is going to be. I just love the fabric choices too!

Cindy said...

What an undertaking! I am learning some good organizational tips from watching you. Thank you for sharing this experience.

Quilts And Pieces said...

You are making wonderful progress!

SewCalGal said...

Beautiful fabrics. Fun to see how the AccuQuilt help expedites the cutting on this wonderful design. I'm still so eager to hear your perspective as your blocks come together. Going to be a beautiful quilt.

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Brenda said...
Sue, when you have accordian folded your fabric don't you get an equal amount of "rights" and "lefts"? Just like cutting out a clothing pattern -- by folding your fabric so that right sides are together, you get two opposite fronts or sleeves or whatever. Don't you have to end up sorting a pile that you've accordian folded into "rights" and "lefts" anyway, depending on which fabrics are facing up and which are facing down. If you've stacked a variety of fabrics to cut all at once and all right side up (as in if you were cutting scrappy quilts) you'd have to cut rights and lefts to cut the same assortment of fabric for all your kits.

I guess we're in a race, now. Yougave yourself a month; I'll use the same deadline as you (you'lll have to tell me what it is, for sure, becasue I can't remember when you started. I remember when I started, and we are going to have to consider this a race between the tortoise and the hare. Three guesses as to who is who (at least I might need three theway my brain is working these days .

b/

Patty said...

This is going to be a very pretty quilt.

A Plain Path said...

Red is my favorite color, so I know this quilt is going to be gorgeous. I can hardly wait to see it. It's amazing how fast it's coming together for you....convincing me that I definitely want an AccuQuilt. Beautiful job!

Joanne said...

I have started my double wedding ring - so thanks for your tips! They seem to be the only ones on the web for the GO!.