Monday, October 25, 2010
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.
.... 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.