July Block of the Issue

Alanna Heaton © 2004

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This block has a lot of curves. Alanna has given us her interpretation and Gwen has given us a great tip for working with those curves.

The block goes from square to rectangular.

This is my interpretation of our "Block of the Issue" created by Nora Creeach. As you can see, I have altered the dimensions of the block to suit my project. Nora's original is a square block that prints out 8" x 8". I have adapted it to a rectangle 8.5" x 11". I have kept the basic plan of the block intact. This goes to show you that block patterns or suggestions are not carved in stone. They can be stretched or squished or altered any way you see fit to work for your plans for that block.

Placing the first piece is the easiest part. Patches two and three then get sewn on by the simple flip and sew method. This gets the center of the block established. Piece four is then positioned and appliqued in place.

When the fifth piece is positioned, the side seam will be sewn with the flip and sew method. I then appliquéd the curve of piece five to the central patches. This was easy with the dupioni as it is light weight plus the curve was done on the bias edge. Piece six is done the same way on the other side of the central pieces.

The seventh piece didn't quite work the way I expected it to. The longest seam was a loose "S" curve which I attempted to appliqué in place the same way I did the previous curved seam. It also had two straight seams I expected to do with just turning under the seam allowance and basting them in place. Weeelllll, that is what I did, but the result was weird. I had all this extra ease on the curves that didn't fit anywhere. Then I had a brainstorm. Use the extra fabric as texture for the block! I'll add small black and gold French knot roses amongst the folds of the ease. I am expecting this treatment to save this OOPS.

The eighth piece was the same as the other curved pieces except piece seven. Side seam flip and sew, appliqué the curved edge. I liked the inadvertent effect I got on piece seven so I planned to do it on purpose for the last piece. The piece was set on the ninth patch spot and played with until I saw that I could get quite a few pleats for my effect. I placed the fabric on top of the already pieced area and pinned in place. I then marked my sewing line and the edge of the curve already made by the previous pieces. I then basted along my sewing line and cut out the bulk up to the curve line. I clipped the curve for easy turning. I then auditioned the placement of the pleat effect until I was happy with it, then basted around the outside edge of the block. When that step was done, I trimmed the excess fabric from around the outside of the block and considered the block complete. The block is now ready for embellishing.

I intend to use this block as a feature piece on the side of a special purse which is why I played with the dimensions in the first place. I hope showing and telling you how I did this block lets you know that any technique that gets your patch where you want it with the effect you want is worth using. And.........if you are not lazy as I am, you can even retro-stitch your mistakes for a more formal or correct block. You will also notice that my patches are not identical to the lines on the foundation. Againk, the foundation is a guide for shape and placement, not an unforgiving blueprint plan for a house!! Have fun!!!!

Gwen's tip would work well here**

**Tip by Gwen Frazier:

Another way to piece curves is to cut a piece of heat safe template plastic in a gentle curved shape that you find appealing. Then place your fabric right side down on your ironing board - spray the raw fabric edge liberally with spray starch (not sizing) and then iron the raw edge of the fabric over your plastic edge and the starch will dry into the curved shape. You can then appliqué this piece down onto your block in the area you need covered. The starched fabric will hold its shape for a long time.

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