Thursday, May 16, 2013

Week 3 - Exterior Quilted Pockets

Honestly I need to get sponsorship from SewLine. I LOVE their products so much.  Below you can see the lines marked on the utility fabric for the exterior quilted pocket.  The SewLine pen gives such a delightful thin and precise line, and is clear on the fabric.  Further, it doesn't just rub off like the silver quilter's pencil does, making it hardier when one is handling the fabric a lot.
After marking the location of the batting, place it centred over the marks.  You might want to fix it in place with a few pins near the outside of the piece.  From here you get to have fun for a bit! Collect together all your scraps you would like to use for the pockets.  Are you going to feature something fussy-cut? Are you going to use lots of colours randomly selected? Or use things from within a range?

Whatever you do, enjoy it and its potential randomness!  However you decide to go, start with a piece somewhere roughly in the middle of the batting and quilt it down.  I had great fun experimenting with different quilting styles with each piece of new fabric I added. Some I did 1/4" apart, some 1/2", and some were even 1/8". I did a square spiral, and graduated lines.  Some going vertically, and then some going horizontally, and crazier still, I even tried diagonal lines.  Mix it up.

After you add your first piece of fabric, Elizabeth advises to add pieces "Log Cabin" Style. There is a tutorial with excellent pictures here on this style if you have never done it before.  Essentially, keep adding pieces of fabric around a central starting point, spiralling out and increasing each time.  By the time you get a few pieces in, your "scraps" may no longer be big enough, so sew a couple together, and then add it to the batting.  After each addition, quilt the latest piece down and then progress to the next one.  Keep adding until you have covered all of the batting.  Overlap to the utility fabric is also an option to ensure that it is fully covered.

In the picture above, you can see my experimentations with the quilting which kept me challenged the whole time!  After finishing all my quilting over the batting, I redrew the marks of the edge of the batting area, and then sewed on the fabric surrounds.  The window effect is quite effective.

At left, you can see two of the finished pockets.  The "top" of the pocket has not been trimmed back, so that it can be folded over to provide a neat finish.  At right, you can see the top stitching around the central quilting. I again chose 1/8" for my top stitching.

Lay your pocket right side down and place your lining fabric, right side up over the batting.  To keep this secure, you might either want to spray baste it in place, or use some pins.  Fold the flap over, and iron, to make a clear mark (this can be seen at right).  Unfold, and then fold the top edge of the outer fabric in to meet at the fold line you just ironed in.

Pin this fold down (or use clips if you find it too chunky) and then top stitch it in place.  I topstitched 1/2" down from the top of the pocket, which should "just" catch the fabric at the back.  But any width of topstitch is suitable.

Finally, I did some slip stitching around the sides and bottom of the pockets to keep all the layers together neatly.  I used the longest stitch length on my machine, and stitched about 1/8" from the end of the fabric.

Ooh and ahh at the loveliness of your pockets.  There is a LOT of stitching in this week, depending upon how heavily you quilt your pockets.  After this week, you might want to change your needle again before getting started on the next week of the tote.

Don't forget to post photos on your progress at the Flickr page! See you next week!

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