Cubist Puzzle Quilt
Create an intriguing quilt using this fused applique technique instead of turning edges.
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Instructions provided courtesy of guest Robbi Joy Eklow.
Finished quilt is approximately 40x54"
Materials and Tools:
pattern - Groovy Guitars by Robbi Joy Eklow
1 yard each of four different hand dyed fabrics
1/4 yard of one dark color hand dyed accent fabric
1-2/3 yards (60") of 42" wide hand dyed fabric for background
6 yards of Pellon Wonder-Under paper-backed fusible web
1-2/3 yards of backing fabric
Isacord 40 polyester embroidery thread
Gingher G-5 scissors
Note - If you choose to use commercial fabrics instead of hand dyed fabrics, please pre-wash them. Hand dyes need no pre-washing.
1. Trace around each shape in the pattern using a pencil on the paper side of the Pellon Wonder-Under. Leave about half an inch between each shape. Copy the registration marks and the piece number. Draw a vertical arrow to help align fabric along the grain if you are using a fabric with striping in it.
2. Separate the shapes, leaving at least a 1/4" margin around each pencil outline. Robbi Joy recommends leaving the margin around the pieces instead of tracing the whole thing directly onto the fusible webbing with no margins for a few reasons. When you cut out the shapes, the drawn pencil line goes with one piece or the other, leaving the second piece just a teensy bit smaller, this is enough of a margin of error that the shapes won’t fit perfectly. Also, if you are cutting around a fused shape, into fabric with no fusible, you'll get more fraying than if you are cutting into fabric that has webbing on it. The webbing seals the edge. This technique gives you more fusible in the "overlap" and the foreground objects will stick together better while you manipulate them.
3. Set the iron to dry and press each shape onto the wrong side of the fabric. Note that if you use dyed fabric there is no wrong side.
4. Separate the fabric shapes by cutting around the outside of the fusible, leaving the webbing intact. Don’t cut out on the finished line yet. Flip each piece over and steam-press on the right side.
5. When all shapes are cut out, lay them out and determine which edges will be on finished and which will be under-lapped. If you have a yellow shape adjoining a red shape, situate the red shape on top, and leave a margin on the yellow shape to tuck under. You will have show-through if you have a red piece under-lapping a yellow piece. Mark the paper side of the shape.
6. Cut finished edges along the pencil line. Leave under-lapped edges with a 1/4" margin.
1. Assemble the main body of each guitar. Join pieces by tucking the margin of the under-lapped piece between the fabric and paper backing of the finished edge, Pull the paper away from the finished edge only, so that you can slip the margin of the other piece between the fabric and the paper. Use a straight pin to score the paper to make it easier to pull back if necessary. Line up the edges of the pieces and the registration marks. It helps to anchor larger pieces to the iron board with pins as you go.
2. Assemble all the guitars, leaving the paper-backed fusible on. When it is complete, lay it out on the background fabric, right side up and pin it in place in the center.
3. Fold over the left edge of the foreground piece and pull off the paper backing until you reach the pins.
4. Steam-press the left half of the background into place.
5. Fold over the right side of the foreground, remove the paper and steam press side into place.
6. Fuse down the tuning keys (circles) onto the background.
7. Finish by sandwiching the quilt and quilting with a free-motion design. Bind and attach a sleeve to the back.
Puzzle Quilt Design
1. Take pictures of objects for the quilt. I recommend a digital camera. For this quilt, I used an electric guitar, an electric bass and an old acoustic guitar. In other quilts I’ve used vases, teapots, teacups, toasters, spoons. Many things will work. Look for objects with bold outlines, simple shapes and curved edges. Avoid objects that need a lot of detail to define them. For example, a guitar is good because it has a distinctive outline. Teacups imply roundness because of the circles created by the rim.
2. Print out the pictures, you don’t need a color print.
3. Trace the outline of each shape onto good quality tracing paper.
4. If you have access to a scanner or photocopier, print out the shapes on additional sheets of tracing paper at different sizes.
5. Decide the size of your quilt. On either tag board or a file folder, draw a rectangle with the same proportions. Example: for a 36" x 48" quilt (3 ’x 4’), draw a 3' x 4- rectangle, or a 6' x 8' rectangle. Cut the rectangle out to create a design template.
6. Arrange the traced shapes on a piece of paper or the inside of the file folder. Move the shapes around until you are happy with the design, then tape each one down.
7. Consider the following as you create your design.
- Look at the way the lines interact with each other. Do the vertical lines echo each other?
- Don’t make shapes touch each other on the edges, have them overlap.
- The interior shapes created by the lines should be interesting.
- Avoid creating little tiny shapes.
- Have shapes touch and overlap the edges of the quilt.
- Remember that the design you draw will be flipped when the quilt is finished, as you are fusing the webbing onto the BACK of the fabric, then turning it over.
8. When you are happy with the design, you will need to blow it up to full scale. I trace the design onto overhead acetate and project it onto poster board. If you don’t have an overhead projector, you can take it to a photocopy shop and have it blown up.
9. Make registration marks on each line.