No we're not done with our trip, we've still got one stop to go. For various mundane and vaguely unpleasant reasons I've been MIA for the last couple of weeks.
I noticed that Pam posted her Flight of Fancy basket block, and remembered that I'd planned on doing a tutorial on the basket since all those little strips can be intimidating.
So what follows are what I hope to be some helpful hints...
First of all, make sure you'll be working with metal bias bars, not the plastic ones. Yes, the metal bars do get quite hot, but we're all big girls here and can handle being extra careful in order to get the best possible bias strips, right?
Secondly, if the thought of making 1/8" strips is off-putting, don't worry if you can't get your strips that small. The key is consistency--if your strips are a little fatter than 1/8", just be sure they're all that size.
Promise you won't be horrified by my condition of my ironing board cover, OK?
Here we go.
I like to work with fat quarters for making my bias--you can cut a lot of nice long strips from one piece. Cut your bias strips to the width indicated in the bias bar instructions.
Fold each strip in half wrong sides together and finger press. Do not iron a crease.
Place the bias strip under your presser foot and begin to stitch. If you are making bias strips 1/4" or wider, you'll be stitching with a 1/4" seam allowance. However with an 1/8" bias strip, the seam allowance is smaller than that. It can be tricky to start each strip accurately, but don't worry if the first little bit you stitch looks wonky. Keep the metal bar handy so that as the bias gets stitched you can lay the bar on top to make sure you're making your strip the right width. The strip should be just a smidge wider than the bar so that you'll be able to insert the bar into the strip easily.
Continue stitching your pile of strips.
Next step is the pressing. Insert the bias bar into a strip. With your fingers, adjust the bias strip so that the seam is centered along a flat side of the bar. It doesn't have to be precisely centered, you just want to make sure your seam won't show on the finished bias strip.
When you have the bias bar completely covered with fabric, steam press it in place. Continue to move the bias strip up the bias bar until the entire strip has been pressed.
Remove the bias bar from the fabric strip and steam press it nice and flat.
If the beginning or end of a strip looks wider than it should, cut that part off.
Repeat until you have what appears to be miles of bias.
Now let's make a basket!
Start by taping your master pattern onto a table. This should work as long as your background fabric isn't too dark or too heavy. Otherwise you'll need a lightbox to see your design.
Line up the background seam with the line marked on the pattern. I like to add a couple of bits of tape to help hold my fabric in place.
The Flight of Fancy basket is not really woven, so we'll start with one side and then do the other.
Before you start cutting strips, locate your two best long strips and set them aside for the basket sides.
Put some dots of glue along one of the pattern lines. Cut your strip a bit longer than you'll need and lay it in place.
Repeat with each strip.
Do the other side the same way...again, making sure your strips are a bit longer than necessary.
For Flight of Fancy, the basket needs to be made in two stages. You will now need to stitch the strips you have glued. Pam stitched hers by machine and I found it easier to hand applique my strips, so whichever method you prefer will work fine.
For demonstration purposes I used a washable marker to indicate where the sides of the basket will go. Before stitching any strips, trim any long ends as needed so that you won't have any basket bits extending beyond the sides of the basket when they are applied later.
After the remaining applique pieces are applied to the block, go back and add the sides to the basket in the same manner. Go slowly when gluing the curves.
I think Pam's basket is beautiful! I always enjoy other quilter's versions of my designs better than my own.
See? Not hard at all--just time consuming.
Are you all tired out?
Presley feels your pain.