Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Technique Tuesday: Piecing a Perfect Bargello

Hi! Ann Lauer here for a Technique Tuesday post using my new Cat-I-Tude fabric collection. 

I love to make bargello quilts. They have so much movement in the design, and on top of that, they're fun to piece. Today I'm going to show you the technique I use to assemble this type of quilt. It make assembly easier and more accurate. 

"Dinner in Style" bargello placemat pattern

When I make bargello quilts, I like to use Creative Grid Flannel in my quilt sandwich. This 2" cotton grid fabric has “surface tension” built in to keep your pre-cut fabric pieces in place when doing your quilt layouts. In our case, we'll be layering batting over it, and it will hold the batting in place. The grid lines help to ensure that the strips are laid straight and that the stitch lines are straight as well. 

Here's how I do it, using my Dinner in Style placemat set pattern as an example: 

Step 1: Choose your backing fabric. I chose Aristocats on black. This is a nice backing fabric because the placemats can even be turned over with this fun fabric on the back.  

Step 2: Position the backing fabric right side down, Creative Grid Flannel wrong side up and the batting on top. I prefer to use a thin batting such as Hobbs Thermore, which is bonded on both sides so it's easy to sew on. I like the combined weight of flannel and the thin Hobbs Thermore batting in table top projects. Note: The lines on the flannel are dark and you don’t want them to show through the lightest fabric that you are using. Therefore, I layer it wrong side up and place it under the batting.  You can see the lines through the batting well enough to keep the segments straight as you sew.  There are other grid products available and if you use one that isn’t printed too darkly, you may want to layer it on top of the batting.

Notice how you can see the lines showing through batting when you layer the batting piece on top of the Creative Grid Flannel.

Step 3: Following your quilt pattern, cut your fabric strips and sew into a tube. Press all your seams in one direction. 

Step 4: Use the grid to lay the first segment along a left hand vertical line and the top of the segment along a top horizontal line.  Follow the instructions and as you stitch each segment, open it up and check to be sure that the cut edge is staying parallel to a vertical grid line and that the seams within the segments are staying parallel with the horizontal grid lines.  Directions are included in my pattern on how to correct any areas that begin to bow.  By using this technique, all of the stitching will be straight and the bargello will be stabilized which will make it easy to fuse the cats onto the placemats.  

Step 5: Here's a view of the first five segments laid on the backing/grid/batting sandwich. These strips are tubes that have been opened on the designated seam so they lay flat. 

Step 6: When all the strips have been stitched in place, you will have made one large quilt-as-you-go section that you will cut into fourths to yield four placemats. Each placemat will be somewhat different, but they all go together beautifully.

Here is what the finished and bound placemats look like, complete with fussy-cut cat appliques: 

Click here to see Ann's entire Cat-I-Tude fabric collection.
Missed our original post with Ann's interview about Cat-I-Tude? Click here to find it. 
Click here to find the Dinner in Style kit and pattern.
Click here to find Creative Grid Flannel. 

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  1. I'm confused. Do you stitch the fabric with the flannel in place? So you're actually stitching 2 strips of fabric right sides together, batting, flannel, backing?

    1. It sounds confusing, but I think, yes. It’s like “ Quilt As You Go” ?

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