Tuesday, May 5, 2009


On April 18,19th & May 1st., I posted some process photos as I began working with National Nonwoven's new Xotic-Felt.  A 50/50 Bamboo/Rayon blend.  I'm crazy about this product....it needles well, whether by hand or machine.  My only stumbling point was its drape.....though I love the softness, and clean cut edges,  finishing the outside edges for that wallhanging required a bit more planning than I had done.  Hey, that's what I LOVE about the artistic process.....I'm never bored!

I've worked out many creative solutions to finishing similar pieces in my book, "Embellishing With Felted Wool" (see upper right sidebar for a link to purchase this book), yet none were right for my first piece due to the weight of the many layers in the body of the quilt and my poor decision to bring the machine stitching on the bamboo stalks beyond the edge of the piece, into the fabric's margin of error.

So, I began again and came up with this design.  Here too, the design motifs extend to the outer edge at the top, bottom and left side.....you'll need to look carefully because in this photo....my solution is already in progress.....I've added a backing to extend about 2" beyond the "quilt" top. This time I stopped the machine stitching a scant 1/4" short of the outside edge.....which allowed me to square off the top, without cutting into the machine stitching.  The backing adds further stability, in addition to hiding and protecting the stitches on the wrong side.

My friend and machine quilting expert Patsy Thompson suggested I use the escape hatch method to finish my first piece to provide a clean edge finish.....basically an envelope/or pillow style of finish.  The look would have been just right but, despite the softness of the the Xotic-Felt....the thickness of the stitched layers of fabric and the stabilizer on the wrong side, would have created seam allowance which were too bulky to achieve a nice flat edge when turned.

The other option would be to mat and frame the piece.  Mounting on a heavier backing would keep the piece flat and the mat would hide the raw edges.  I'm still deciding which method to use on my first piece.....stay tuned for that.

But, as I said.....I had a plan for this new (slightly lighter weight) piece.

I cut 4 strips about 1" wide and stitched a 3/4" wide 'bamboo' pattern on each for the desired length.  I was concerned about distorting such a narrow piece of fabric as I sewed.....so I placed a piece of tissue paper on the back which worked perfectly and was easy to remove.

I trimmed the excess fabric on both sides of the bamboo stitched design....although my photo still shows it at the top....I took the picture too soon!

Next, I placed the first trimmed strip on the upper edge of the quilt, centering the width over the main body and the backing, and positioning it to extend to the outer side edges of the backing section.  This allows the back side of the strip's edges to be finished. 

Following the outside stitching line of the bamboo design, I stitched the layers together.  I repeated for the bottom and sides.

Xotic-Bamboo  13" x 22"

After all the strips were added, I trimmed away the excess backing fabric, right up to the stitching. Now the piece has an asymmetrical frame which in a way......works like a binding.....covering and hiding the outside edge of the piece.  

1 comment:

Exuberant Color said...

That is a perfect finish for that piece.