Category Archives: wonky Dresden neighborhood

Uptown Funk Is Finished!

Uptown Funk, 2020 (24″ x 26″)

And now you know, if you’ve been following along as I pondered four binding options, that Option #1 — the lime green faux flange with the zebra fabric — was the winner.

But guess what? It wasn’t my first choice. Nope. I was going with Option #4, the green flange with the white background fabric as the binding. Here’s the mockup I showed you in my last post, with paper strips made from photocopied fabric:

Why this choice? I liked the idea of the white background fabric extending to the edges, almost as if the quilt were faced rather than bound, with that thin flange as a bright but understated accent. Plus it was an unexpected choice. (I have to thank my friend Deborah for suggesting white fabric. It never would have occurred to me, as I was gravitating to the black prints used in my quilt.)

I made my binding accordingly and started to apply it. Normally binding is stitched to the right side of the quilt and turned to the back. With this faux flange method, however, you sew the binding to the wrong side of the quilt and turn it to the right side to expose the flange. When I got ready to miter the first corner, I turned the binding to the right side. And this is what I saw:

Oh no! You can clearly see the green fabric through the white fabric in the binding. With this particular treatment the seam allowance must be pressed toward the binding fabric for the flange to lie flat. I tried pressing it the other way but it was a “no go.” There was no way I could see to remedy this problem.

Back to the drawing board — er, cutting table. My second choice for the binding was the zebra fabric. That was my husband’s first choice and also my twin sister’s. Some of my readers liked it too so I figured it was a keeper. (Thank you, Vickie R., for suggesting the zebra fabric. Like the white background fabric, it wasn’t even on my radar initially.)

I started cutting more binding strips . . .  until a certain feline came to investigate:


Princess Cordelia (Coco for short) was gently ejected from my sewing room so I could proceed. The binding went on very nicely.

The conventional way to finish a faux flange binding is to machine stitch in the ditch where the flange meets the binding fabric. Instead of doing that I fused the binding down with Steam-a-Seam-2, a  double-sided fusible web.

Here’s the back of Uptown Funk:

I love the way the binding looks with the backing fabric.

Here’s a close-up of the label:

Thank you, Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams, for designing Dresden Neighborhood! It was such a fun little quilt to make.

 

 

 

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And the Winner Is . . .

Hold on. Before I reveal my choice for the binding of my wonky Dresden Neighborhood quilt, take a look at my four options:


Did I make four different bindings? Oh no! I photocopied the fabrics, cut strips to look like binding, and pinned them to the quilt. Three of the four treatments involve a faux flange, in which the binding is made of two strips of fabric. I’ve never tried that method before.

Here’s a closeup of the fabric contenders:

There’s a white-on-black swirly print, a black-on-white zebra print, a green pindot on white (the same fabric as the background of the quilt), and the solid lime green flange fabric, the last of which I auditioned separately as a no-flange binding.

Let’s take a closer look, clockwise starting with the upper right corner:

Binding 1:


Binding 2:


Binding 3:


and binding 4:


Any one of them would work, don’t you think? But one emerged as the clear winner for me — and it wasn’t the one I was expecting.

Which one was it? Please come back tomorrow to find out!

 

 

 

Posted in update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 5 Comments

Another Walk in the Neighborhood

Uptown Funk, my version of Kim Lapacek’s pattern Dresden Neighborhood, needed more quilting. I knew it right away when I looked at it this morning. So what did it need? More quilting lines radiating out to the edges. Not all the way to the outside, mind you. As you can see, the new stitching lines, placed between the first set I showed you in yesterday’s post, are of staggered lengths and all end shy of the edges, some by quite a bit.

I’m very pleased with the effect but creating that effect was quite a chore, let me tell you. Each stitching line began and ended with four tiny stitches (1.0 on my computerized machine) to lock the threads in place in lieu of knotting. The main part of the line was sewn with a stitch length of 2.7. That’s a lot of stopping and starting while the stitch length was being adjusted. And I buried all the threads. Let’s see: 40 stitching lines — yes, 40! — means there were 80 sets of threads to be buried.

I’ve found that the key to burying threads easily, once you’ve drawn them to the same side of the fabric, is to trim both threads to the same length — three to four inches works best for me — and use a needle with a large eye so the thread ends go in easily:

Because I pulled the bobbin threads through to the front when I started the stitching lines in the interior of the quilt, I buried a lot of the threads in the roofs:

The roofs have a layer of fusible web underneath them so those threads aren’t going anywhere. It was very easy to pull the threads taut and clip them right where they came out of the fabric:

The top thread at the end of each stitching line got pulled to the back of the quilt and buried in the backing fabric.

Just before getting started this morning, I left my sewing room for a few minutes. Look who I found lounging on my ironing board when I came back:

Good thing Coco’s paws were clean!

Now I’m ready for the binding. For those of you who commented on my last post and offered suggestions on color and fabric choices: thank you so much! I’m going to audition everyone’s ideas before making a final decision.

I expect to have a Friday Finish to show you.

 

 

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A Walk in the Neighborhood

It’s a bit of a stretch. The reference is to the walking foot on my Janome sewing machine, used to quilt Uptown Funk, my version of the Dresden Neighborhood quilt.


I seriously considered doing some free motion quilting in the background. Little spirals would have looked good or perhaps some pebbling. Alas, free motion quilting is not my strong suit. After considerable waffling I opted to keep it simple and go for straight lines. The doors on my wonky Dresden houses appear to radiate from the center circle so I extended the concept with my quilting lines radiating to the outer edges of the quilt.

Here’s a peek at the backing fabric:

The fabric, an older print from Timeless Treasures, features another kind of uptown neighborhood: Central Park in New York City. I’ve used this fun retro print in other projects and am happy to report I have plenty left. (There’s a funny story about this fabric you can read about here.)

My wonky Dresden neighborhood quilt measures 24″ x 26″ after trimming. Now I’m trying to decide what fabric to use for binding. Solid black seems too severe. Solid green? No, that would be too much green. I’m leaning toward using one of the black prints from the quilt and maybe inserting a very thin green flange.

Do you approve?

 

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, Janome 9450QCP, update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 7 Comments

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood . . .

. . . my Uptown Funk neighborhood, that is, which now has doors and a few windows:

I wanted the long skinny doors to really stand out, like rays radiating from a sun, so I cut them all from black and green solids. I thought the effect might be diluted if I used prints.

I was planning to use the same solid fabrics for windows. If you look at the Dresden Neighborhood pattern by Kim Lapacek that my neighborhood is based on, you’ll see that all the buildings have doors and windows:

My plan changed when I happened upon a piece of fabric in my stash of a cityscape with a variety of windows — in the perfect color combo of black, white, and green. Of course I had to audition them! I fussycut just a few sets of windows and placed them randomly around the circle of houses.

The windows weren’t printed on the straight of grain so they’re all a little bit wonky. Perfect for my wonky little neighborhood. Here’s a close-up:

Oh, and see the little chimney? It’s the only one in the neighborhood. It’s covering up the smudge of dirt I pointed out in my previous post about this project. I stitched around the base of the chimney with black thread so it would stand out a bit more, and I also added a row of black stitching around the roof. I stitched around the other four roofs that had a lot of white in them after noticing that they blended into the background fabric too much.

I’m thinking windows on only five of my houses may be enough. What do you think?

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, machine applique, update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 6 Comments

A Spot of Green . . .

. . . in honor of St Patrick’s Day. It’s rather nice to be thinking about St. Paddy’s Day and not about the self-confinement the Dear Husband I have entered as part of our responsibility to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve read a lot of posts today about how people are coping and I deeply appreciate the perspective that Sharon Santoni of My French Country Home brings to the situation. She lives in France some 5,000 miles way from my home in Portland, Oregon but we are definitely on the same page.

So back to the wearin’ of the green, or rather the sewin’ of the green:

That’s the last of the 20 roofs on my Dresden Neighborhood quilt (based on the pattern of the same name by Persimon Dreams).

I stitched all the roofs using the blanket stitch on my new Janome 9450QCP sewing machine. I confess: it was harder than I expected. Not because my machine is new. No, it’s because I’ve never machine appliquéd with a blanket stitch before! How did I get to this advanced age without learning that skill?

I had to practice — a lot — on scraps before attempting it on my funky little neighborhood. The most difficult part was stitching around the sharp corners. I couldn’t find a decent tutorial on how to do that so I fiddled with the points, trying different approaches until I was satisfied. And I matched my thread with the roof to minimize the imperfections.


See that zebra print roof above at about the 8:00 position? It’s the only roof that’s rounded and it was very easy going around it with the blanket stitch. Had I known that when I was cutting out the roofs, I would have made more of them rounded!

Uh-oh. There’s a dark smudge just to the left of the roof in the 11:00 position, made of the same zebra fabric. Here’s a close-up:


I have no idea how it got there. It definitely wasn’t there when I stitched around the roof. I tried dabbing it with a wet Q-tip but it looks like ink. The next time you see this there will probably be a chimney covering that sooty-looking spot. How appropriate.

What’s left? Doors and windows; a circle appliquéd in the center; and then it’s time to sandwich and quilt my little neighborhood.

As I was sewing the last roof on, the name for my quilt-in-progress popped into my head: Uptown Funk.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, family, Janome 9450QCP, machine applique, update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 5 Comments