How'd She Do That?


A few of you had questions on the kaleidoscope pieces I posted a few weeks back, so I thought I'd show you how I made those blocks.  Several asked if I used the EPP (English Paper Piecing) technique.  I didn't, but suppose you could.  Here's a look at how I made the pieces. 

Here goes...
First, I traced the templates and cut them out, including their seam allowances.  I made the templates from clear template plastic so I could see the underlying fabric. 
The pattern is called "Make the Cut" from the August 2013 BH&G
 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.

Next, I looked for fabrics which have a symmetrical axis. Not all the fabric I used had the symmetrical axis; as long as you are diligent about how you cut your pieces, the effect will be pretty similar. When looking for a symmetrical axis, look to see that the pattern is a mirror image on either side of the axis.  Here's an example:
If you look on either side of the pen or the lines, you'll see the pattern pretty much exactly is a mirror image of itself. This fabric actually has two lines of symmetry, and you could use either one. 

Next, on the petal piece, mark the center line on your template and place the center line of the template on an axis of symmetry on the fabric.
When you've decided where you want the piece to be positioned, trace around the piece with a pencil or permanent marker.  Be aware of where you position your first piece, as you'll need to repeat the positioning five more times on your fabric. 

Now you can cut the piece out, being careful to cut right on the lines so that you don't expand the size of your pieces.  You'll need to repeat this process, lining up the template in the exact same spot on the next repeat of your fabric. Do this 5 more times to get six identical petals.

You'll want to essentially do the same with the center hexagon. Although, the center doesn't need to be on an axis of symmetry, you'll want to try to center the hexagon over your fabric so that you get a center you're happy with. 
You should now have all six petals and the center cut out.  You're ready to start sewing the block together...
To start sewing the block together, remember all petals get sewn to the center hexagon. First start by marking a dot at each 1/4" seam intersection.  This will serve as a guide for where to stop your stitching.  Because the block has all "set-in" seams, you'll need to leave a 1/4" allowance at each intersection to pivot the individual pieces for sewing.  Let's get started...

Match the bottom of petal #1 to one of the sides of the hexagon.  Stitch between the two 1/4" dots and then stop and tie off your stitching (as shown, above). 

Note, when you stop stitching at the 1/4" dot, your seam will look like the following:

You want this opening as it will serve you well when you have to inset the next seam...Go ahead and select the next petal to attach.  Align the petal bottom to the hexagon and pin (below).  

Again, stitch between the two dots, towards the first petal, but this time, only backstitch at the second dot; do not cut your thread.
Next, you'll pivot the petal you just attached so that the sides of the two petals match.
Stitch between the two dots.  At the second dot, you can now backstitch and tie off your thread.  Your piece should look something like the following:
Continue to attach the next three petals in the same manner.  The last petal can be a bit tricky, but it follows the same methodology. I'll show you how I do put that last petal in...

This time, to sew the last petal in, you'll start by aligning two petal sides together...
Go ahead and stitch between  the two 1/4" dots, but not cutting your thread.  Backstitch at the 1/4" intersection, then turn your petal to match the bottom of the petal to the remaining side of the hexagon...

Stitch again, between the two dots, backstitching at the second dot and leaving your thread attached.  Now, pivot the petal piece so that the remaining side of the petal aligns with the already-attached petal side...
Stitch between the 1/4" dots, and at the second dot, backstitch and tie off your thread.  You can now cut the thread...

Your piece should look something like this (below), from the back side:

...And from the front side...

You'd attach the background fabric pieces in the same manner, using the 1/4" dots to be a guide for stopping your stitching and pivoting the pieces to set in the outer diamonds. When you're done, your piece should look similar to the following:

Hope this helps show how I assembled these beauties, and I hope you try some out. They are great fun to put together and fascinating to see the resulting kaleidoscope.


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