Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bandana Quilt

Here it is!  The 9 bandana quilt (60" x 60") I have been quilting for a few days.  This will be taught at a JoAnn Fabric and Crafts kids class.  So versatile with all the available colors and designs you can purchase bandanas.

I did not find a 20" x 20" rotary cutting ruler, so my husband cut plexiglass for me.  I am thinking that the kids will only create theirs with the whole bandana.  We only have 2 3-hour classes to get this done.  That includes all steps - laying it out in a pattern, stitching the bandanas together, pinning the layers together, sewing the outer seam, turning and then stitch in the ditch.  Keep in mind, these are beginner sewers.

The original pattern calls for cutting all 9 bandanas in half corner to corner.  The middle and four corners of the quilt are to be two large triangles sewn together.  For the remaining four squares, cut the triangles in quarters and create a pattern to your eyes pleasing.  I would love to see this in only purple and green, my two favorite colors.  Maybe round two will be that :-)

Then layer the bandana top, batting and backing fabric fleece (flannel may be nice too).

Last week I taught week one of the bandana quilt.  It did work best for the younger group to sew complete squares.  However, you must keep in mind that a bandana is NOT a perfect square.  You can choose to stitch each row together and trim before attaching to the next row.  Or, we found that the 20" x 20" plexiglas rulers my husband cut were lifesavers.  (He says he used his table saw to cut them)  Square up all 9 bandanas BEFORE you do anything else, whether leaving them as complete squares, cutting in triangles or fourths.  CUT THEM SQUARE!  And be sure you have a sharp rotary blade.

I had the kids draw a tic tac toe pattern on scratch paper and label where they wanted their bandanas to be by color choice, especially helpful with a variety of colors.  This helped them know what they needed to add next within a row, as well as, helped me to be able to see what they needed next.  :-)  Remind them about right sides together.  This is a hard concept for them to grasp when they are positioning the bandanas for pinning purposes.  Save everyone the frustration of reverse sewing with a seam ripper.

Tomorrow is the final class.  We had some leave class without their tops sewn together.  I encouraged homework to get the tops done so we would need only layer, sew outer edge, turn right side out and stitch in ditch. I will update again soon.

Update Two:
Back again.  The two week class has ended and all but two (12 total) went home at least sewn up to the point after turning right side out.  So technically they are usable, there just may be shifting of the batting to an extent.  We did baste down two seams at the point where we layered the batting and bandanas (no fleece yet).  So, not a risk of too much shifting.

The final step after sewing shut the turning spot was to stitch once again in the ditch of all remaining seams. For the square tops, doable.  For the triangles... Not in the time allowed.

After experiencing the bandana quilt in a 2 3-hour session, my recommendation is to leave the bandanas in squares unless you know they are avid sewers and can do a lot of homework before the next week's class. This was not the case with my students.  Most do not even have a sewing machine at home.

The quilts are a huge hit. I love to see the students' excitement when they know they have done the work (a LOT or work).  The smiles on their faces leaves me with a warm heart and a thankfulness for my opportunity to teach.

Please feel free to comment, ask questions about my experience or share your ideas on how you have tackled a bandana quilt.


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