Ok, so I had all improv blocks made up, but how was I going to put them together. Firstly I placed my improv blocks on my design wall and played around with them until I was happy with the design and felt that the edges of all the blocks nestled in with each other. It was at this point I added a couple of extra strips of fabric onto some of the blocks here and there to help square the blocks up a little.
I decided rather than just sewing the blocks to each other, I wanted to have some sashing strips in between to help each block stand out on its own. I chose the fabric for the sashing strips, then cut various strips (using scissors rather than the rotary cutter) by the width of fabric.
Once the selvedges were cut off, I was able to then lay the strips around the blocks. I needed to keep in mind that I would need to sew this quilt in sections to avoid as many y seams as I could.
The black lines I have drawn onto the photo (above) show the sections the quilt was sewn in and where one y seam landed. I haven't done y seams for a long time, however they really are not difficult (that might be another mini tute for another day!).
When the sections were all sewn together, I added on the final border. Once it was done I stepped back, and realised I didn't like the size of the large empty space (see the arrows).
Filling in a hole
I decided the best way to fill in that large empty space was to applique a strip of colour over it! To do that I sewed up a strip to fill the space using leftover fabrics and included a pretty little dotty selvedge piece for interest. I then pinned the strip in place.....
....and, using my sewing machine and the quarter inch foot, sewed the strip onto the quilt top.
This method of applique is known as front basting and it is very simple and quick. I then unpicked a few my machine stitches and using an applique needle and neutral thread began to needleturn applique the strip in place.
Continue to remove stitches as you go (about 5 or six stitches at once, you don't want to unpick too far ahead).
Because the strip has been machine sewn, when the stitches are removed the fabric 'remembers' where the stitch line was and easily turns under to this point underneath the needle.
I continued all the way around until it was done. I really liked the slightly wonky colourful strip and once the quilt is quilted, you probably won't even notice it was appliqued on later!
Once the strip was appliqued on I was finally happy with the balance and design of the quilt top.
My final mini tute in this series will be to show how I quilted my improv quilt. See you soon. xo