One of the awesome perks of sewing is that feeling that you can make Anything. Or, at least, anything made in fabric. If I had a secret alias it might be "woman of the cloth." It's kind of like Settlers of Catan - this is my resource. No, I haven't actually made everything that can be made in cloth (particularly of the wardrobe variety), but I like to think, with a twinkle in my eye, that I can.
In the two-dimensional quilting world, where I am quite comfy, being able to make Just Anything requires skills beyond simple piecing. Don't get me wrong, simple straight-line piecing is awesome! But, if you want to be able to draw any design and be able to bring it forth in cloth form, you'll need some extra powers. In the Penny Sampler we're working on machine applique - the short cut to sewing curved shapes - and machine paper piecing - the holy grail of accurate, complex straight lines.
Earlier this week I sat down to sketch something that would be a fun paper piecing project for our upcoming class. After some false starts I drifted into the kitchen, with what I am sure was a blank, zombie stare. My gaze eventually landed on a favorite bit of kitchen decor - a white floating shelf stacked with pretty things, including some clear glass canisters filled with noodles, beans, etc.
Could we sew just such a shelf? Why, of course we could! After all, we can sew just about anything. What's more those canisters are already angular, making them easy to translate in machine paper piecing! I had fun designing some fancy labels and throwing in an imaginary hexagonal canister with a chunky lid.
Next up, choosing fabrics! I started with wallpaper for my kitchen, conjuring a space that was colorful with a bit of a Melody Miller vintage flare. After choosing Denyse Schmidt's Medallion Flea Market Fancy print for the wallpaper, I selected fabrics to fill my jars. Funny that all but one are Denyse too! Then, I sourced some text prints to spice up those labels and the now "wooden" lid.
Choosing fabrics is of course the very most fun part! But the sewing isn't half bad either. Once you get the hang of machine paper piecing, it's actually a very satisfying experience. If you can sew on a marked line, you can sew perfectly every time. Watching deliciously sharp right angles and fussy cut fabrics emerge as intended to create a picture is really quite a treat. If you haven't yet tried this skill, don't be afraid. It's not complex to achieve (like curved piecing can be). Instead it's complex to teach. It's one of those skills best taught in person, which is probably why it's received a bit of a reputation in our digital world. I'm confident that with detailed lessons and especially with videos, you'll be successfully machine paper piecing quicker than you think!
Well, that's our Pantry Shelf mini quilt project. Hope it looks like fun! I'm looking forward to sharing more class projects next week!