Sunday, April 12, 2015

Modern Batik Scrap Wreath Tutorial, Part 1: Piecing and Appliqué

Here's my latest. I call it Ring Toss.
It sits on a yard of fabric. I'm not yet sure which way is up. What do you think?
It grew out of three of my most recent obsessions: wreaths; batik strips (in January 123); and coming to terms with my hopelessly awkward freemotion machine quilting  (1: Spock2: Mammography: and 3: Sound of Music.  

So I'll break this blog post into two parts. This is Part I: How to make a batik scrap wreath, suitable for all occasions, or, as in this case, non-occasions. Part 2 will go into the 10 freemotion quilting motifs I added.

It all started when I got sick of weaving batik strips, and decided to start piecing batik scraps into log cabin-ish rectangles. 
I used a 24" ruler (with a pinhole) to draw a circle on brown paper approximately 22" across. Five inches outside the first circle I drew another circle
Laid the blocks on the pattern and grew them until there were enough to cover the doughnut shape. 
Removed the blocks. Cut out both circles and used the ring pattern to cut out fusible fleece. (Or interfacing, or something stiffer; you have lots of options, which we'll list at the end.) 
Cut the outer area away from the fleece...
And then the inner area. Laid the fleece ring with the fusible side down.  Placed two stitched blocks on the ring. Made sure they extended beyond the ring at least a half inch on the inside and outside. 
Flipped the bottom block onto the top block, right sides together, and stitched along that lower edge. 
Open. Pressed carefully, using a nonstick applique press sheet on bottom to protect the ironing surface from the glue.
Kept adding blocks, stitching, and flipping open.
Continued until the entire base was covered. The last block overlapped the first; turned under its final edge and topstitched with invisible thread. Walked away for a day or so, came back, and took a look. 
I kind of liked it with jagged edges along both the inner and outer edges, and therefore could have skipped the next several steps. But ultimately decided I wanted smooth edges. So I trimmed them to 1/2" beyond the fleece backing, on the inside and outside. Clipped curves as needed and pressed the edge under. It adhered to the fusible.
Trimmed and pressed, it looked like this:
Pretty cool, eh? Time to audition backgrounds. What about a rainbow? 
 I preferred solid blue.
 I really liked it off-center!
Check out those accidental crease curves lines on the upper right of the ring.  I meant this as a wreath, but with those accidental creases, it looked much more like something flung. I decided to call it Ring Toss.

I machine zig-zagged the ring to a yard of Kona cotton blue background using invisible monofilament thread. The grey marks have fusible web on the back and are also raw edge zig-zag appliquéd in place. They are supposed to represent the spinning/wavering motion of the ring? (Alternatively, they represent two grey quarter moons on a distant doughnut-shaped alien planet.)

 There are so  many different directions this idea could go in: 
1. Use a stiff thick fusible interfacing, like Pellon F2F and don't put it on any background - it will literally be a hangable wreath. Embellish with buttons, beads, or sparkly trim. Press a fabric to the back and fold in its edges. 
2. Do decorative stitching along seam lines for a crazy quilt effect. 
3. Use a paper foundation, or light-to-medium weight interfacing instead of fusible fleece, if you don't want the ring to have dimension. 


  1. It is amazing. I could never do it. It seems like it would take so long. I would never have the patience. Wow. You are awesome.

  2. Thank you, Margaret. It's not brain surgery or novel-writing. You could so do this. The question is, do you want to? If you did, I'd help you. No patience, just pure fun.
    The background quilting, however, is a different story.

  3. I love this technique! Thank you for sharing - I know it will come in handy to use up my scraps.