Monday, April 29, 2019

Break time with improv piecing

It's DrEAMi! (Drop Everything And Make It!) or Squirrel time again with Sandra at mmm quilts.
Policeman and black squirrel in High Park, [Toronto, Ont.], 10 Nov., 1917
Photographer: Boyd, John, 1865-1941
Library and Archives Canada (see Related links below)
Improv piecing

When I'm up against a deadline, I usually need some serious procrastination time! Maybe it's to let my brain peculate while I distract myself, but what ever the reason, it happens almost every time.

To procrastinate, I've read 3 books in a series (I suspect that they were short but who knows when it's an ebook!) and did a little bit of improv piecing. A little bit as in a 10 inch square that finishes to an 8 inch pocket. You read right....a pocket!

My husband gave me this gorgeous bag that he got at a conference. The front is really stunning, but the back, not so much.

The front of the bag
So now, the bag has a new back, and an extra pocket.
The bag's new back and pocket
To make the improv piece, I used batik fabrics in colours that went with the front. There was no way that I could possibly make anything that could match the front, so I made my piece to blend in, in a way that it's obvious that it wasn't part of the original design.

Once again, I used the Extended-border binding technique. I treated the outside strip of the block as a border and made it about an inch wider than necessary. I then turned it over and pressed it as if it was a binding.

Making the border of the improv piece wider so that it can be used as a binding

I then cut the batting and backing to the finished size of the block and then slipped it inside the "binding".
The backing and batting are now inside the "binding".
I flipped it over and did my free motion quilting (FMQ) thing! I started by quilting in the ditch around the border, then quilted the design in the middle. Since I wanted the "binding" to be securely attached, I FMQ inside the border.  
Playing with FMQ

Here's the back. You can see where I stitched in the ditch. The quilting inside the border ensured that the binding is securely attached.
The back of the FMQ piece, ready to be attached to the bag.
I very carefully sewed the finished block to the bag. I left the top open so that it can be used as a pocket and therefore reinforced the top sides and the edge of the top so that it won't come apart.

Attaching the pocket to the bag
 If you want more details on the Extended-border binding technique, see Related links below.

What I learned
  • As I mentioned, this small project was a great way to productively procrastinate! I got to play with fabric but not get too wrapped up in a new project.
  • If the FMQ design looks familiar, it because I featured it in the last Free Motion Maverick's post.
  • Isn't the image of the squirrel and the policeman great? It's from Library and Archives Canada's wonderful collection of old images. See Related links.
  • I'm really happy that this bag is now ready to use. I'm going to try it as a purse, but I tend to like the ones with a long strap, so we'll see. At the very least it will make a great project bag (because we can't have too many of those!)
Related links
Linking parties
This post will be linked to DrEAMi! party with Sandra of mmm quilts!, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv, and many other link-ups. Let's go see what's happening in quilt land. Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, What I Made Monday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Midweek Makers, Let's Bee Social, Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Finish, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, TGIFF,

For To-Do Tuesday, I'd better get back to working on my art quilt!

One Monthly Goal Link-up

My art quilt is my May OMG. I learned that it doesn't have to be quite finished by mid-May, just finished enough to supply a description etc. for the show. Yeah!!! But it will get done by the end of the month.

This is my latest picture, but it's mostly for my reference. There are too many things all jumbled together, but it gives me an idea of what does look good together and shows me that I probably have enough pieces cut to finish it.

The next step is to pull it all off and work on the background. I'll keep posting my progress as it happens 😊


  1. What a fabulous idea to jazz up the back of the bag, AND be useful to boot! Love the FMQ and yeah that extended border-binding technique is fab. Thanks for linking up to us squirrel chasers, and yeah that'a a great pic to start your post. :-)

    1. Thanks Sandra, I'm glad I was able to write this up in time to post. I actually used the bag yesterday to put in my embroidery stuff for a road trip. It's going to be very useful....and now we're all looking for cool squirrel pics!

  2. Ooooohhh I might have to adopt "productive procrastination" as my favorite phrase to use when avoiding a super-boring project (or something I can't make up my mind about) and letting ideas marinate a bit. Really neat process to finish that block! Thanks for linking up to What I Made Monday.

    1. Hi Becca, I'm the queen of procrastination - and sometimes it does work in my favour :-)

  3. That's a nice compliment to the screen print on the other side - great idea!

    1. Thanks Susan, and it's much better than what was there!

  4. Good luck with your art quilt! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and good luck with your project.

    1. Thanks Patty. I really hope that it gets done by the end of the month since I found out that I have a little extra time!

  5. What a useful way to procrastinate. I should take a leaf out of your book and up my procrastination skills. :)

    1. Hi Dione, I can always help you procrastinate.....I'm quite good at it :-)

  6. Andrée, You are a genius a bright colourful fun projects. Great autumnal colours. Thanks for linking up!
    Love, Muv


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