Monday, April 13, 2009

Faux Chenille Instructions

I was asked for instructions on this faux chenille technique.

I began with a regular square block and cut somewhat amoeba-shaped appliques. The shape of the applique is important because after you stitch your lines you will be cutting between each and every one of those stitched lines therefore you should be able to slide your scissors in one end and out the other.

The applique is stitched to the center of the block with stitches approx 3/4" apart. I suggest practicing on a scrap to ensure your scissors will slide comfortably and be able to cut between the stitches. Widen if necessary, but should not exceed 1". There are a lot (!) of lines you will be cutting so comfort is key. We all know or at least can guess that after cutting a few hundred lines if the stitches are too tight your wrist and hands are jelly regardless of Comfort Grip. I made my first line on the applique down the middle to make sure it holds its place and shape - I machine stitched using a very light combination of starch and basting spray to hold it in place and even with that combination the applique liked to slide if I tried starting at one end instead of the middle.

I was systematic and cut all appliques, stitched appliques to the blocks, assembled the rest of the quilt, and only then cut between the lines on the appliques. But if you prefer to see progress more quickly it doesn't hurt to cut between the lines of the appliques as you go.

Once assembled, the first washing starts the fraying seen above. Each time the quilt is washed it frays and separates those rows more and more. I used darker appliques with white background and metallic thread for a bolder contrast because it was the first I had done and wanted to see clearly what the effects were and how quickly they came about. You will have a different look of you stitch your lines with the bias versus against the bias. It's fun to play with the different effects!
Another version is to use several layers of fabric instead of batting and it is the same concept as above, but you will be cutting through all EXCEPT the bottom layer, so it's important to have a strong backing fabric as it will be the proverbial glue that holds the quilt together. If using a thinner backing fabric because it has the "perfect print", then you may consider leaving the backing fabric and the next layer up uncut for strength. That version is shown below. On this one, I used the top primary fabric layer, then 2 tan layers, then 1 natural muslin layer, and finally a twig print backing and cut all but the backing layer. Given that this uses several layers of fabric instead of backing it turned out shockingly heavy!

I hope you enjoy! Trina

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