Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wedding Rings

Two of our good friends got married a couple weeks ago and I made them some special pillowcases as a gift.  I found a traditional quilt design called "double wedding rings" and knew that it would be perfect for the occasion!  At first the pattern seemed quite daunting... for one thing it has curves.  Curves are tricky to sew.  Pieced curves that have to match up at the ends are even trickier.  ...and I'd never really done a curvy quilt before.  But I decided that I should challenge myself and try it!  I found free printable templates at and got to work.

I knew they liked "autumnal" colors so I decided to go with warm golden browns and a little bit of red and green.  The not-so-fun part was cutting out dozens of little trapezoids from the various fabrics... and by dozens I actually mean 196...  Those little trapezoids were then sewn into arcs.

At this point I arranged the arcs into the double-ring design and tried to make sure that there was a nice visual balance.  Then it was time to sew the arcs into football-shapes.

This required matching up the bottom corners of the arcs so that the red squarish pieces lined up properly... and sewing these curves meant bending the arcs around backwards and pinning them like crazy!

See what I mean?  Once all of the football-shapes were finished I could then sew them together onto the center pieces.

Here is where the template instructions stopped... Now If I was making a huge quilt I would just keep connecting rings until it was the size I wanted, but here I wanted to use the rings as a visual element on a pillowcase.  So I kind of made the rest up... to keep things relatively simple I just appliqued the rings onto the background fabric. 

Then once that was done I had this crazy idea that I should do some fancy leafy shaped quilting around the rings.  Again, this was something that I had never done before... and perhaps I should actually take a quilting class someday... There is probably a much better way to do this... but oh well.

In order to make my leafy design uniform and consistent I drew up some designs and printed them on freezer paper (much like I did on my stenciled pillowcase) and ironed them in place.  Then I sandwiched my batting between the top and the back and sewed over the lines on the sewing machine.  I wouldn't recommend this method for several reasons, but mainly because I ended up having to fold the pillowcase up and maneuver it around my machine and the freezer paper started peeling off as it was folded and bent.  Pinning the paper kept it in place, but it still shifted somewhat.

But finally, FINALLY! After all of that, it was a simply matter of sewing some panels onto the back to create a pair of lovely pillow shams!  (I constructed the backs much like I did for my "No-Slip Pillowcase.")

I have to say that I am pretty proud of my first "curvy" pieced design with it's "fancy leafy shaped quilting!" I learned a lot and even though they aren't perfect, I still think they look cool!