Quilt designing with Shape & Design Packs is as easy as throwing a few ingredients into a bowl.

Use sashings, inners borders and backgrounds to combine the Shape & Design Packs together. Continuing the cooking analogy… they are the butter, oil and flour that combine your chosen ingredients. Here’s just a couple of recipes to give you an idea just how easy designing with Shape & Design Packs can be.

You don’t need a template for every shape in a design. You can be economical with your templates and reuse them as you go. However, sometimes you may want to work a certain way and it may be more convenient to have more on hand. Quantity needed depends upon the order in which you work and how many outside edge templates need to stay in place before they are sewn to the next design element.

Recipe 1
Ingredients: 1 Centre Design Pack – ‘Meadow Field’, 1 or more Block Design Packs – ‘Meadow Flower’.
Techniques: English paper piecing, hand or machine appliqué, machine piecing.

This example starts with a ‘Meadow Field’ Centre Design Pack. It has been pieced as a wreath panel, with the middle left open so that a feature fabric can be appliquéd behind it. The seam allowances of the templates around the outer edge of the wreath panel have been left unturned so an inner border can be machine pieced to it. The’ Meadow Flower’ Block Design Pack has been used to create a pieced border. Leave the blocks outer seam allowances unturned if you wish to machine sew them together. By piecing and attaching the border one side at a time you only need 1 pack.

Designing with Shape & Design Packs

Recipe 2
Ingredients: 1 or more Block Design Packs – ‘Dresden Plate 2’.
Techniques: English paper piecing, hand or machine appliqué, machine piecing.

This example starts with 4 half ‘Dresden Plate 2’ blocks which have been appliquéd onto triangular background blocks, surrounding a centre square. Sashings were then added around the pieced block. Corner triangles with sashings were added next, to create an on-point layout. 8 whole and 4 half ‘Dresden Plate 2’ blocks were appliquéd to background blocks, square and triangular and added. 4 half ‘Dresden Plate 2’ blocks were appliquéd to background triangles, sashed along the inner edge and added to the corners. An inner border and outer border was added to complete the design.

Designing with Shape & Design Packs

The design possibilities using the Design Packs are only limited by your imagination. These are just a couple of examples using Block and Centre Design Packs. You can further extend the design possibilities by creating your own blocks, centres and borders using the Shape Packs.

Start by choosing the packs you like and think work well together. Play around with layouts, keeping in mind the approximate finished size you want your quilt to be. You don’t have to work out the maths for everything exactly at the very beginning, only enough to give you an idea of the finished size and fabric quantity. Speaking of which, I usually start a quilt using fabrics from my stash and only buy fabric as needed along the way. Sometimes only having a certain amount of a particular fabric is disappointing but often it pushes me to come up with a more interesting design.

I tend to work on a design just enough so I can start sewing and then I find the quilt starts to take on a life of it’s own. Once the design goes from sketch to fabric things often just have a way of becoming what they need to be. Be open to the design process, assess your work regularly along the way. Standing back and viewing it from a distance or photographing it can help highlight any concerns, particularly with contrast and balance. Keep asking… what if? Even if the what if’s aren’t to your liking, they will make you more confident that what you decide on is the right choice.

When working out the measurements for each additional design element, avoid taking the measurement from along the outer edge of the previously sewn work, as this may have stretched. If you keep adding design elements based on the side edge measurement of the previously sewn work you will surely end up with wavy borders.

Lightly press your piecing after each stage, before measuring. If you are adding sashings or borders to a square or oblong, measure from side to side through the centre of the previous work, not along an outer edge. If you are adding something like a corner triangle design element to a previously sewn on-point element, take the measurement further in from the edge. Regularly checking that your work is true and even will ensure you have good results at the end.


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