I am a bit overwhelmed by the number of views that my post about Son #1's ring bearer pillow has received. I feel like I should share the process I used to make that little pixelated heart.
My inspiration for the technique came through several sources.
First, the pixilated heart. It is a fairly common theme and I couldn't even begin to decipher the original source.
Second, in order to achieve such small piecing I was inspired by Elizabeth Hartman's Stamp Collection tutorial (no longer active) on her blog, Oh, Fransson. The difference is that her unfinished squares are two-inches whereas mine are one-inch.
This pillow is only eleven-inches square and I wanted a lot of detail. I knew that would not be possible with a larger pixel. I am so excited about how well this turned out and I have plans to do more experimentation.
I do not like poly-fil pillows so I cut down a 16x26 inch feather and down pillow form that I purchased from Ikea. It was messy but it worked. I covered my little 11x11 inch form in muslin to make it pretty. I still have a 16-inch square pillow form to play with. Maybe another Micro-Stamp is in order?
So, here is the series of photos that I took while making the pillow.
Light Weight Fusible Interfacing. (I used Pelon 906F)
An assortment of One-Inch fabric squares. (I used snippets of all the shades of red and pink I had in my stash. White was my only allowed exception.)
Pen to mark grid. (I found that a thin Sharpie left a nice quality line.)
Ruler to mark grid lines
Clover Mini Iron (a full size iron could be used in a pinch but I found the mini iron to be much easier to use with the tiny pieces)
I'd skip the muslin and mark your Pellon if you do not plan to ever repeat this technique. No sense making a gridded muslin for a one-off.
I am now using the muslin grid. My squares are marked at two inches.
Step One and a half:
Cut your interfacing to a scant under two times the size of your desired finished piece. This will keep your iron and cloth clean.
The pellon piece above is cut at seven inches and will yield a three and half inch finished piece.
(I colored the edges of the Pellon red so you could see them easier)
Quickly press any all your little squares flat. This can be done in in groups and clumps.
Notice my revised layout below. The Pellon is completely covered by the one inch fabric squares.
Add in your background grid pieces.
Fill the entire grid to the size square or rectangle you desire for your finished piece.
Lay an ironing cloth over your grid and press. I was able to eliminate the need for the mini-iron and the piece was much flatter with the pieces were more strongly adhered.
Sew your seams. Fold on the lines, right sides together, and sew all the seams with a 1/4 inch allowance going in ONE direction on the interfacing side.
I had a lot of warpage on my first few goes that required quite a bit of pulling and teasing with the iron to work out. I discovered that if you alternate the direction you sew each seam the warpage is pretty much eliminated. See photo bellow where I have marked the seam directions.
Trim your seam allowances.
I tried several techniques.
First I tried my small embroidery scissors that fit into the seam allowance. This didn't work for me even though I was using a nice pair of Ginghers.
Second I tried using my rotary cutter, mat and a ruler but it slipped around too much on the interfacing.
My third attempt, and the one I settled on, was using a standard pair of scissors to trim off a sliver of the seam allowance. This was safe, fast and worked perfectly for me.
It is important to trim off about a sixteenth of an inch of the seam allowance fold. This allows you to iron the seams open and reduces the width of the sides so that they do not touch or overlap.
Iron your seam allowances open. This is a must as the bulk is considerable. The seams will remain strong since they are continuous from end to end so there is no need to worry about squares coming loose.
I used a considerable amount of home-made vodka starch during the process.
The increased adhesion with the pressing cloth and alternating seam directions eliminated the need for starch and the mini-iron! Just start on the edge of the outer seam and carefully use your fingertips to fold open the seam as you go. Then move inward until you get to the center seam. Flip the piece and do the same from the other side.
Repeat folding on the seam line and sewing all the seams in the perpendicular direction as per Step Four.
The above shows a block finished in several stages for a demo.
Repeat trimming the seams as per Step Five.
Repeat ironing your seams as per Step Six.
Give the finished block a good starch and press, front and back. Only if desired.
I was quite happy with how flat I was able to get the piece.
I wish I had a photo to share here. The seam allowances come just short of touching all the way around. It really looks cool.
Here's the block I made for the Augusta Modern Quilt Guild's banner.
Trim block to square and stay-stitch around the outside edge within the quarter-inch seam allowance if desired.
I'd love to get feedback from anyone who tries this tutorial.
Once I had my block complete I made a removable cover using Essex Linen and a red zipper. I didn't end up using the blue Kona but opted to do some simple quilting in blue in its place. The bridesmaid dresses are Navy so I wanted to emphasize the blues in the Carolyn Friedlander bits.
Thanks for visiting!
Linking up with:
Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday (This project is one of their features this week!)