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Uneven sizes vintage blocks

Uneven sizes vintage blocks

Old 06-22-2017, 06:05 PM
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Default Uneven sizes vintage blocks

I'm trying to finish up my UFO's and I'm finding out why they are unfinished. I just pulled out some blocks I bought a long time ago of 4 hand stitched butterflies on a large 15-16 inch block. Each block is a different size within 1/2 inch to one inch and because the butterflies are all hand appliquéd, there is absolutely no way to cut them the same size. I've thought maybe I could stitch another piece of fabric to the smaller blocks to make them the same but I thought I'd throw this problem to you first. Some of the blocks actually have the stitching right near the edge with no seam allowance. The blocks are made of 1930 fabrics and are quite pretty. I really want to make these into a quilt. Help please.
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Old 06-22-2017, 06:20 PM
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You could applique them onto a background fabric, then cut the background fabric into equal sizes to create a pieced quilt. Or you could applique them onto a large piece of background fabric (the size of a quilt, or the inner portion of a quilt).

You could also add a border fabric around each one and mount them on frames (either quilted or unquilted), making 4 different pictures to hang.

Whatever you do, you will need a seam allowance. Perhaps you could carefully unsew some of the hand applique near the edge, turn under the edge of the applique more, and re-stitch that part of the applique to allow for a seam allowance.

If there is a bit of fabric at the edge, say 1/8" inch, you could possibly fuse fabric onto that edge, zigzag to secure the edge of the applique to the additional fused fabric, then turn so that the fused fabric adds enough to make a secure seam allowance.
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Old 06-22-2017, 06:51 PM
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Can you post a picture of them?
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:42 PM
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Since there's only 4 of them, I'd take them off the original backings. Cut new backing blocks, but cut them larger than your intended size. Applique the butterflies on, THEN trim to your finished size.
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:21 PM
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​If the stitching is a nice buttonhole along the edge and you want to preserve it, I might cut around the butterfly with enough to fabric to turn the edges under. I would then hand applique it to a new background square.
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
​If the stitching is a nice buttonhole along the edge and you want to preserve it, I might cut around the butterfly with enough to fabric to turn the edges under. I would then hand applique it to a new background square.
If I was going to try do something with blocks like that - I would soak them in hot water to see what the fabric will do - then lay them out on towels to dry. Sometimes the shrinkage can really distort the fabrics and make the finished product look weird.

Unless these pieces are going to be framed and under glass, I like to know if the fabrics will bleed or shrink before investing any more time in them.

Reason for my caution: I had acquired a very cute skirt at a yard sale with appliequed flowers and leaves on it - when washed - in tepid water - the appliques and fabric under them got very wonky and would not lay flat.
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Old 06-23-2017, 05:56 AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I have 12 blocks with 48 butterflies. I'm going to look at them again with your ideas in my brain to see what might work. I'm thinking I washed these when I bought them as they were really dirty with age. I'll try and post a picture later.
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:27 AM
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or you could frame your favorite, and bless someone else with the other blocks one UFO out and gone.
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Old 06-23-2017, 06:41 PM
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To even out uneven blocks, I like to add a triangle of fabric onto each of the four sides. Trim them all to the same size afterwards. It'll put the butterflies on point, too.
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Old 06-24-2017, 04:39 AM
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I found these butterfly blocks at a quilt store 20 years ago. I finally made them into a quilt.

butterflu-quilt-2.jpg
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