The Back to School Blog Hop is back and participating again this year along with 31 other sewists to bring you advice on everything from batting to ins and outs of starching. This month of information downloading has been organized by Sam Hunter and you will find links to all the blogs playing along at the end of this post.
This year I wanted to talk a little about working with lawn and share some of the things I have learned this last 12 months as I made my first lawn projects. Lawn is a plain weave textile, which was originally made of linen but now is now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. Its hand is much lighter and softer than quilting cotton and it is sheerer than most cottons. I have worked predominantly with Liberty Lawn but stash also includes some Cotton & Steel lawn and some Heather Ross lawn.
My first exposure to lawn was a couple of fat eights of Liberty of London Tania lawn which was given to me a couple of years ago. Those little pieces of precious fabric have grown into quite a stash… including an growing collection of my favorite print Betsy…
Last year I decided to stop hoarding my Liberty and started using it… making a bevy of butterflies…
and a couple of Liberty hexagon pillows…
While making these projects I learnt a bit including:
To wash or not? There is a quite a bit online about pre-washing your lawn fabric to help with shrinkage. As I was working with small pieces (some just 5 inch squares) I decided not to pre wash. If I was going to pre-wash it would be a very gentle hand wash and NOT a washing machine job… unless of course I was working with yardage.
Paper piecing and lawn are a match made in heaven. Because lawn is so fine I have found that paper piecing is wonderful technique to use – the paper pattern gives the light weight cotton a stability which makes piecing so much easier. I have used English paper piecing and standard foundation piecing with Liberty and have loved both techniques. I am able to get really precise piecing with this thin, sometimes slippery fabric.
Starch is lawn’s best friend. Whether you pre-wash or not starch is an invaluable tool when working with lawn. Starch stiffens the fine cotton lawn and makes for easier cutting and piecing. For my butterfly project I starched my blocks after I had removed the paper pattern… and with my hexagons I starch and iron the hexagons with the cardboard template still in place to help keep the hexagon shape when the paper is removed. If you are using traditional piecing to make a lawn quilt you will find starch is a vital tool to give some weight and body to cotton…and remember to use a dry iron when pressing lawn.
Make sure your tools are sharp. When I am sewing my lawn I make sure I have a new sharp needle in my machine and when pinning I use fine sharp pins. The lawn is more delicate than quilting cotton and a little bit of sharpness helps avoid snags or tears.
Cotton thread is preferable. When working with lawn in particular a fine 100% cotton thread is the best option… my choice is a Aurifil 50wt.
Do not be afraid to mix your fabrics. Although lawn is lightweight do not be afraid to mix it with quilting cottons or other fabrics. Liberty in particular plays really nicely, both visually and physically, with Essex linen.
And last but not least I have learnt that you can never have too much Liberty fabric. If you are interested in starting a collection or adding to your stash a Liberty bundle subscription is a fabulous way to go. I had a subscription last year to Ava & Neve’s Liberty Society and every month for a year I got a wonderfully curated bundle of Liberty. It really was a fabulous way to round out my stash, as I got fabrics I would not necessarily have chosen myself but which I loved.
I hope you follow the rest of the hop as there’s some fantastic content coming your way! BTW, the contributors are from all over the world, so please be patient is everything is not posted bright and early in your exact timezone!
Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt – www.huntersdesignstudio.com
Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting – www.mandalei.com
Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling – www.justquiltingpdx.com
Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine – www.LoveBugStudios.com
Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates – www.designcamppdx.blogspot.com
Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching – www.crinkledreams.com
Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo – www.vintagefabricstudio.com
Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique – www.thebitchystitcher.com
Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com
Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines – www.quiltingjetgirl.com
Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips – www.craftyplanner.com
Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children – www.thetartankiwi.com
Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution – www.badassquilterssociety.com
Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric – www.wombatquilts.com
Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam – www.sewmuchcosplay.com
Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread – www.terificreations.com
Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www. higheredhands.blogspot.com
Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) – www.ipleadquilty.com
Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) – www.jessicakdarling.com
Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com
Day 21 – September 4 – Lynn Krawczyk: Build a simple design with hand stitching – www.smudgeddesignstudio.com
Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs – www.quiltjane.com
Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room – www.onequiltingcircle.com
Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine – www.christaquilts.com
Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch – www.berrybarndesigns.com
Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding – www.websterquilt.blogspot.com
Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro – www.sarahgoerquilts.com
Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips – www.chittenden.co.za
Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips – www.muppin.com
Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them – www.gogokim.com
Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué – www.sandrahealydesigns.com
Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting – www.utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com