28 April, 2015

Tips for Cutting and Sewing Voile

After posting my Precious - all voile quilt I've had quite a few emails and some comments about the quilt's construction and working with voile.

Voile, while a woven cotton, is not exactly the same as the quilting cotton most of us are used to sewing. It is thinner and silkier. That means it requires some special handling. Nothing fancy, just a bit of care.

Tips for Cutting and Sewing Voile

1. Pre-washing does not make a difference to the feel of the fabric - so go with what you generally do when it comes to pre-washing.

2. Starch or not? I can't say here as I am not a starch user and did not experiment. Again, I think going with what you are comfortable with is going to work for you. But because you pick voile, in part, for its softness, you will definitely want to wash the finished project before using.

3. The ruler will want to slide while you are cutting. Keep your pinky finger of the hand stabilizing the ruler off the edge of the ruler, right next to it. This helps hold it in place.

4. You can cut more than one layer at a time. Voile is much thinner, so I cut with my fabric doubled up.

5. Make sure your rotary cutter blade is sharp. Of course this should always be the case, but the voile seems to snag a bit more.

6. Be careful to keep it right sides up. It can be hard to determine right versus wrong on some voiles, so stack and keep organized accordingly.

7. Use your walking foot for sewing. Or a dual/even feed if your machine has it. This is an absolute necessity. (At one point my dual feed was turned off and I wrecked fabric trying to sew. It took me a lot of swearing to figure out the simple fix.)

8. If pinning, use thin and sharp pins to make smaller holes and not have snags.

9. If you don't already piece with a 75/11 or 80/12 needle do so for this. Personally, I'm a fan of the Microtex Sharps for piecing.

10. You can absolutely mix voiles with regular cottons. They sew together nicely. Use these same tips, even when combining the fabrics.

As for how I put together this particular quilt, it was totally random patchwork. I collected the fabric, cut out a bunch of random triangles, and sewed them together.

Fabrics were gathered from all over. Mostly on-line sources. The selection of voile continues to grow and there are more and more geometric rather than floral options. That gets me very excited and makes me want to make another all voile quilt.

To cut my triangles I used the 60 degree ruler from Marti Michell. You could easily create your own template too. I liked this ruler because while it did give the options to cut different sized triangles it was a larger triangle when used as a template. Frankly, it was the size of the ruler that dictated my own triangle size. Cutting was made a lot easier that way!

Two other things I liked about this particular ruler. One, the little notches on the corners are great. It is so much easier to cut those triangles off before you sew, rather than after. And you do need to cut them off to reduce the bulk in the corners. And two, the guidelines in the centre help you cut the half triangles for the edges of each row, with the correct seam allowance.

Once I had a pile of triangles cut I sat down and sewed. Working on two rows at a time, I sewed one triangle to the next. For the first rows I kept sewing until I thought I was long enough to cover my bed, checked and rechecked that measurement, then finished each row with a half triangle. Once I had enough rows together I used my bed as design wall. Because it was inevitable to have some triangles line up from row to row I embraced that and moved things around for intentional diamonds.

Thank you so much for all the questions and compliments.

Now, as for those giant pencil crayons in the first photo on the post, wouldn't that be cool? Alas, they are just old posts of some sort.


elizabeth said...

These fabrics are beautiful! thanks for the tips with sewing with Voile. I also didn't know about piecing in general with sharps (totally makes sense!) so thanks for that tip as well!

Samantha said...

Thank you for the tips :-)

Linzee said...

Thanks, Cheryl, for the tips. Contemplating a voile top and the tip about using the walking foot is especially helpful. Also, I've just come into a stash of voile FQs and have been thinking about a quilt. Yours is definitely inspirational!

Sondra said...

Hello Cheryl, THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!! Your information is so appreciated. Love all of the details that you provided. Thanks for taking the time.
I wanted to share that Stash Fabrics sells 1/4 yards of fabric, including voiles. I did find 2 fat quarter bundles on Esty, in case anyone is looking.
Thanks again, best to you, always, Sondra

Sondra said...

Also, Hawthorne Threads has several voile fabrics on sale, in case anyone is looking!