The desperate Housewife’s Quilt – Block 13 Umbrella

Welcome to week 13 of the ‘The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt’. Todays block is all about English Paper Piecing of irregular shapes.  Remember, this is not a quilt-a-long. Just follow the blog every week and pick and choose which blocks you would like to make. I will be injecting some uniqueness into traditional blocks, applique, three dimensional, crazy and thread-art blocks. If you make a block you can post it on the Flickr group for everyone to enjoy. Also, I have this nifty button under each post that allows you to save the post as a PDF.
Be sure to visit this week’s Guest Blogger and their wonderful block.
My guest this week is Lynne from Lily’s Quilts. Lynne is presenting a very colourful block called, ‘Paint Chips’. 
Shelter from the rain. A sword from Peter Pan. A fashion accessory.
Techniques explored
  • English Paper Piecing EPP
  • Needle turned appliqué
  • 1 x 9″ square of back ground fabric
  • 4 x scraps of fabric no smaller than 5″ x 5″
  • Freezer paper
  • Perle Cotton
Preparing the Freezer Paper Templates
  • Print the template sheet from here. Remember not to ‘Fit to Page’, or Scale the page when printing. The freezer template will be cut out using the solid edge of the template as a guide. The 1/4″ seam allowance is omitted.
  • Trace the template on the rough side of the freezer paper and cut out.
  • Using a cool, dry iron, press the freezer paper templates (shiny side down) onto the fabric scraps and cut out leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.
The pieces are now ready to baste.
Basting the pieces

  • Fold the seam allowance over the freezer paper template. Start with a quilters knot and bring the thread up through the fabric and freezer paper ( All the layers )  and make long basting stitches 1/8″ from edge of shape. 

  • When you reach a corner mitre or fold the edge and make a small tacking stitch. Continue to end and then tie off.
  • In the picture below you can see I have left a tail at the sharpest point of the shape. This will be buried later when we do the hand turned appliqué.
Sewing the Shapes together
The beauty of EPP is that it is so flexible and any shape can be whipstitched to another with relative ease.
  • Place two pieces, right side together and start with a knot. Take a small bite from each of each pieces and make tiny stitches along the edge. Tie off on each section and continue until all pieces are added. 
  • Always use a 50wt or 60wt thread in a matching colour as it makes your stitches disappear.
  • If you secure a knot at the beginning and end of each section then if stitches break only a small section will have to be redone.
  • Use a between needle to facilitate small stitches.
The finished piece will look like this with a few tails hanging out.
  • Starch the piece well and press. 
  • Gently remove the tacking and freezer paper.
Finishing the block
  • From the 9″ background fabric, cut a 8.5″ square. Fold in four and finger press.
  • Place the ‘Umbrella’ piece on the background square using the centre fold to position the centre of the Umbrella. Position the top of the Umbrella approximately 1″ from the top. 
  • Press the freezer paper templates on the right side of the Umbrella as a guide and turn under any seams that may have moved outside the template.
  • Pin the Umbrella to the background block.
Hand Turned Applique
Hand turned appliqué is explained in the tutorial –  Flower Power block – Week 5 
The two end points of the Umbrella come to a fine point. Don’t worry about tuning them under, they will conveniently sit in the seam allowance.
  • Draw a handle using a very light pencil mark or removable marking pen. The shaft is 3.5″ in length and the crook handle is approximately 1″ wide and high.
  • Using back stitch and perle cotton, embroider the handle and place a few backstitches at the top of the umbrella to make a point.
I have embellished the umbrella further with colonial knots. If I had some tear shaped, flat buttons I would probably sew them on as raindrops. It is limited by your imagination.
On Point with Rotation
Tilted at 30 degrees and rotated.

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks block. Next week, I will be opening the venetian blinds.

*** Copyright 2011 Jane Davidson. Please remember that these blocks and any blocks designed by guest bloggers should not be used for commercial purposes ( sold as a pattern, published etc) without the written consent of the owner ***


    1. says

      I love this one, Jane! I hope it inspires people to try epp curves! I find it useful to lay the basted pieces right side down and mark a few points along the curve in the seam allowances to keep everything properly aligned as I stitch it up.

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