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Find Out How Easy Seminole Can Be!!
By Mary Asper, Green Mountain Designs

 

I  would like to share with you little Seminole pieced band project that you could use to decorate a shirt, a jumper or as a border for a little quilt.

This is an adaptation of the more complex Seminole technique you have seen in books.  It applies the concept of offset, on point strips without including the little intricate work!  If you gain confidence with this little project, perhaps you would like to move on and try some *real* seminole!

To Start:    Select 5 coordinating fabrics.  Have available 1/3 to 1/2 yard of one of the fabrics and 1/4 to 1/3 yard of the remaining fabrics.

A Few Ideas
* homespun plaids or soft, cozy flannel will give you a homey country look
* a mixture of soft floral prints will produce a watercolor look
* batiks make a great combination of color and movement

If you want a very narrow band, cut each fabric into 1" strips (tiny when pieced together), 1 1/2" strips make a medium width band, and 2" strips make a band that is somewhere close to 7" wide.  I would use a tiny band for a shirt or a miniature quilt, a medium band for the border of a wall quilt, and the wide band for a dress,  jumper border,  or larger quilt border.

Complete instructions and illustrations for this project are in my simple Seminole pattern, which is pictured on the web site:

1.    Prepare the fabric by pre-washing if that is your preference.  Personally, I do not pre-wash unless I am using fabrics that may have unstable dyes, like the batiks or African fabrics.  If you are concerned about colorfastness, rinse each fabric in warm water with a piece of muslin or light fabric.  If the muslin picks up color from the other fabric you should treat with a product like Retayne.

2.    Straighten the grain of the fabric by ripping a strip from one short end; across the grain of the fabric.  Re-align the salvages and re-press the fold if necessary.

3.    Make a color chart by stapling or pinning a small swatch of each fabric to an index card.  Number the fabrics in the order that you will use them in your patchwork.

4.    Cut strips for the patchwork using a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat.  Use the lines on the ruler lined up with the raw edge of the fabric to achieve accurate cuts.  Cut 4 strips of fabric #1 and 2 strips each of fabrics #2,3,4,&5.

Making the Patchwork:

1.    Place the first strip (fabric #1) and the second strip (fabric #2) right sides together (RST) and stitch, using an accurate 1/4" seam allowance the length of the strip.

2.    Add the next strip (fabric #3) by placing RST with fabric #2 and stitching the length of the strip.

3.    Continue in this manner until you have sewn all the strips together.  Make 2 sets in this order: Fabric #'s 1,2,3,4,5,1.

4.    Press all seams in one direction. Press from the back first, using your fingers underneath to make sure you're not pressing any "pleats" into the front side.  Then press from the front.  Set the iron on the "cotton" setting with just a little steam.

5.    Cut the strip sets apart into units that are the same measurement as you originally cut the strips: e.g. if you cut the strips 1 1/2 inches, cut into units that are 1 1/2 inches tall.

6.    Assemble these units into patchwork by offsetting each unit (strip set) by one square.  For instance, the fabric #1 square at the top of the second strip set, matches up to the fabric #2 square on the first strip set, and so on as you sew each strip set unit to the previous one.   At each seam intersection, make sure one seam allowance is UP and one is DOWN.   All seam allowances should go the same way on one unit.

7.    When patchwork is complete, mark a line 1/4" from the top of the fabric #2 points on the top and the bottom of the band.   Cut away the fabric #1 extra *V's* to make a straight edge band,

Now the band can be applied - CAREFULLY, because it's on the bias - to whatever project you have decided to use it for!  You can finish the edge of the band by applying flat or bias binding; by covering with a trim such as ribbon or by carefully turning under 1/4: and top stitching.  Of course, if you are setting it in as a border, this work is done for you!  Just do be careful as the band is on the bias and WILL stretch!

I hope all this is clear enough!  It's hard to convey the idea without illustrations!


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