Sew What? with Karen Charles: Fun with Free Motion!

Posted by Karen Charles

August is speeding by, and before we know it, September will be here. If you are anything like me, you’ve been busy with summer activities but dreaming of the sewing project you’ll start just as soon as the weather cools and the days get shorter.
This free motion leaf bowl is a great project to improve your free motion/thread painting skills and dress up your fall table! 

MATERIALS
Inspira® Fusible Fleece batting 1 package   Cut into 8½” x 11” pieces
Electric Quilt Printables       6 sheets  8½” x 11”
Leaf colored Batik fabrics   6  pieces   8½ “ x 11”
6 large maple leaves or pictures of maple leaves

TOOLS   
HUSQVARNA VIKING® Sewing Machine with free motion foot
Open Toe Free Motion Spring Action Foot  # 413037646
Tsukineko or Spectrum Noir fabric markers   (optional)
Extension table for your machine
Ink jet printer

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BASIC SUPPLIES
Robison-Anton 40 wt. rayon embroidery thread & metallic thread
Iron and pressing surface
Water soluble pen

DIRECTIONS
STEP 1  
Place EQ Printable fabric sheets in printer, following instructions on the package.  Lay a maple leaf on the printer bed. Touch the Copy on your printer, enlarging if necessary.  Repeat the process using different color leaves.  If you downloaded a maple leaf image, print from your computer.
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TIP  If you use leaf pictures from your computer, select Fit to page in the print options to so they fill the page.  I like to make them as large as I can but you can make them any size you like.
 
STEP 2
Let dry for 15 minutes. Peel off plastic backing.  Soak in room temperature water for a few minutes.  Lay flat to dry or use the iron to dry to speed the process along.

STEP 3   
Make a quilt sandwich using one printed leaf fabric on top, 1 piece of fusible fleece and one piece of batik that is similar in color of the leaf, right side down. 
TIP Pressing the quilt sandwich with an iron helps fabrics cling to each other, doing away with the need for pins.
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STEP 4   
Thread your machine with rayon thread top and bobbin, attach the free motion foot, and set your machine for free motion quilting.  Refer to your sewing machine owner’s manual for exact set up. Start stitching around the outer edge of the leaf through all the layers to hold everything in place, and then stitch the rest of the leaf.  Rethread with different colors to add dimension, especially for the veins of the leaf. 

STEP 5    
Cut the fabric away from the edge of the leaf so only the shape of the leaf remains.
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Continue filling the leaf with stitching until every area is filled. 

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Step 6 
If you color the exposed edges of the leaf with Tsukineko or Spectrum Noir fabric markers you will need less stitching on the edge.  To stitch the edge of the leaf, use a side to side motion or select a 4mm zig zag stitch and move the leaf forward and back as you ad stitches to cover the raw edge.  
TIP: You may notice as you add stitching that the “under” side of the leaf becomes your favorite side. Make sure to keep that in mind as you move onto the next steps!

Repeat the process for the other 5 leaves. At this point I was really tempted to make a table runner because they all looked so pretty together. It is so much fun that you won't want to stop, so make plenty and do both!

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Step 8  
To make the bowl, arrange the 5 leaves in a circle so they overlap and the colors are pleasing to you.  The last leaf will be for the bottom of the bowl.  When you have decided on the layout, take the first two leaves and pin them together so they can’t shift.  Free-motion sew them together where they overlap, just enough to keep them together.  Add a third, a forth and a fifth leaf to form a circle.  Place the last leaf in the base of the bowl or underneath to cover any open areas.  Stitch in place.  Cut any stems that are not needed or sew them into place. To make a bigger bowl just add more leaves.

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TIP  If you are more comfortable you can switch from free motion to regular sewing to attach the leaves together.  Change your foot to the B foot, and sew along the edge of the leave you are attaching.

Step 9  
To add dimension to the edges of the bowl, press the edges of the leaves with the iron, rolling the edge.  The bowl is washable and reversible.   It makes a great bread bowl for the Thanksgiving table but you can use the technique for so much more.  What about a sunflower bowl for a farmhouse table, a gerbera daisy catchall for the entryway to hold your keys when you get home or a longer, oval-shaped poppy bowl to hold hand towels in the bathroom!  I would love to love to see the creative ways you use this technique – Post some pictures to inspire us all!

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Comments
Karen Charles
So glad you enjoyed the project!


Susan; I keep hoping a store will invite me to do some events in your area! It is on my wish list!

Happy Quilting!
8/23/2016 12:58:01 PM

Susan Lamoureux
Thanks, Karen, for another exciting and different idea, complete with detailed instructions. As I was reading the article, I was thinking "how can I make this Alaskan....very few maple trees here....birch leaves may work, but then your idea for poppies is perfect! Can't wait to make this!
8/20/2016 8:31:50 AM

Nancy Herman
that is very nice.
8/19/2016 7:46:14 PM

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