Caught on Tape!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 2 Comments »
Sept. 22, 2009

I'm going to share a tip here that I picked up at a class this weekend. The class was taught by George and Virginia Siciliano. For those of you who are not familiar with this dynamic duo from Lebanon, PA, go check out their website.

They team teach their classes, providing an information-filled, very entertaining day of doing one of George's unique patterns. This particular class did Birds of Paradise, a pattern also available on their website. If you ever have an opportunity to take one of their sessions, please do yourself a favor and sign up for it; you will not be sorry! You will have a great time, and feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you see what you are able to create. The Sicilianos are also available for guild meetings -- check out their site for details. By the way, Virginia's area of expertise (other than keeping George in line) is hand quilting. Her work is so fine and so exact, you would swear on your featherweight that it was done by machine. She is a indeed a master.

George told the class that he always had trouble making an exact match at critical seam joins. No matter what he tried -- pins, double pins, even a stapler(!) -- the fabric would always shift ever so slightly. Sometimes he guessed correctly & was able to compensate for the shift when he pinned, but that was hit and miss. Then he came up with the idea of using double-sided Scotch brand tape. The kind marked "permanent", not the kind marked "repositionable". First, he takes a couple of stitches at each seam on the edge of the block so that the seams won't separate when he starts to sew the blocks together. Next, he matches his joins using the old pin-through-the-seam/point method, holds it tight from the 1/4" side, lifts the fabric up from underneath, then puts a piece of tape on the fabric just beneath the join but below the stitching line. Then he squeezes the taped portions firmly to make sure they're good and stuck, checking the join from the top to insure it's spot on. Voila! No more shifting!

Virginia uses tons of the tape herself to help with pattern matching on borders and to ensure perfect miters. Together they use so much of the tape that they buy it in bulk at places like Sam's club. The tape is reusable a number of times; George just sticks the used pieces on the top of his machine where they are at the ready to use for the next block, kind of like you would do with pins in a pin cushion. In case you are wondering, the tape has no adverse effect on the fabric whatsoever.

The class that I took with the Sicilianos was wonderful. I had never done foundation piecing before, so I learned a new skill in addition to meeting two gifted teachers/artisans. But even with a not-so-great class, sometimes all it takes to make that class worthwhile is one great tip you can take away. This tape thing is going to make matching geese and other types of seams a breeze for me. Kudos to George (and Virginia) for coming up with it! Feel free to share, but make sure you give George credit -- I wouldn't want an ex-Marine coming after me.

Love and pieces, Pat


Patchwork Penguin said...

Oh I love George and Virginia to pieces!!! I've even had the pleasure of giving him a kiss LOL

They are such wonderful people.... have visited our guild twice. I hope you had a great time learning from them.... aren't his little, tiny, teeny pieces amazing??

PattiCakes said...

They were nothing short of awesome. I can't remember the name of the pattern that we worked on, but it was one of 4 triangles that will eventually be a 9" square. The single triangle had 30 separate pieces in it. And those pieces were huge compared to some of the pieces in his off the hook quilts. Virginia's hand quilting is just stunning. I really did not want that class to end.