|A Strip of the Month Project
Please read all the information below BEFORE starting your Seminole Sampler.
Seminole patchwork is the only patchwork created for the sewing machine. In
the 1880's the hand-cranked sewing machine was introduced to the Seminole Indians
of Florida and a new style of quilting was born. Today many of our so-called "new"
shortcuts are based on this technique. If you have strip pieced any of your patterns
such as the nine-patch or bargello, you have used a variation of Seminole patchwork.
This sampler uses 3 colors. It can be made with hand dyed gradations or variations
in hue or a light, medium and dark variation of a single color. You could also use
bright colors such as red, white and blue, or primary colors. It's your sampler and
For the first month we will post this information booklet plus a photo of
the completed project and instructions for the first strip. On or about the first
of each month thereafter we will post a pattern for the strip for that month
along with a cutting chart and illustrated directions. On or about the 15th of the
month we will post instructions for a bonus pattern that will show you various
ways to use any unused strips. You will want to refer to this page for reference.
Months 1 through 11 are for Seminole strips and Month 12 shows you how to finish
putting your strips together and how to finish the wall hanging with borders,
binding and more.
Along the way you will also receive ideas for experimenting with values and color.
Some Basic Instructions:
Cutting Tips: Because these designs are all sewn from strips of fabric,
it is very important that your strips be cut absolutely straight with no curve
in the center.
To do this you will need to straighten your fabric. Fold your fabric with the
selvedges together and the raw edges fairly even. Hold it by the selvedge edges so
that it is suspended in space. If you see a bulge or ripple along the fold, the
threads are not straight. With your fingers, slide one of the selvedges from side
to side until the ripple or bubble along the fold is gone. The raw side edges will
probably no longer be even. Lay the fabric on your cutting board, selvedges away
from you, and bring the folded edge up to the selvedges, laying the fold even with
the selvedges and sliding the fold from side to side until the fabric is straight
Lay your ruler on the right edge of the fabric (the left edges if you are
left-handed), with a ruler line along the bottom fold of the fabric. Cut the raw
edge straight. Turn the straightened edges to the left side of the fabric (the right
edges if you are left-handed) and begin to cut your strips. Every several strips
it is a good idea to line the ruler with the bottom fold of the fabric to be sure
that it remains straight. Now you will be able to cut strips with no bulge in the
center. Sometimes it is easier to turn the mat rather than the fabric.
Be sure to check your ruler. After time, a small amount of plastic is shaved
off your ruler as you use your rotary cutter. To check this, place the 1/4" mark
of your ruler along a line of graph paper. You will be able to see just how straight
(or crooked) the edge of your ruler is. If it is really out of whack, it's time to
invest in a new ruler.
Thread: Since you will be working with several fabric colors the color
of thread can be a consideration. Try a neutral such as light gray, beige, off
white and so on. With one of the neutrals, the stitches will not show and it will
blend with most fabrics. A slightly darker thread, if it shows at all, will look
like a shadow in the seam.
Stitching: You will want to use a shorter than normal stitch since you
will be cutting and resewing the pieces. If you use a stitch that is too long, the
stitches will start to pull out before you have crossed them with another line of
Pressing: As much as possible, press from the right sides of the fabric.
This will help to eliminate any puckers along the seam lines. Most of the strips
are easy to press and you will usually press all the seams in one direction.
Sometimes the seams just want to go their own merry way. Let them. This is especially
true on the slanted strips. If you are having a hard time pressing in one direction,
just press the strip flat and let the seams fall where they may. Use a dry iron. You
are pressing a lot of bias edges and you do not want to stretch them. For the final
pressing of each strip with its bridging strips on them, you may want to use steam
but be careful not to stretch the edges. Just follow the easy instructions in each
lesson to learn how to complete your Seminole Sampler in twelve easy steps.
Now that you have the basics, let's get on with the interesting stuff - what you
need and how to get ready.
You will want to purchase all your fabric at one time so that if your fabric
is discontinued or out of stock, you will have the fabric in hand. If you want
to do some experimenting with color and value, you will need to purchase extra
fabric. I always suggest adding extra fabric so that you can change the placement
of the colors if you do not like them the way they look.
You may want to prewash your fabrics. This is a personal choice but if you
wash one, wash them all, otherwise they may shrink at different rates when washed
or one may bleed.
Light 2 Yards
Medium 1-1/2 Yards
Dark 1-1/2 Yards
Backing 1-1/4 Yards
Batting 1-1/4 Yards
You will also need the following:
A Rotary cutter, mat and ruler. (I use Quilting Creations Ruler 812)
A Sewing machine with a new needle. You only need a straight stitch machine.
Optional: ¼" foot for your machine
Thread to coordinate with your fabric.
Pins, Safety for quilting and straight for lining up seams.
©1999-2003 Barbara M. Siedlecki
Cabin Fever Crafts
272 Shelter Valley Dr., Kalispell, MT