DIY THURSDAY: SAMPLER BLOCK SHAWL

When working on a new collection, part of the design process involves creating fabric swatches in various colorways and patterns, and using an assortment of embellishment techniques. These “samples” help us quickly and sustainably choose the perfect finish for our garments.

I’ve written before about our Sample Block library and swatches as part of a sustainable design practice. Unfortunately, not all created swatches make their way into the final collection and library. Subtle changes might happen in the design process or a color dropped from the line altogether. However, these swatches are all beautiful in their own right. A stunning way to display them (rather than having them collect on my desk) is to incorporate these swatches into a Sampler Block Shawl, modeled after the Sample Block Quilt.

The 10” x 16” dimension is based on the size of the binders we use to store our fabric blocks. You can use any dimension of fabric block you’d prefer by cutting organic cotton jersey to your desired size.

SUPPLIES

Pattern paper
16 – 10” x 16” organic cotton jersey blocks
4 – 7” x 19 ½” organic cotton jersey blocks
Paisley stencil
Spirals stencil (available for free download)
June’s Spring stencil
Garment scissors
Embroidery scissors
Rotary cutter and cutting mat
18” transparent plastic ruler
Tailor’s chalk or disappearing ink fabric pen
Hand-sewing needle
Button Craft thread
All-purpose sewing thread
Pins

Finished Dimensions: Approximately 75” x 19 ½ “

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare Pattern

On your pattern paper, cut a 10” x 16” rectangle. Draw a line parallel to the 10” side, and label this line “Grain Line” and the rectangle itself “Block 1”. Cut another rectangle 7” x 19”. Draw a line parallel to the 7” side, and label this line “Grain Line” and the rectangle itself “Block 2”.

2. Prepare Stencils

We have various ways of preparing our stencils. You may purchase the laser cut 10 mm mylar Paisley or June’s Spring stencils from our website. Alternately, you may download the Paisley, June’s Spring, and Spirals stencils for free from our website, and prepare the stencils as shown on page 13 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. These stencil patterns are also available in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design to photocopy and then prepare as shown on page 13 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

3. Cut Out Pattern Pieces

Place the block pattern piece on top of the single layer of cotton jersey that you’ve laid flat, making sure that the pattern’s marked grain line and the fabric’s grain line run in the same direction. With tailor’s chalk, carefully trace around the pattern’s edges, remove the pattern, and cut out the block, cutting just inside the chalked line to remove all the chalk. Repeat this step on the remaining yardage to get sixteen blocks. Cut four rectangles 7” x 19 ½”, making sure that the pattern’s marked grain line and the fabric’s grain line run in the same direction.

4. Stencil Design on Quilt Top

Using the Paisley, Spiral, and June’s Spring stencils and your stencil-transfer method of choice, transfer each stencil design to your blocks.  Before stenciling each piece, make sure that the right side of the fabric block faces up.

5. Embellish and Construct Blocks

Using the chart above as a guide for your treatment of each block, embellish and construct each one. You’ll find instructions for negative reverse appliqué on page 99 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, for reverse appliqué on page 95 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, for backstitched reverse appliqué page 97 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, and for spirals on page 83 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

6. Sew Blocks Together

Start by laying out the first horizontal row of blocks and pin the edges of each pair of blocks, with wrong side together. You’ll be seaming the blocks together with what we call floating seams on the right side, meaning your seam allowances will be visible on the outside of the shawl (see page 45 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design). Thread your needle, “love” your thread, knot off (page 21 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design), and seam the individual blocks together with a straight stitch (page 23 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design), wrap-stitching the beginning and end of each seam. Pin and seam together the second horizontal row of blocks, and then pin and seam the two rows together.

Pin the 7” x 19½ ” (double layer) to each end of the constructed shawl edge. Using a floating seam on the right side, join the pieces using a straight stitch, and wrap-stitching the beginning and end of the seam. Leave ends unfinished.

Our design choices for each block are as follows (starting at the top left and working across the horizontal row):

#1

Fabric color top layer – White
Fabric color backing layer – Doeskin
Stencil – Paisley
Treatment – Negative reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Wood
Thread — Dogwood
Knots – Inside

#2

Fabric color top layer – Doeskin
Fabric color backing layer – Ochre
Stencil – June’s Spring
Treatment – Reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Wood
Thread — Dogwood
Knots – Inside

#3

Fabric color top layer – White
Fabric color backing layer – Ochre
Stencil – Paisley
Treatment – Negative reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Wood
Thread — Dogwood
Knots – Inside

#4

Fabric color top layer – Ochre
Fabric color backing layer – Doeskin
Stencil – Paisley
Treatment – Negative reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Wood
Thread — Dogwood
Knots – Inside

#5

Fabric color top layer – Ochre
Fabric color backing layer – Doeskin
Stencil – Paisley
Treatment – Backstitch reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Wood
Embroidery floss — White
Knots – Inside

#6

Fabric color top layer – White
Fabric color backing layer – Doeskin
Stencil – Paisley
Treatment – Reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Wood
Thread — White
Knots – Inside

#7

Fabric color top layer – Sand
Fabric color backing layer – Sand
Stencil – Spirals
Treatment – Spirals
Textile paint – Wood
Thread — Dogwood
Knots – Outside

#8
Fabric color top layer – Camel
Fabric color backing layer – Camel
Stencil – Paisley
Treatment – Reverse Applique
Textile paint – Wood
Thread — Dogwood
Knots – Inside

The four 7” x 19 ½” blocks are in fabric color Ochre.

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7 thoughts on “DIY THURSDAY: SAMPLER BLOCK SHAWL

  1. Elizabeth Ernsell

    Beautiful. I am a new fan. So inspired by your business practices and your creativity. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

    Reply

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