Saturday, September 16, 2017

Block Lottery for October 2017 - Selvage Spiderweb Block



Hi all! It's Wendi with the October 2017 block lottery block.

When I volunteered to do this block last winter, I knew that I wanted to do something to motivate me to use the selvages I have been hoarding saving for the last 5 years or more.  Sometime in the spring I hit upon a genius idea - use the selvages in spiderweb blocks for Halloween!

There are a couple of special considerations to be aware of when we use selvages, though, and I'll get to those in a minute.

Prepare Your Template

We are starting with a tutorial by Em at Sewing by Moonlight.  In her tutorial she shows how to make your own template for the kite portion of the block, as well as the trimming template for each quarter of the block, but even better, she has provided a template you can just print out!  So convenient!  Thanks, Em.  So head to her blog and print out the template.  Maybe even leave her a comment to say "thank you" from ECMQG.

Print out your template, cut it out, and tape the two pieces of the pattern together.

Before you start sewing, I suggest that you read the portion of her tutorial that begins "Constructing the Block" because most of that information will not be repeated here.

Now that you have your template, cut four kites from your background fabric.  For this project, we are using dark neutral prints, so basically any shade of gray or black will work.  NO solids please!

EDIT/UPDATE:  At the September meeting, the members voted to have all four kites in a block be the same fabric.  Kite fabric can be any dark neutral in shades of gray or black.  And, just to be clear, members agreed that FOUR kite/string units make ONE block.  Each block entered requires a $1.00 donation.

Now, grab the selvages you have been saving and we'll get started.  Your selvages should be between 1 inch and 1.5 inches wide.  They do not all have to be the same width - variation is good.

What You Need to Know About Selvages


Let's talk about selvages...  Note that the selvage string has two sides.  The selvage in woven fabric runs down the lengthwise edge of a bolt of fabric.  It is created by the weft (crosswise) threads looping back around the last of the warp (or longitudinal) threads to enclose the threads and create an edge that will not ravel. Because the method of selvage sewing we are using does not have an enclosed seam, it is important to identify the selvage edge before you start sewing so your block will not fray or ravel.

We will call the outside or enclosed edge the selvage edge, shown on the BOTTOM in the above photo.  It may be entirely woven in or have some "fluff" on the outside.   One selvage may have printing on it, while the selvage from the other edge likely will not.  It is OK to use both sides.  The printing gives your block interest while the selvage from the other side adds color.

The other side (inside) of your selvage strip is the cut side, shown on the TOP of the above photo.  It is the side you cut with your rotary cutter when you removed the selvage from the rest of the piece of cloth.  This side is woven and definitely will fray unless it is contained within a seam.  We will call this side the cut edge.

Making the Kite/String Unit

In her tutorial, Em says to begin by sewing your strip to one of the long edges of the kite piece.  We will do this also, but we will overlap the cut edge of the kite with the selvage edge of the selvage strip about a quarter inch.  Or, to say it a different way, lay the selvage edge of the strip on top of one of the long edges of the kite and overlap about 1/4 inch.  Sew right along the edge of the selvage edge being careful to sew through both layers of fabric. This will enclose the raw edge of the kite in a seam to prevent it from fraying.

Trim your selvage piece just a little longer than the length of the kite edge.

Now grab another selvage piece and overlap the selvage edge of the new strip over the cut edge of the previous selvage strip about 1/4-inch.  Stitch it down close to the selvage edge .

Trim this piece slightly shorter than the first selvage piece.

Continue adding selvage strips on top of the previous selvage strip until you have at least 6-1/2" of strips added to the kite.  NOTE:  I found that it was easiest to use the template to determine if I had sufficient strips, rather than my ruler.  Just match up the 90-degree angle of the template with the corner of the kite and check to see if your strip set is long enough.


Repeat the process for the other long edge of the kite.

Press your block.

Using your trimming template, match the 90-degree angle of the kite with the 90-degree angle of the template.

To prevent trimming off the edges of your paper template, lay your ruler along the edge, matching up the 1/4" mark on the template with the 1/4" line on your ruler; trim.  This way, each of your four kite/string units will be the perfect size.

Trim the other edges in the same manner.


You have now created a quarter of your spiderweb block.  FOUR of these make one block.

Repeat three more times to make a whole spiderweb block.  Your completed block should measure 12.5" square.

Now, sit back and admire your beautiful block!


As always, if you have any questions, give me a shout!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Wendi, you make this look so easy! Hope I get to try it!

    ReplyDelete