Monday, August 22, 2016

Starting the Skirt (Finally)

Skirt Cut Out, Ready to Sew
My mom came over a few days ago to help me overcome the inertia, procrastination, and confusion that has prevented me from making any progress on the OOP(Out of Print) New Look #6708 skirt that I started at the beginning of LAST summer.  Ahem. 

When I abandoned set this project aside back in July of 2015, I had purchased the fabric, lining and notions, and prewashed the fashion fabric and lining (both cotton voiles).  I had sewn up a muslin, which was good because I discovered that the size corresponding to my measurements on the back of the pattern envelope would be WAY too big (the muslin fell off and hit the floor; that's how big it was), and even more importantly, I realized that the fitted yoke at the top of this A-line skirt wasn't shaped at all like me through the tummy area.  I redrafted those pattern pieces until I got a fit I was happy with (basically size 14 at the top of the yoke transitioning to size 12 at the bottom edge of the yoke, but if you just grade from one size to the other you get a weird inverted V shape at the sides instead of a straight seam around your middle that you can attach the skirt to) and made sure that my new yoke pieces would fit at the seams that attach it to the skirt front and back.  And then life, and other projects, intervened...

So here we are, ready to cut out the skirt.  First consideration: I wasn't thinking about this when I picked out my fabric, but this bold, large scale floral print fabric is kind of like a plaid or stripe in that the pattern needs to be perfectly centered on the front and back of the skirt, and perfectly STRAIGHT on the front and back of the skirt, or I am not going to wear this skirt when it is finished.  And the voile is shifty stuff, folks -- the same qualities that make it soft and flowy for a skirt make it scoot all over on the cutting table, especially prone to stretching askew on the bias.  So I made full pattern pieces for the skirt front and back as well as for the yoke front and back, and cut out the skirt the way I would cut out drapery swags from a print fabric.  I centered a row of flowers on the center fold line of the pattern, and carefully shifted the fabric behind the pattern until the same pattern motifs were positioned in the same positions at the edges of the pattern all the way along the hem line and the right and left side seams. 

Skirt Front Cut Out with Pattern Centered
After I cut out the front from a single fabric layer, I used this cut-out fabric piece as my pattern to cut out the skirt back by laying that piece onto my fabric and adjusting the position of until the pattern was perfectly aligned and the top piece "disappeared."  This took a lot longer than just using the cutting layout in the pattern instructions, but it was the only way I could get my pattern centered and straight with this squirmy, wiggly voile.  So the pattern placement is identical on the front and back of the skirt.

Once all the pieces had been cut from the fashion fabric, cutting out the pieces from my solid navy blue cotton voile was a snap.  Since I had already had made a full pattern piece for the skirt front and back, I just cut the lining from a double layer of fabric.

Next dilemma: This pattern specifically suggests lightweight fabrics, sheers, and voiles like mine in the fabric suggestions.  However, the instructions tell you to put in a standard centered zipper through both layers with an ugly rectangle of stitching around the zipper opening that would look terrible from the right side of the finished garment.  Why, oh why, would anyone want to do that?!

Yucky Centered Zipper in Pattern Instructions
Can you imagine how awful that would look, stitched through two layers of semisheer cotton voile?  YUCK!

Inside View, with Exposed Zipper Tape
And if I followed the pattern instructions for the zipper, I would have exposed zipper tape scratching against my skin even though this is a lined garment.  This isn't how store-bought clothes are made, and this is a major pet peeve against the pattern companies.  Why do they give these cheesy instructions for making things that look dorky and homemade instead of writing instructions for professional looking garments that their customers can be proud of?  They are undermining their own customer base by deliberately making it difficult for beginners to achieve good results when following a pattern.  It's very frustrating to feel like only someone with years of experience, who knows which directions to follow and which ones to disregard, can sew a successful garment from a pattern.

So I looked through the RTW (ready-to-wear) skirts in my closet for something similar to what I'm trying to make.  Every single one of them has an invisible zipper at the side seam, and every one of them except one has got the invisible zipper sewn so that the zipper tape is completely enclosed between the fashion fabric and the lining for a clean, professional finish on the inside of the garment. 

Invisible Side Seam Zipper in RTW Skirt, Enclosed Between Lining and Fashion Fabric
That's what I'm going to attempt to do for my skirt.  My sewing technique books recommend leaving the rest of the seam open until after you have inserted an invisible zipper, so my mom wrote that in the pattern instructions for me, crossing out where they told me to sew the side seam below the notch and then noting later in the pattern instructions, after the zipper insertion, when it's time to close the side seam.

I'm a little nervous about the zipper for several reasons.  I've got my Threads magazine article from back issue #179 (June/July 2015) with tips for zipper insertion in tricky sheer fabrics like mine (I'll be stabilizing the seam allowances in the zipper area with strips of fusible interfacing and sewing with a layer of Sulky Solvy water-soluble stabilizer between the voile and the feed dogs of my machine to prevent puckering).  And I've got the fantastic Bernina invisible zipper foot that I've used successfully to sew invisible zippers in home dec pillows.  I'm just not sure whether changing the zipper application will affect anything at that top edge of the skirt, and I'm not 100% clear on how I am going to sew the lining to the zipper tape after I've sewn the zipper to the fashion fabric of the skirt, in order to get that clean finish of my RTW skirts.  But I think I just need to get started, because some of the instructions and illustrations in the pattern don't make sense to me.  With my caroling outfit, I found that some of those instructions make more sense when you have a partially sewn garment in front of you that you can match up to the illustration. 

On My Worktable
Anyway, everything is cut out now except I'm not sure whether I'll use the Pellon lightweight nonwoven interfacing that I already cut out (I think it's P44) or a lightweight woven fusible interfacing (Pellon Shape-Flex SF101) that is less stiff and drapes more like my voile fashion fabric.  I've got my machines threaded up and ready to go with new size 70 Microtex needles and cotton 50/3 Gutterman thread, so my next step is to test machine settings on fabric scraps in case I need to adjust tension, presser foot pressure or (on the serger) differential feed settings in order to get a nice stitch.  The RTW skirts in my closet have 3-thread overlocked seams, but I'll be sewing my seams on my sewing machine first and then using a narrow 2-thread overlock to finish the seam allowances.  That way if I mess something up along the way, I have a chance to rip out my machine stitches and fix it before the serger has trimmed away my seam allowances.  If I was more confident in my garment sewing and fitting abilities, I'd save time by just doing it all in one pass on the serger.  In fact, I have some other fabric stashed away that might work for this pattern.  If the voile skirt turns out to be a wearable success, I may make this up again in the stashed fabric, and I'll be able to serge the seams on the second skirt once I feel comfortable with how the whole thing goes together.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a TNT ("Tried and True") skirt pattern that I could just whip up in different fabrics with variations?  That's the goal, folks!

My kids go back to school a week from today, but historically my design business picks up steam in the Fall, so Back to School doesn't necessarily mean more free time for my sewing projects.  But it's all about finding that balance, right?  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.  Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yet Another New Project That Isn't A Skirt: Anders' Modern Building Blocks Quilt

Anders' Modern Building Blocks, 70" x 96", drafted in EQ7
Look, I made a new quilt on the computer last night! This one is going to be for my soon-to-be-thirteen-year-old son, Anders.

Anders' Froggy Quilt of Many Colors, a dizzyingly busy I Spy novelty print quilt completed in 2003 for his third birthday, has seen better days:


Anders' Froggy Quilt of Many Colors, 2003

How I struggled to get those flying geese with practically perfect points!

The Embroidered Quilt Label
Ten years later, that frog quilt is looking awfully childish, and it's also literally disintegrating.  He needs a new bed quilt sooner rather than later, so add that to my LONG list of things to do...  And I can't take three years to make this new quilt, because the current bed quilt won't last that long. 


...And Another Quilt, Loved Literally to Death!
I haven't made him a new one yet because he was VERY ATTACHED to this one and every time I brought up the idea of making a new quilt, he got upset and declared (LOUDLY!) that he wanted to keep his frog quilt FOREVER.  But now that his thirteenth birthday is coming up (in three days!), he finally has conceded that his room needs an update for his teen years and it's time for a new quilt.


So, remember that Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt that everyone was buzzing about two years ago?  I admired it when I first saw it, but didn't consider making one because I didn't know what I'd do with it, plus I was up to my eyeballs in so many other quilts-in-progress at the time.  As usual.


Original Moda Modern Building Blocks Quilt, 84" x 96" at Quilt Market in 2014

In case you haven't seen this quilt before, it was a wildly popular pattern that Moda put out to promote their fabrics, and you can still get that pattern here if you want to make an 84" x 96" quilt like theirs.  I liked this quilt when I first saw it, but it popped into my radar again recently because Greg over at Grey Dogwood Studio just posted photos of his finished version using Fig Tree fabrics with a few prints mixed in:





Isn't that gorgeous?  I love every quilt Greg makes, seriously.  The color palette of both versions of this quilt, the Moda original using all solids and the Fig Tree version with a few soft prints, is part of what makes it so interesting -- these aren't super bright primary colors, but they aren't quite pastels, either.  Anyway, this color palette isn't going to work for my son's room because he is adamant about keeping his dark green walls and the red-framed red-eyed tree frog painting that my mom made for him, and I am adamant about not changing the expensive hand printed Italian wallpaper in his bathroom (I know, what was I thinking, right?  It's an occupational hazard of being an interior designer.  I did have the paper sealed when it was installed, which is why is still looks great).


Anders' Bedroom in 2011, right after the bathroom wallpaper was installed
My idea for updating his room now that he's a teenager (as of this Saturday!) without changing it drastically is to paint over the juvenile wallpaper border and make it a wide navy blue stripe edged with narrower red stripes.  That, along with a new quilt in solid fabrics rather than novelty frog prints, should help the room "grow up" a little without Anders feeling like I totally changed everything.  So I had to alter the color palette of the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt, but I also had to resize it to fit a twin bed.  I like to make my kids' quilts an XL Twin size, 96" long, because that way they wrap under the foot of the bed more securely and don't end up on the floor every morning from the Midnight Boogie or whatever these squirmy sleepers are doing.  And then a fringe benefit was that Anders' XL Froggy Quilt was just the right size for the XL Twin dorm bed at Davidson where he stayed for the Duke TiP Summer Center program this June.

The original Moda design calls for blocks that are all multiples of 6": 6", 12", 18", 24", 30", and 36".  By resizing the blocks to multiples of 5" instead, I was able to use the same blocks in the same layout, but the width of the finished quilt is reduced to 70" instead of 84".  Perfect for my twin bed.  Of course, shrinking all the blocks reduced the length of the quilt as well, so I added 8" striped borders to the top and bottom of the quilt to get the 96" length that I wanted.  Since I was changing the colors and the block sizes, I decided to redraft the entire quilt in my EQ7 software.  Added bonus: I had to learn how to do a "Custom Set Layout" in order to do this.  Quite a few of the blocks in this quilt were already in the EQ7 block library or in the supplemental Block Base library.  For others, I was able to find a similar block and edit it to look like the one in the Moda quilt (more good software skills practice).  However, as I was getting near the end of the quilt, recoloring it with Kona Solids as I went along, I was starting to get kind of a Scandinavian/Germanic folk art vibe that I liked, so I deliberately swapped out two of the larger blocks for others that better supported that concept.


My EQ7 XL Twin Version of Modern Building Blocks, 70" x 96"
It did take me quite awhile to resize, recreate and recolor this quilt in EQ7, but it was time that was well spent.  For one thing, I had to get the colors the way I wanted them before I bought or cut any fabric, because a quilt like this is difficult to rearrange once the blocks are made if you discover there's too much black in one area or too much blue somewhere else.  The blocks fit together almost like a jigsaw puzzle.  Another reason that I went to all this trouble in EQ7 is that it is very likely that, by changing my blocks from multiples of 6" to multiples of 5", I might find that the patches I need to cut for my blocks are no longer "Ruler Friendly" for rotary cutting.  Now that I've created the project in EQ7, I can easily print any or all of the blocks as templates or as foundation paper piecing patterns.  I can also continue to play around with recoloring (still not 100% sure about that salmon pink color) and/or swapping out blocks, saving each version of the quilt so I can compare all of them, all before spending a dime on fabric.  EQ7 also generates yardage requirements automatically, which is a VERY handy feature.  I am SO glad my husband and kids bought me this software -- one of the best gifts ever!

I'm linking up with:

Let’s Bee Social at http://sewfreshquilts.blogspot.ca/

WOW WIP on Wednesday at www.estheraliu.blogspot.com

Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times www.patchworktimes.com


Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts http://www.cookingupquilts.com/


Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt http://lovelaughquilt.blogspot.com/


Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag: http://emsscrapbag.blogspot.com.au/

...And then, I'm going to get some work done, and THEN, I swear I'm going to cut out that SKIRT

Monday, August 8, 2016

Vintage Block QAL Block 3, Beggar Block

Vintage Block QAL No. 3, "Beggar Block"
Oh, fine -- so I didn't make a start on my skirt like I wanted to.  The day got away from me; by the time I finished all the work that HAD to get done, it was late afternoon.  Only enough time and energy to throw together another quick and easy block before dinner time.

Charise's Beggar Block, from Charise Creates here

This is the third block in Charise's Vintage Block Quilt Along, "Beggar Block," and Charise found the block in a circa 1929 Kansas City Star.  You can find Charise's tutorial and pattern for a 12" block here, but my block finishes at 6" so I can mix it in with my sampler blocks from other sources.  I love Charise's sweet vintage-inspired fabrics and her fussy-cut typographical fabrics, but I felt like playing with brighter, bolder colors for this block.  The small size of the fabric patches made them perfect for that 2014 Kaffe Fassett Collection jelly roll that has been languishing off to the side in my studio for awhile now.  The black center square with multicolored dots is a scrap from the second quilt I ever made, and the blue and green Kaffe Fassett prints are also in my pineapple log cabin quilt.  I kind of like it when every quilt is connected to other quilts.

What I MEANT to do -- the other orange goes in the top right corner
I'm not sure I love how this block came out, though.  To be honest, I had it laid out differently but when I pieced the rows together, somehow the center row came out upside down so I ended up with two orange "bows" together and two blue "bows" together.  I didn't realize this until AFTER I had starched and pressed the finished block, unplugged the iron, and turned off the sewing machines.

See? Center row is flipped, so two oranges adjacent
Whatever.  At the moment I don't feel like taking it apart, and so it stays.  Here is the wall full of completed 6" sampler blocks:

Assorted 6" Sampler Blocks
Perhaps tomorrow will be the day I get started on that skirt...

Taking It Easy: Farmer's Wife Block 39, "Friendship" and That Skirt Again

Well, that Prudence block was a bruiser, so I decided to take it easy yesterday.  I flipped through my Farmer's Wife book looking for a block that would come together quickly and painlessly, and came up with Block 39, "Friendship."

Farmer's Wife Block 39, Friendship
The most difficult part was picking out the fabrics.  So now my collection of 6" sampler blocks looks like this:

6" Sampler Blocks as of 8/8/16
But I'm not making another block today.  It's Monday and I do have some work to get done and then, instead of starting a new quilt block, I'm resolving to clean up enough work space to finally cut out that skirt.  You know, the one I barely started in June of 2015.  Ugh.  Procrastination, anyone?!!

The Fabric: Pretty Potent Echinachea in Preppy, Cotton Voile by Anna Maria Horner for Westminster Fabrics

The Pattern: New Look 6708 (OOP)
After spending about $78 on the pattern, fabric, lining, interfacing, thread, and notions, and fretting about the waistband yoke thingy that was weirdly shaped (or else I'M weirdly shaped!), I ran out of steam AFTER redrafting the waistband to fit me in muslin, but BEFORE cutting out the skirt from the real fabric.  I set the project aside almost exactly a year ago, the week before Anders' 12th birthday (he turns 13 this Saturday) and then got caught up with back-to-school, and then it was Fall and this was a Summer skirt...

It is SO NICE to be able to come back to this blog and use the search feature and key word tags to refresh my memory about where I was with the skirt project and what my game plan was.  Before I had a blog I would have jotted down notes on scrap paper or Post-It notes, and they would be long gone by the time I came back to the project; I'd have to start all over from square one.

Ah, well -- I had planned for this to be a short and sweet post this morning.  Whatever.  I'm linking up with:

·       Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times www.patchworktimes.com
·       Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts http://www.cookingupquilts.com/
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt http://lovelaughquilt.blogspot.com/
·       Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag: http://emsscrapbag.blogspot.com.au/
Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

VICTORY! FW1930s Block 88 "Prudence," Second-Try Success

FW1930s Block 88, Prudence
Second time's the charm!  I am SO glad to be finished with the Pernicious Prudence block.  I set my first awful attempt aside, the one I was trying to save with EPP, and started over on this block.  I found several tutorials online from other quilters who had simplified the block construction by adding seams in various places, but I really wanted to challenge myself to make the block exactly as it appears in he book. 

This time around, I precut ALL of my shapes using the templates printed off the CD, but with seam allowances enlarged to 3/8".  I was more careful with my FPP to be sure that my fabric pieces completely covered the foundation papers, and one thing that made a huge difference was that this time I did not sew through any of the seam allowances of any of the angled or Y-seams.  I marked my foundations with a little red "X" to remind myself where I had to start right on the seam intersection, and backstitched those seams.  That made it MUCH easier to precisely align the raw fabric edges on the wonky crooked seam lines, because each seam allowance became a little "hinge" where I could pivot the fabric. 

I also was more careful in trimming the seam allowances of each completed foundation paper segment this time.  I always trim the block segments with my ruler and rotary cutter, laying the 1/4" ruler line right on top of the seam line on the foundation pattern, and then slicing next to the ruler edge rather than trimming the segments to size by cutting along the dotted line with a scissor.  Well, this is not an easy feat when you have pieces with inside angles like with this Prudence block.  In my first attempt, I just cut those inside corners on the dotted line.  But on my second, more successful go, I opened the loose seam allowances up at those corners and cut the fabric straight at the overlaps so the raw edges at the crucial intersections would be straight and flush.  I should have taken a picture to explain this better, but my phone was playing music from the stereo in the other room...  So, no pictures from those stages.

Lots of Seams Pressed Open in Prudence Block
I pressed the center seams open on the center octagon as well as the side triangles to reduce bulk: 

Center Seam on Side Triangle Sections Pressed Open to Reduce Bulk Around Octagon
Everything comes along nicely in this block right up until this point, when you realize that you have to sew the big corner sections to the center thingy that is shaped like a vintage Christmas ornament: 

Prudence's Point of No Return
Yikes, right?!  But this time, it wasn't that bad.  Tedious and time-consuming, but actually POSSIBLE.  I stitched one side to the center completely by machine, one little straight edge at a time, pinning and backstitching and clipping, then pivoting, pinning, backstitching, and clipping again.  On the second side, I decided it would be faster AND more accurate to stitch the seams around the octagon by hand, so that's what I did. 

Hand Stitching Around Octagon for Greater Control
I just drew my 1/4" seamline in chalk from the start of one seam to the beginning of the next, and backstitched along the chalk line.  It's easier to keep your seam allowances out of the way when stitching by hand than when you have to flatten everything and fold the rest of the block out of the way so you can stitch these itty bitty angled seams by machine.  Once I had the seam around the octagon completely stitched all the way around, it wasn't a big deal to machine stitch the rest of that seam alongside the skinny red triangles and then closing the green corners of the block.

So Prudence is done.  She's not perfect, but she's pretty accurate considering what a pain the in the arse she was.  And best of all, she measures precisely 6 1/2".  I'm calling it a win.

Prudence Finished at 6 1/2" Square
I did the foundation paper piecing of this block on my Bernina 750QE with 9 mm Patchwork foot 97D, because I love the bright lights and auto knotting features for sewing right down those FPP lines and it's so easy to center the stitching line between the narrow open toe area on that foot.  Then, after trimming the completed FPP sections and removing the papers, I finished piecing the blocks on my 1934 Featherweight with my vintage Singer Cloth Guide screwed into the machine bed at 1/4" from the needle and the original multipurpose foot that came on that machine.  I really prefer my Featherweight for Y-seams because the computerized Bernina sometimes takes an unpredictable extra stitch in the wrong direction when I press the reverse button.  The all-mechanical Featherweight immediately changes direction when I flip the lever up or down, so every stitch is controlled as precisely as if I was stitching by hand.  I also love the narrow feed dogs of the Featherweight for piecing.  It took some measuring and fiddling to get that seam guide attached at exactly the right distance from the needle, so I just leave it on the machine.  That's the other reason I'm doing the FPP part on my Bernina, so I don't have to remove the seam guide from my Featherweight.

Here's my collection of 6" sampler blocks so far, from The Farmer's Wife, Farmer's Wife 1930s, and Charise's Vintage Block Quilt Along:

Completed 6" Sampler Blocks
I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and then I'm headed out for a belated birthday girls' night in celebration of my good friend and theatre sister (yes, that's a Thing).  Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Farmer's Wife 1930s FAIL: Block 88, Pernicious Prudence

Great Expectations: FW1930s Block 88 "Prudence" Precut and Ready to Piece
Well, not every post can feature a smashing success.  Farmer's Wife 1930s Block 88 "Prudence" is an evil beast, and I think I'm going to have to trash this attempt and start over.  I hope I have enough of that green and blue floral fabric, because I really love how these three fabrics play together for this block.

I attempted to piece this block using the foundation paper piecing pattern on the CD that came with the Farmer's Wife 1930s book.  As you see in the photo above, there are a LOT of little fabric patches to piece to the foundation papers, which is time consuming but not a big deal.  The trouble came when I was ready to attach those segments together to complete the block, and it's two seams that each have EIGHT angles to contend with -- the beast of all Y seams.  It's not a Y-seam, or even a W-seam; it's a zigzag seam. 

To make matters worse, I made a bad decision when I was piecing those skinny outer triangles.  I realized after stitching two of them to the foundation paper that the red rectangular scraps I'd selected out of thrift were slightly too small, leaving a less-than-full seam allowance on the wide end of the triangle.  I decided that this would be okay and I would just make the adjustment when I sewed it to the next unit, not realizing that the skimpy seam allowance right where the triangle bottom adjoined the pieced octagon in the center would make it IMPOSSIBLE for me to align my pieces properly.  I tried, failed, carefully ripped out the stitches and weighed my options.

Wicked Final Block Seams
See what I mean?  And the red triangle piece has part of its seam allowance missing so I couldn't match up raw fabric edges at that crucial center of the octagon.  Once again, as usual, being too lazy to rip out and redo ONE seam resulted in MANY wasted hours, MANY wasted seams, and wasted fabric as well!

Ready to Attempt EPP (note wretched, ragged, skimpy red seam allowances in center)
Having nothing to lose, I decided to try an EPP (English Paper Piecing) experiment.  I printed the block diagram onto cardstock at actual size, and carefully cut it apart on the seam lines between my foundation segments.  Then I basted my pieced block segments onto the cardstock directly through every seam intersection that I had already pieced (see hot pink thread going across the middle of the segments in the photo above) to make sure that everything was perfectly aligned.  And then I wrapped the seam allowances around the edges of the cardstock templates, trying to eyeball as I went to keep a quarter inch seam allowance around the outside edges of the block.  Ugh.  If I had done the whole block EPP, or had known I was going to finish it with EPP, I would have oversized those outer seam allowances so I could trim the block down to a perfect 6 1/2" when I was finished, but too late now.

Front View, Ready to EPP
It looked good from the front, right?  I was optimistic at this point -- and really loving my fabric combinations.  I should 'fess up right now and tell you that I've never actually done ANY EPP before, only read about it in books and blog tutorials.  So I have a theoretical knowledge of how it's done, but no practical experience.

I did it wrong.  I used a couple of those Wonder Clips to hold two sections together along the inside seam allowance with wrong sides together, and whip-stitched the abutted edges with the same cream colored cotton thread I've been using to piece the blocks by machine.  I tried to take tiny stitches and place them close together, especially since that red patch had such a skimpy seam allowance.  Then I opened up what I had done and saw GIANT IVORY STITCHES all over the place on the right side of my block.  YUCKY!

Ugly Stitches!
I went online and googled "invisible EPP stitches," and found a tutorial recommending that you stitch the EPP together with the pieces laid flat and stitch them from the back side, and when I tried doing it that way I DID get invisible stitches: 

When I Stitched From the Back This Way, Stitches were Invisible on the Right Side of the Block
Flat-Stitched Area from Right Side Invisible, But Wonky Corner :-(
I don't know whether I can remove those first ugly stitches safely, and there were a LOT of them.  I also am not thrilled with the way a couple of those corners got ever-so-slightly rounded when I pulled the fabric taut around the card stock corner -- see that one really bad one in the photo above.  Do I really want to put in the time to stitch the rest of this together by hand when I know it isn't going to be a perfect block in the end anyway?

I really love the crisp, sharp corners and perfectly matched seam intersections that I've been getting with foundation paper piecing on all of my other blocks.  So I think this block needs to be a total Do-Over.  Fortunately, the amazing Charise of Charise Creates came up with a much better way to foundation piece this block to avoid that final wicked zigzag seam:

Charise's Brilliant and "Prudent" Solution, via Charise Creates here
See how she separated the triangles that form the center octagon and attached them to the side triangular sections first, so she ends up with a much more friendly seam to sew when she attaches the segments at the end?  See her complete tutorial on her blog here.  I wish I had seen this BEFORE I started my Prudence block!

This is why I love the Internet.  First of all, it was nice to go online and find that those who are far more skilled and experienced piecers than I am consider Prudence to be one of the most difficult blocks in the entire book.  That made me feel better about having trouble with it.  Second, of course, I love that I found Charise's alternate construction method for this block.  That encourages me to give it another go.  I just hope I have enough of these fabrics left!

I'm linking up with Moving It Forward at Em's Scrap Bag, even though this was kind of a two steps forward, one step back kind of post, and with Esther's WIPs On Wednesday.

I'm taking Son the Younger to the dentist now for his Bi-Annual Dental Hygiene Shaming.  But this afternoon, I'm going back in that sewing room to try, try again.  Happy Monday, everyone!


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