by Jane Hardy Miller
This scrappy project is from page 51 of the book. Students need some experience, but need not be expert quilters. It probably should not be a first quilt, but could be a third or fourth for a dedicated beginner. Students will learn to attach quarter-square triangles on the shorter sides to make a long column. Appliqué techniques could also be included, though not discussed in the book.
These instructions are written as if taught as a 2-day class; students could possibly take home a borderless top. It would also work as a 2-week class with homework, or as a 1-day class with pre-cutting. If the latter, students might take home at least 1 finished column. Note that students will need space to lay out the columns.
- Required book: French Braid Transformation by Jane Hardy Miller
- Sewing machine, accessories and basic sewing supplies
- Good quality thread for piecing
- Rotary cutter, mat and ruler—whatever you usually use
- A square ruler at least 9" x 9" is very helpful for cutting, but not required
- Design wall, if space allows
- Fabric selection tips: Students should decide on the 2 background colors first, select fat quarters of each, then select scraps and/or fat eighths for the dots. Rather than 2 colors, they could select lights and darks of one color or even team colors.
- Fabric requirements:
Zigzag: 7 fat quarters in EACH of 2 colors, or 7 light and 7 dark of 1 color (14 total)
Dots: several fat eighths or scraps (5/8 yard if using 1 fabric)
Fusible web (if used for applique): 5/8 yard (18" wide or wider)
Inner border: 3/8 yard
Outer border: 2 yards cut lengthwise or1 1/4 yards cut crosswise
Backing: 4 5/8 yards pieced lengthwise OR 3 3/4 yards pieced crosswise
Binding: 5/8 yard
Students should prepare fabric using their usual method. For a 1-day class, have students cut as instructed on page 52.
- Students cut triangles and lay out all 6 columns
- Teacher explains the method of sewing the triangles together, emphasizing the alignment shown in the illustrations on p. 53.
- Students construct columns.
- Teacher explains the method of sewing the columns together (p. 54).
- Students sew columns together.
- Teacher points out the 2 types of dot orientation—overlapping the borders (photo, p. 51) or stopping at the borders (photo, p. 55)—and their methods of construction (pp. 54-55). Point out the possibility of using other shapes.
- If the teacher is an appliquér, discuss various appliqué methods, including hand or machine, fused or not, raw edge or finished edge. If the teacher hates appliqué, just pick 2 simple methods to give the students a choice. (These dots are large enough to use the method on pp. 7-8 of French Braid Obsession.) This could also be a good opportunity for an hour of team-teaching as a way to introduce a new teacher to the class and/or introduce some piecers to appliqué.
- Discuss border application, including the last half of the dots if the students have chosen to have them overlap the borders.
- If there's extra time, use it for show and tell.