Friday, November 15, 2013

The Oo-la-la Braid

  That's the extent of my knowledge of French.  So let's talk French Braid as in quilt.

   The  distinction between the Friendship Braid (on the left) and the French Braid  (on the right) is the accent square used in the French Braid.   The actual construction is the same in both.  The French Braid has the accent square that travels the length of the braid, and this is what carries the eye along the design.
  In both quilts I used separator strips between the bands of braid.  So I have the bias of the braid stabilized by the straight strip.

Another comparison photo....the two on the left are both done using the Friendship Braid technique, only the smaller one in the center has no separator strip.
  Tip:  When sewing bias to bias edge, pin a lot!    Be willing to do some easing if there is too much stretch going on.
   Tip:  Spray starch the bias.  This will help....just be sure to press and not iron in multiple directions.
 Tip:  I found that sewing with the bias braid band on top of the straight of grain separator strip worked best.  I was able to ease some fullness in.  Generally, instructions in books and such will tell you to put the bias on the bottom.  I found that only warped edges on this.

  The second thing to notice in the above photo is the width of the braid bands.  I used 2" strips in the Friendship Braids, and the bands were trimmed straight at about 5 inches.   I used  2 1/2" strips in the French Braid and the braid bands were trimmed to 9  inches.   How can that be?  It's a math thing.....that 1/2" gets multiplied when put on point and makes a big difference.
  For full detailed instructions of French Braids I highly recommend French Braid Quilts by Jane Miller.      Good photos, great inspiration, and cutting and sewing instruction.
   What I felt was lacking was how to select fabrics for a successful to achieve that blended look, etc.  So that is where I want to pass on my knowledge and things I figured out in this technique.  I am trying to consolidate a lot of info scattered throughout my older posts on fabric selection and creating  that blend, so bear with me.
    The "season" is quickly approaching.....and time gets eaten up with so many things.  I serve on the meal team at church and I have never seen so many requests and needs for meals.  This week I have been in the kitchen more than the sewing room.  And thanks for the great comments about this series of posts.  Happy stitching.


Janet O. said...

Very interesting, Debbie. Thanks for doing this. I appreciate all I am learning about this technique!

Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

Great tips--I'm kind of partial to the French braid. Adding it to my long list of to-try's!

Tami C said...

Your braids are really lovely Debbie!

Dana Gaffney said...

They're both beautiful, I like the French braid then I like the Friendship, LOL.

Freda Fields Alley said...

Both braids are lovely but the French braid is an eye-catcher for sure. I'm seeing a table runner happening... after the holidays tho. Too much going on right now....

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

It's funny how that little square adds so much... really gorgeous! I have tons of floral 2.5" strips... Make Someday List.

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