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Directions for Sewing the Elegant Angel 

© 2000 Lily M. Kerns

Click here for the complete set of patterns

Fabric and fabric preparation

Some directions suggest that you rough-cut a piece of the approximate size that will be needed for each patch. Another possibility is to make a freezer paper tracing of the pattern, cut it apart and iron each patch on to fabric; then cut with a " seam allowance for a perfect fit.

I prefer to work with a strip of fabric that is at least 1" wider than the widest horizontal dimension across the patches that will use that fabric. This size is easy to handle and I can fit the next patch into the leftover fabric in the strip. Experiment, and then use the method that works best for you.

Background: For this pattern (6" x 10" block), cut a strip of the background fabric that is about 4 1/2" wide and 24 " long (or across your fat quarter--you can always cut another strip.) Strongly direction fabric will be more difficult to work with.
Garment fabric: Cut a strip about 3" x 18"
Wing fabric: Cut a strip about 3" x 18". (Since I want the pattern to run from base to tip of the wing patches, the needed width of this strip is less.)
Features: These are small patches, so only scraps are needed
Optional: A lace or sheer fabric as overlay for wings and/or garment. In this case, select the garment fabric to match or contrast with the overlay. (See special directions for each section.)
Pre-wash fabric if desired. Spray lightly with fabric starch or sizing (preferred) as you iron.


Section AB--Hand and Head

           Section A

Section A will be our learning module, with detailed, step-by-step directions. Directions for the other sections will be given in less detail, except when a new technique is introduced, but you can refer back here to refresh your memory if needed.
These directions are for a "flip and sew" approach. Use the usual "fabric on the back" method if you prefer.

Note: Section B will be finished and then be applied as Patch 5 of section A, so don't let this confuse you.

  1. Cut out the pattern sections on the outer seam allowance lines that surround the individual patches.
    Note: I have added an extra quarter inch of margin on all outer edges of the block making the outer seam allowances to measure 1/2". (All inner seam allowances remain at 1/4".) This will give you a bit of leeway when trimming the completed block to size.

  2. Patch 1: Working from the front (i.e. printed side of the pattern), place the edge of your background fabric (right side up) along the outer seam allowance edge of Patch 1. Be very sure that the fabric covers all parts of Patch 1 by at least a quarter inch. It pays to be generous! Hold it all up to the light to be sure.
    Pin, glue or baste it in place. (My preference--slip it under the foot of the sewing machine and run a few basting stitches down the center of the patch.)

  3. Turn the paper over. Fold the paper forward on the printed line (seam line) dividing Patch 1 from Patch 2. Your excess fabric will show beyond the fold. Trim the fabric to 1/4'" from the fold of the paper. You can use a ruler and rotary cutter, but I just guess at it and cut with the small scissors I keep handy at my machine.
    Be reasonably accurate here because this edge will guide your next seam.

    Fold the paper on the seam line between Patch 1 and Patch 3. Trim excess fabric to 1/4".
    Your fabric is now trimmed to 1/4" larger than the patch on 4 of its 5 sides. (The fifth side is an outside seam allowance of 1/2".) Return to the printed side of the pattern.

    Note: Sometimes, as you work, you may find that a previous seam sticks out too far into the seam allowance and it is difficult to turn the paper back to trim the extra fabrics. If this happens--and it will--don't pull on the paper. Just run the tip of a seam ripper along that little bit of seam to free that much of the paper.

  4. Patch 2: Place your hand fabric scrap over Patch 1, right sides together, with its edge along the edge of the background fabric that is adjacent to Patch 2. Allow at least 1/4" beyond the end of the seam line on each end.

    In this image (which is actually from section C) you can see the placement of the next patch, with the seam already sewn.

    This is the point at which you must take special care. When this piece of fabric is flipped into position after sewing, it must completely cover its patch area (including seam allowances). This can get tricky with angled pieces. To check, place a pin along the seam line (1/4" from the trimmed edge of the fabric, remember?) and flip the fabric over its patch. Check to be sure that there will be at least a 1/4" overlap on all edges--and corners. Reposition if necessary. Then check again--it is quicker and easier to reposition than it is to take out a seam!

    Tip: Visualize the patch on the pattern and the fabric in sewing position as mirror images of each other. For example, if the patch angles upward from the corner where your seam will start, then you must also allow extra fabric above that point or it will not cover the patch completely. Practice will make this visualization easier.
    In some cases, especially in background areas, if a patch doesn't cover completely, you can sometimes just add on a piece with another seam. Remember, I said I take a very relaxed attitude toward this... In fact, if the background area is very large when you have enlarged the pattern, you may wish to do this deliberately to add visual interest to the area.

  5. When the piece is positioned correctly, sew the seam 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. Your stitching should start approximately 1/8" outside the start of the seam line and extend that much beyond it. The end of the seam will be covered by the next seam (but I usually leave about a half inch thread tail for extra security when I trim the threads.) Press the seam to compress the stitches. Flip the fabric across its patch and press again. Do not use steam if your foundation is paper.
    Tip: In larger patches (than this one), and for some fabrics, I may place a pin close to the seam line to ensure that this fabric will stay firmly in its folded over position while I'm adding the next patch. Just be sure it will not be in the way when sewing the next seam.

    NOTE: For very tiny patches, you may choose to reduce bulk by trimming to 1/8" on inner seam allowances after the seam has been sewn. However, you should never trim a section's printed seam allowances smaller than 1/4" because that edge must still be sewn to another when the sections are joined. For this little hand patch that means that you could trim the seam allowance smaller on three of its four sides, if you wish.

  6. Patch 3. You have two options here. Option One is the one you will usually use for the next patch in any pattern where grain line is not a concern. However, in this case, this is a fairly large patch and it is along an outside edge. Option Two will demonstrate how to cut an angled patch so the grain line will be parallel with the outer edge after sewing.

    Option One: Place your background fabric strip, right sides together, along the edge of the fabrics covering Patch 1-2 where it meets Patch 3. Check it's positioning--will it cover Patch 3 generously? Stitch, press, flip, press, and trim to 1/4" beyond the edges of the patch just as you did with Patch 2.

    Option Two: Working on the printed side of your pattern, place the edge of your background fabric strip, right side up, along the outer edge so it generously covers Patch 3 and its seam allowances. Pin at the top edge, if you wish. Fold the fabric along the Patch 1-2 edge until the fold just matches the trimmed edge of Patch 1-2. Crease the fabric along this line. Remove the fabric and trim it 1/2" beyond the fold, in effect, adding two seam allowances to the part that was covering Patch 3. Position this new edge along the trimmed edge of Patch 1-2, right sides together, just as you have done previously. Check to be sure it is positioned to cover the patch when sewn. Sew, press, flip, press, and trim to 1/4" beyond the edges of the patch just as you did with Patch 2. Do not trim away the section's outer seam allowance.

  7. Patch 4: Patch Four is a corner patch and needs to be on grain, if possible, so use Option Two, positioning the fabric generously, right side up, over the patch. Fold to match the trimmed edge of Patch 2-3. Trim the fabric " beyond the fold. Then place that edge on Patch 2-3, right sides together, ready for sewing and check to be sure it is positioned correctly. Sew, press, flip, press and trim to match the pattern seam allowances.

  8. Patch 5: Patch 5 is actually Section B. Complete it, press it well, remove the paper and apply it to A as if it were a single piece of fabric. (Directions in next section)

  9. When section B has been sewn in place, Section A will be complete. If needed, baste in the seam allowance on the top and bottom of the section to hold the corners. Turn the pattern over and trim off any extra fabric beyond the seam allowances.


Elegant Angel Lesson One:

Introduction     Section B,C,D    Section EF

Patterns     Gallery   

Lesson 2