Fabrications – Mayflower Medley (part three)

With our knolls in place, we are now ready to add grass between the chenille cut furrows. This is accomplished with a tailor tack foot, sometimes called a marking foot. Your sewing machine may have come with this accessory (myBernina 1230 did), and possibly you’ve wondered what to do with it.

The tailor tack foot has a raised ridge in the center that forms loops on the surface as you zig zag stitch. It can be used to mark darts and seam lines when constructing garments, for hemstitching, and for making fringe. By adjusting the width and length of your stitches, you can alter the resulting appearance of your thread work.

Tailor Tack Foot: Generic, Bernina, Husqvarna Viking

Tailor tack feet differ in ridge heights between sewing machine companies. For example, the Bernina ridge is higher than the Husqvarna Viking ridge. I prefer the higher ridge when using this foot for decorative work, such as the grass in our present project. If you don’t have this foot among your sewing machine accessories, a generic foot is available that will work with many machines.

To form the grass, attach a tailor tack foot and set your sewing machine on a zig zag stitch at 1 mm stitch length and 1.5 mm stitch width. Test the needles clearance on your machine to make sure these settings work for you, and make any adjustments necessary. Thread the needle with a heavy decorative thread. (You may need to change your needle to accommodate the thicker thread.) I usedValdani Cotton #35 in Green Grass.

Separate the bias cut knoll layers until you reach the bottom grass layer and begin stitching about one inch in from the side. Separating the layers is a little awkward owing to the curves, but you’ll have the hang of it in no time. Continue this process until you have stitched between all the cut layers.

When your grass in complete, you may like to cut away the extra fabric at the bottom of your knoll, following the curve of the stitching lines. This is optional, of course.

I encourage you to experiment with the tailor tack foot. You can use it to make some wonderful trims by stitching multiple rows close together. You can also press rows to one side, secure them with a line of straight stitches at the base, and then clip the threads. And these are only a few ways in which this foot can add creative touches to your work.

Multiple Rows of Tailor Tacking

In part four, we’ll create the Angelina flowers.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Mayflower Medley (part two)

With our stems in place, our little flowers-to-be need something in which to sink their roots. The rolling knolls are fun to create, but they do take a little bit of work.

First, take your two or three green knoll fabrics (ones that have similar coloration on both sides) and find the bias. Position your ruler across the bias and make your first cut the width measurement of your project. For example, my project had a width of 15″ so I cut my first bias cut 15″ long. Next, make a cut the depth of your “grass” measurement. Now, place your wave ruler near the top of your straight edge ruler and make the wavy top cut. Allow for error by adding an extra inch or two to the depth. It’s always easier to subtract rather than add when it comes to fabric.

Repeat this process until all of your knoll fabrics have been cut.

Stack your knoll fabrics evenly and make chalk markings on the top fabric about every 1/2 inch with your wave ruler.

Carefully place the stack on top of your grass fabric and pin in place.

Set your sewing machine on a 2.5 mm straight stitch and sew along all the marked lines, beginning about 1/2 inch in from the edge.

If you’ve made chenille, then you will be familiar with the following instructions. Using a pair of sharp scissors, make clips (about 1 1/2″) into the bias cut fabrics half way between all seams. DO NOT CLIP THE BASE GRASS FABRIC.

Owing to the curved seams, I found electric scissors and short-bladed scissors to work best at cutting the chenille. The actual chenille cutter didn’t work as well. Using whatever cutting instrument works best for you, carefully cut through all the lengths of bias half way between each seam. Check to make sure you’re not catching the base fabric as you cut.

You might like to fluff the bias cuts a little with your fingers, but do not brush them as you would when making regular chenille.

We now have rolling knolls, but they still need some 3D grass. Stay tuned for part three.

N. Rene West
Time Treasured