Illusionary Bars & Stipple Quilting



The above vest using Illusionary Bars
is one that Joyce Drexler featured on the PBS TV program "ART OF SEWING Series 700"

As presented in Book 900-B9 PATCHWORK CONCEPTS IN SULKY™


Solid Illusionary Bars look most effective over a large print. However, you can get an expanded print lookby cutting the print into strips instead of using the solid fabric.

Alonga Vest Pattern

Patti Lee used the Alonga Vest Pattern to feature this technique in a different way. The print was cut into strips and fused to a solid fabric. You must keep the print strips in the correct order. Patti suggests you fuse strips as you cut them to avoid mistakes. 
  1. A panel print of Patchwork Circles from Nancy Crow's Studio 3 Collection was used for the large print foundation fabric. Used for the bars was a blended fabric of green to purple that had the shades of the colors that were in the print. The shaded fabric was backed with fusible web and then cut into 1/4" strips the length of the panel (approximately 16" on the project vest).

    Tip: Use a plain fusible web that doesn't have a release sheet attached and apply it with a teflon pressing sheet, or apply a paper backed fusible web and remove the release sheet before cutting fabric into strips.

    Also, do not cut through the strips completely. Leave about 1/4" uncut - resulting in a "grass-skirt". Clip each strip off one at a time, so you don't scramble the design if there is one.

  2. From the large print fabric, cut a piece that is the size needed for the top half of the vest; fuse the strips onto it.

    Tip: In order to get the first strip exactly vertical, find a place like the line of the center of the circle design to start placing your vertical strips. If your foundation fabric doesn't have a starting place like this one, simply draw a vertical line down the center of the design. Once all the vertical ones are pressed into place, have fun placing some on an angle or in groups, making an attractive and interesting look.

  3. Set up the Machine for Free-Motion:
    • Drop Feed Dogs or cover them
    • Reduce Foot Pressure
    • Loosen top tension slightly, just enough so you aren't bringing
      up the bobbin thread.
    • Place Sliver on a vertical spool pin with a felt pad under it.
    • Use a Darning Foot or Spring
    • Set Machine for center straight stitch
    Thread the top with an appropriate color of Sulky Sliver Metallic Thread and the bobbin with a 40 wt. Sulky Rayon that matches the top thread or the background fabric color. In this project, Peacock Blue #8017 was used on the top with Black Rayon #1005 in the bobbin.
  4. Place the prepared fabric over the cut- out fleece pattern of the right vest front. To make a Stipple Stitch, move the fabric in a smooth motion creating small curves of straight stitching. Run the machine at an even, moderately fast speed. Do not gun the foot control --- this can cause your thread to break. Ease into the speed you wish to use and keep that speed throughout. Relax! It's all right to cross over lines of stitching. Some award-winning designers like to make repeated "L" or "S" shapes. To reposition your hands, always stop with the needle in the fabric. To lock the stitching, tie-on and tie-off by taking several straight stitches in the same place.