Japanese Folded Patchwork just happens to be one of my favourite techniques. It’s right up there with making hexagons. So I thought I’d show you how I approach the task. Keep in mind that others may do it a little different.
I’ll start by giving you the template dimensions; I’m aiming for 4-1/2” block. I have cut out two circle templates. The measurements are for the diameter. The first template measures 6-7/8” but 7” is near enough if that’s easier for you to produce; and you will use this for tracing the circle onto your outer fabric. The second template measure 6-1/4”, this template is the sewing template. And finally the square of fabric and wadding should measure 4-1/4”. I use a rotary cutter to cut the fabric and then lay the fabric on top of wadding scraps and trim it with scissors.
When I make a Japanese Folded Patchwork I use two colours; one for the outer circle and one for the centre square. So here is the method I use when working on Japanese Folded Patchwork Blocks.
First I take my larger circle template and trace it onto the outer fabric. Then cut on the traced line.
Now using a doubled up thread with a knot in the end I sew a running stitch a scant 1/8” from the edge all the way around. DO NOT SECURE AND CUT THE THREAD YET.
Place the fabric circle on the table. Now lay the smaller circle template in the centre and hold it down with one hand and pull the needle and thread like a drawstring until the fabric fit snuggly around the cardboard template. Now secure the thread in place and cut. This is the same method I use to make really good circles for applique purposes.
The next steps is to press the circle on both sides. Let it cool. Gently remove the template. Press again on both sides carefully. This second pressing gives the circle a good crisp edge to work with.
Now it’s time to add the centre square. Layer one fabric square over one wadding square and centre them both in the middle of the wrong side of the circle. Now you simply fold the circle edges over the sides of the square and pin in place. Make sure that everything looks even on all sides. You can measure up with your squaring up ruler to make sure it’s square.
Now we stitch everything in place. That’s pretty simple. You can either use a matching thread or a contrasting thread depending on whether you want the stitching to show up or blend in. My preference is a thread that blends in but for these photos I have used a contrasting thread. When stitching, make an effort to stitch thru all the layers right thru to the back so the stitches will show front and back. This will assure that nothing moves and your block will keep its square shape.
Once you have pieced all your blocks they are sewn together to produce your project. I recommend you sew carefully making very small stitches.
Over the years I have pieced a couple of bags using his technique but you could make placemats, table runners, quilts, sewing machine dust covers and a whole range of things. Let your imagination run wild. And let me know how you get on.
I hope this little tutorial helps.
Lucie the Happy Quilter X