Wednesday, July 3, 2019

FAL Tutorial - "In a Bubble"

With FAL Q2 wrapping up, it's not only LINKY PARTY time found HERE (edit: linky party is now closed) but it is also means that several of the hosts post Tutorials and today it's my turn!

I am pleased to present a freehand block tutorial.   There are many great rulers and templates available to make precise and perfect quarter, half and full circles but sometimes it feels good to explore creating organic curves using a not-too-fussy technique.

Here are a couple finished examples:
10"x13" "Double Bubble"
10"x13" "In a Bubble"
A few general things to keep in mind:
  • Oversize your "background" fabric pieces by about an inch on all sides.
  • You can leave the "bubble" fabric large or odd shaped until after it is sewn.
  • Larger curves are easier to handle.
  • Be flexible with the process and find what works best for you.

I like to use a pinking blade in my rotary because it makes it easy to clip the curve.  In the mosaic below you can see that I have folded over a rectangle of fabric to get a more uniform shape.  In some of the other examples I have cut single layered freestyle.

Audition the bubble fabric to make sure it is large enough and the desired color.  Using small scissors clip the curve.
Cutting and Clipping
Using the tip of the iron, fold back the clipped curve as shown below.   Apply tiny dots of glue (I like Roxanne's with a fine tip). Heat set with the iron.   Stitch on the fold line and trim away the excess.
Gluing, Stitching and Trimming
Press and square up with a ruler to your target size.

When you are making multiple blocks, you can use the discarded "background" fabric that has been cut away for the "bubble" fabric in another.   

When you are making a "Double Bubble" you also want to place them staggered to allow enough room and create a more interesting secondary shape.  
Cutting and Clipping
 These pictures show the gluing steps a little more clearly.  Note that in this example I put the background on top face up - either way, I do find that gluing one half at a time works best.
Gluing Details
Tip:  to make sure the orientation is correct, place your prepped unit Face Up and then Flip Back to stitch.
Stitching and Trimming
I am always amazed how oversized the bubble fabric needs to be.  Look back at the first mosaic to see how much smaller the cutout of blue was and yet there is very little to trim away in that final step shown above.

You can complete one bubble before moving onto the second or you can prep them both  - it doesn't matter.

I hope you have found the tutorial helpful and will give it a try.

 Happy Stitching, Karen


  1. Very fun! Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  2. That's brilliant, can't wait to try!

  3. Very cool!! I’m so going to try this :)

  4. This is a lot of fun! Look forward to trying it someday!

  5. Debbie at AQuiltersTable pointed me to this post, and I'm glad she did! Thanks so much for explaining your process for an improv set-in "almost-circle." I'm really fascinated by inset circles, and this seems like a good introduction to it. I am definitely bookmarking this post. Thank you, Karen!


Let me know that you stopped by - leave a comment and make my day!