Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Last summer at MaineQuilts, the state quilt show, I won this pack of five fabrics as a class door prize. Not my choice of fabrics, but I thought that at least they went together nicely. Coincidentally I wandered into a vendor's booth that same day called Piecing With Poppers. Poppers are narrow strips used to accent the fabrics and blocks in a quilt. The vendor displayed some representative quilts, kits, patterns, and of course, the Poppers. I bought a package of bright orange Poppers, thinking that I could combine them with the door prize fabrics to make a small quilt to donate. Plus I was interested to see what the technique was all about.
The Poppers are cut 3/4" wide, and the pattern suggests a different way to sew them together. Because the strips finish to 1/4", one side of the presser foot sort of wants to skew all over the place after you've sewn the first side of the strip. For the second side I tried it my own way first, the usual way we all sew, but I had to admit that the Popper way gave me a much better result. When sewing the second side of the Popper strip, the trick is to use the first seam as your reference guide instead of the right edge of the fabric. I had to move my needle position in order to accomplish that. Buy a pattern and give it a try, no affiliation.
The Poppers are available in various yardages. 3 yards of Poppers is 90 cents, I think. I bought a package of 45 yards for $13.50 because I had no idea what I actually needed; and I'll probably use about two thirds of the package for my quilt, which will measure something like 44" x 56". I wanted to know what kind of value that was, so I figured out that if I cut the Poppers myself, I'd get 48 strips from one yard of fabric at $10 or $11 a yard, which would be 53 yards of Popper strips. For me, I'd rather pay the extra for the convenience of not having to cut all those little strips.
I think this is an interesting technique, sort of reminds me of some stained glass applications I've seen in the past. I'm already lining up another project that I saw in their booth. It's black and white subway tiles with bright yellow Poppers, but any bright color goes with black and white. Maybe I'll put different colors of Popper strips in it.