Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Fun with the Bottle Die

Summer Fun with the Bottle Die!
My block for the Modern Quilt Guild Block Challenge.

Hi Everybody! 

My name is Ebony Love, my quilting company is LoveBug Studios, and I'm guest posting today for the first time on the Sizzix Blog! I'm really passionate about die cutting, and especially love it for cutting fabric shapes to use in my quilting and sewing projects. I'm not new to fabric die cutting (I've been posting videos about it for a few years now), but I am new to Sizzix, so I hope we'll have a chance to get to know each other and share ideas together!

I've been playing around with ideas for using the Bottle Die, which is becoming one of my favorite shapes to use in the Sizzix die collection.

Typically, this die is used as a single shape, or for fussy-cutting motifs from fabric, but I happen to love using this die for cutting continuous curved strips.  My post today is a combination technique and peek into what I'm working on using this shape. I have several projects that I'm making simultaneously using this die, including a block for the Modern Quilt Guild Block Challenge, a wall hanging for the International Quilt Association’s Celebrity Mini Quilt Silent Auction this fall, and a couple of mug rugs from the leftover pieces. Nothing goes to waste here!

If you want to follow along and make the block project, you'll need:

  • Four 6" x 18" strips of fabric (solids are great!)
  • 657630 Sizzix Bigz L Clear Die - Bottle, 5 7/8" H Finished
  • Sizzix Big Shot & pair of standard cutting pads
  • 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" sheet of card stock (optional)

Now, I'm going to recommend you do something that seems downright strange, although if you're familiar with my work, it won't be.  Grab a silver marker and a ruler, and mark your bottle die with registration lines!

The important lines you need:

  • Straight lines along the top & sides of the bottle die, 1/4" outside of the shape
  • Two straight lines along the top & bottom of the bottle die, 1/4" inside the shape
These lines will help you in aligning your fabric for continuous curves, and for other projects you'll want to make later.

The following video will give you lots of tips on using the bottle die, and especially how to cut the fabric for continuous curves. It's a long video, but you'll get so many ideas from it that I'm sure you won't mind sitting still for a few extra minutes.

After all that cutting, you get a bunch of pieces that you can play around with like this:
Continuous curves laid out on my design wall.
Remember, use an odd multiple of 6" (6x3, 6x5, 6x7, etc.) to get your bottle shapes to "nest."

I settled on a very simple design for my quilt block (shown in the very first photo), using only six of these strips. 

Later, I cut another set of continuous strips, added in orange, and just randomly pieced them together to get this:
This will be a wall hanging for the IQA Silent Auction.

You're probably wondering how to sew all these strips together so they play nicely, right?  Luckily for you, I've recorded a video to show you that process too.  The curves on this bottle die are so gentle that you really don't need pins, and once you get the hang of this piecing technique, you'll be stitching tons of these curves in no time.

One additional tip that didn't make the video: when you are stitching these curved strips together, alternate the end of the strip you are stitching to keep the piece from distorting. So if you think of your strip as starting at "A" and ending at "B", the next strip you stitch should start at "B" and end at "A".

Once I stitched all the pieces together, I squared it up, and then started pin basting it for quilting on my home machine.
This piece is approximately 17" wide x 31" long.

  Of course, quilting is much more fun when you have lots of pretty color threads to choose from!
Aurifil threads from their 50wt Cotton Mako line.

Since these shapes are very organic, I wanted the quilting to have a very organic feel too. I also wanted the quilting to add some texture because I'm using solids.  
These quilting lines take forever!
I am simply following the curve of the shapes with straight line stitching. I'm not measuring them or trying to keep an equal distance. I just follow the shape, and when I get to the end, I turn the piece around and follow the line back in the opposite direction.  It's very meditative!

As I finish up each color, I'll go back in and fill in the other color bands with different textures & colors. This will really calm the puckering you see in the photo above, which is just because of really heavy quilting.

I've seen these types of continuous curve piecing projects before, but I appreciate just how fast and precise it is to cut with my Big Shot. I was able to get all these pieces cut and pieced in just an hour or so, which left plenty of time to get started on the quilting!

This project is coming along nicely, but the quilting does take a bit of time, so I won't be able to show you the finished project this time around. However, I do hope you'll try your hand at some continuous curve cutting and piecing, and be sure to share your own projects on the Sizzix Facebook Page!

Continue the fun! I'm publishing a book all about fabric die cutting, and the release date is October 1. You can read all about the book & how to get a copy over on my website,

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  1. I love the shapes, I love the colors, I love the quilt!! Way to go, Ebony! Great post! :-)

  2. what a fascinating way to use that die - so imaginative and very cool.

  3. What a wonderful idea with this die, to make this beautiful quilt.

  4. Beautiful colors and shapes - so soothing, almost like waves.

  5. Great idea to cut continuously. I will have to try that!

  6. Now I've got another reason to covet the bottle die!

    1. Isn't the bottle die just awesome? I knew when I saw that die that I had to have it. :)

  7. Thank you so much for sharing. I am a quilter myself and love new ideas. Can't wait to check out your site.

  8. wow, what a great project and use of dies. tfs!

  9. Hi Ebony! Well, I'm not quilting with my dies yet, but I am marking on them for my paper crafting, thanks to your inspiration several months ago when I found some of your video tutorials. I hope to make some table runners with a Fall or Christmas/Winter theme. I just can't seem to settle down and quilt. I dabble now and then, but it has to be small projects. LOL Otherwise, I loose interest and start a different project. I LOVE quilts and admire those who make them. I love the familiarity of them, the weight of them and the secure feeling they give for sleeping. And the textures and designs. I cringe at the sight of non-traditional uses of them. My grandma made quilts all of the time, but there were no contests, they were a useful item that she gave to all of her grown kids. I was blessed with one of her beautiful wedding ring quilts when I graduated high school. I cherish that quilt. I need to sign up for your site in my email, so I can learn. I'm a total die-0-holic and my thick Sizzix dies are my favorites, they cut flawlessly and I know I would love using them with fabrics. What a brilliant use of this bottle die. I LOVE dies that will do double duty! Eeeeeeee!(happy sound)

  10. Thank you for sharing. I love the colours you have chosen. I will be getting the bottle die soon. Great idea for place mats and lots of other ideas.


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