Bethany Reynolds

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Selecting Fabrics for Magic Mirror-Image Trick Projects
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.If you are taking the Butterflies or Magic Mirror-Image Workshop, please review this page as well as the general information on fabric selection (see the "What's Stack-n-Whack®?" link on the menu bar).

The Magic Mirror-Image Trick is an easy way to get a mirror-image effect without selective cutting. The secret lies in using both the "right" (or front) and "wrong" (or reverse) sides of the fabric.
 Fold back fabric on bolt

To see how a print might work with the Magic Mirror-Image Trick, fold the reverse side of the fabric back over the front side. Slide the edge over until you find the point where the pattern mirrors. You can fold the fabric on either the lengthwise or crosswise grain for this test.


The type of image you see along the mirror-image line approximates the effect you will have at the seamline between two pieces.

 Hoffman dot print This is the fabric used for "Roundabout Stars," the sample quilt for the Magic Mirror-Image workshop. The left side of the photo shows the face side of the fabric, and the right side shows the reverse.
 P & B Color Profusion print This is the fabric used for "Butterflies."
 Alexander Henry print Prints with light backgrounds tend to work best for this method, but don't rule out any print until you have looked at both sides. The two sides do not have to be identical to get the mirror-image effect. Slight variations will not be very noticeable in the finished block. When the two sides are quite different, a transparent or dimensional effect may appear, as with this print used for "Karen's Transparent Star," featured in "Stack-n-Whackier Quilts."
cut wedges For the Magic Mirror-Image Trick, we will stack the layers with all layers facing right side up and cut the block kits from strips, as for the basic Stack-n-Whack™ method. No special placement is necessary. Any part of the design will produce a unique mirror-image. These photos show the triangles used in the Magic Mirror-Image workshop, but the principal is the same for other designs, including "Butterflies".
 basic shell blockMirror-Image shell block

When you piece the block, you will simply use the reverse side of every other piece as the "right side." The top photo shows how the triangles look with all fabrics facing up.




This photo shows the same pieces with every other triangle turned over to produce the mirror-image effect.


Advice to workshop students:

Don't worry if the fabric you select isn't identical on both sides. The reverse side will almost always have less definition and softer colors than the face. As long as the reverse shows some pattern and doesn't look ugly, it will probably work better than you expect! Just be aware that you MUST use both sides for this technique to work.


There are more fabric pictures and tips on page 2.

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