> Before gettting started, make sure you have everything you need...nothing's more frustrating than getting part way into a project and discovering that scrap of green fabric you were thinking of using is stained or not as big as you thought!

> Press your fabrics before tracing - it might be a pain to pull out that iron, but believe me it's a whole lot easier (and less frustrating) to work with fabric that's crease and wrinkle-free.

> When tracing, always make sure the side of your fabric you want showing is facing up

> When cutting out shapes, cut slightly outside your cutting line. Always make sure edges overlap wherever two or more pieces of fabric meet. And you'll want to leave a small allowance for leadline placement; it needs a narrow "shelf" of fabric to lie on. Bear in mind that when it comes time to quilt/stitch you're going to want the thread to catch and secure all layers of fabric and lead line tape.

When tacking fabric pieces down, use only a few dots of glue in the center to start. This makes it a lot easier to pull a piece up if you find you need to reposition it. (TIP: if you have to pull up a section where the glue has dried, try dabbing the glued area with a damp cloth. The fabric will come up a lot easier!) Once you have all your pieces in place you can add a little more glue along the edges.

The purpose of this page is to offer helpful hints, tips on tools, additional supplies and resources, and to offer some limited instruction on the application of leadline tape when creating Celtic design or "stained glass" quilts. If you've never worked with it before, let me assure you it's reasonably simple to use. If you'd like more detailed instruction on stained glass quilting, click on the "How To" link above.. 
NOT to be confused with bias tape...
This leadline tape is a flat 3/16" wide nylon or polyester braid - very soft and flexible. It makes smooth curves and circles as small as the circumference of a dime without buckling or wrinkling. It's applied with water soluble glue, then stitched over using a zig-zag stitch. (I recommend Aileen's Tacky Glue...and no, the glue will not gum up your machine) Once your project is fully quilted, toss it into the wash and the glue disappears!

Only drawback is it's only available through a very limited number of sources. You won't find it at your local retail/craft supply store, and as far as I know there aren't any fabric shops selling it either. I sell it here (in black only);click on Quilters Corner and scroll to bottom of the page. You can also find it at www.quilterstreasure.com (they offer it in white and green as well)

 Cutting the leadline tape requires heat to seal the ends and prevent  fraying. You can use a cigarette or gas grill lighter, or keep a candle nearby, or even use the edge of a hot iron, but this simple woodburning tool is easier and, in my opinion, a little safer. Whichever method you choose, use common sense! - keep all open flames/lighters/hot irons a safe distance from pets and the reach of small children!!!
You can purchase one of these tools at most any store that sells craft supplies. I found this one at Walmart. 
     (NOTE: keep it simple - some come with a variety of cutting/carving bits, which you won't need unless you're planning to do some wood burning as well!) 
This tool is called a "sixth finger", and comes in very handy (pardon the pun) when shaping curves with leadline tape. It's also very helpful for lifting and tucking. Most fabric stores carry them.
Secure to work surface with tape for safety!
For more tips on the use of this tool, see below.
  Frayed edges can poke out from beneath your leadline tape and detract from the overall quality of your piece. If you're using a fabric that tends to fray a lot this stuff works great - just follow the directions on the tube. Available most anywhere fabrics are sold.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS on the application of lead line tape:
When considering where to start placing your lead line, look at your quilt top and try to determine how it's layered. For example, think of a landscape consisting of sky, distant mountains, a lake, a cabin, and in the foreground, a tree. The sky is the furthest away so it rests behind everything else. The tree is closest so it lies on top of everything else. Try to glue your lead line down accordingly, starting with the deepest level first and working up. In the case of our landscape, the sky/horizon would come first, then the mountains, then the lake, the cabin, and lastly, the tree. Understand this is not a hard and fast rule - sometimes it doesn't matter where you start, but it's always good to study your piece before beginning to apply the lead line, and consider how best to proceed.

Measure out each section of lead line prior to cutting and gluing it down by running the tape along the edge of the section you want to do with your fingers; this eliminates guesswork, provides a reasonably accurate measurement, and hopefully prevents cutting longer sections of tape than you really need.

Heat seal both ends of the tape before gluing it down!!  Mark where you want to cut, either with fabric chalk or just by holding the spot between your fingers (see picture below). If using a woodburning tool you only have to press the tape against the hot end of the tool and it will both cut and seal the ends at the same time. If you don't have a woodburning tool then just snip with scissors, then seal each end by either using a lighter or candle flame (you only need to lightly singe each end...and I prefer using one of those multi-purpose lighters they sell for lighting gas grills, etc.)  or by pressing each end against a hot iron. (If you use an iron just be aware some residue could get left behind which you'll probably want to clean off once the iron has cooled). Careful! Don't burn yourself!

As much as possible try to measure your lead line out in short, workable lengths, from one end point to the next. If you have to do a long piece, like a large circle or the edge of a long border section, I recommend tacking it down with dots of glue as you're measuring it out - before cutting - but again work in short sections...put just a few inches of glue down at a time, secure the tape, then a few more inches of glue, secure, and so on. When you're almost at the end, then mark where you want to cut, snip with scissors, and heat seal.

Use minimal glue - all you need is a thin bead or a few dots, just enough to hold the tape in place until you're ready to quilt. When making folds, apply a few dots of glue on top of the tape where the fold is going to be, let it 
dry for a few seconds to make it extra tacky, then fold & press down. Sometimes you may need to add  a little more glue to make the fold stick . It also helps sometimes to place a lightweight object (like a book) on top of the fold for several minutes, which allows the glue to set. TIP: if you find you need to pull up a section of lead line tape where the glue has already dried, dab the area first with a damp cloth. This will soften the glue and help prevent tearing or fraying the edges of your fabric.

If you have any questions, please feel free to 
.Tips for "stained-glass" quilting using leadline application...
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