Sunday, June 10, 2018

Waste not, want not: the Postage Stamp quilt

The Postage Stamp quilt—a scrap buster project if there ever was one.
Antique postage stamp quilt top. Patches are finished to 1/2 inches square.
I was visiting Margaret at Quilt Connection [Murfreesboro, TN] last month and she said, "Veronica, I have a quilt top you might want to see." She was right!

Wow... and Double-Wow!
Antique postage stamp quilt top.
Even though this postage stamp quilt—a name given to this type of quilt pattern because all the patches are about the size of a postage stamp—is a scrappy quilt, you can tell [she] had a design plan. Standing at a distance, you can see the concentric dark/light rings.
The outside rows of the postage stamp quilt.
The precision of the piecing is amazing. These are 1-inch squares that finish at 1/2-inch.
Patchwork squares finish at 1/2 inch.
Several different fabric types can be found in the top... cotton prints, yarn dyed wovens (homespuns), solids, shirtings, a few flannels...
Fabrics: cotton prints, yarn-dyed, shirtings, flannels.
Don't you love the moon from a novelty print peeping out of this patch?
Novelty moon print.
Here is a reference of the size of the patchwork.
Look at the size of these pieces!
Every piece was not on grain, but this quiltmaker was persistent in her workmanship. And she even pieced some of the 1-inch pieces (see the red squares)!
Some of these small patches were even pieced.
Realize this is all hand pieced!
All hand pieced.
Back of the postage stamp quilt top. Hand pieced.
I don't remember what Margaret said the size of the top was, but you can see it would cover a bed. Lots of tiny pieces!
Antique postage stamp quilt.
This quilt top reminds me of the story about the 1863 Jane A. Stickle quilt. The quilt that was the impetus and inspiration of the Dear Jane book by Brenda Papadakis.
Center of the antique postage stamp quilt.
What was going through this quiltmaker's mind as she worked on this project? Were the fabrics from personal and family clothing? Did she collect scraps from other places (fabric mills, perhaps?) or from friends or neighbors? What was happening in her life during the assembly process?
Back of the quilt top showing the hand stitches.
If only these quilt tops could talk.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Return to sewing with a Ghastlie vengeance

In my travels, I'm thrilled to hear more and more interest in apparel sewing is popping up in quilt shops and independent sewing centers. Have you caught the bug?
"A Ghastlie Craft" by Alexander Henry Fabrics
previewed at Spring Quilt Market 2018.
If you're a quilter, you already have many of the skills needed to sew garments for yourself or family members. See this post where I used a form of "crazy patch"—a common quilting technique—for a knit pull-over. Here is another jacket I'm working on that incorporates quilting patchwork.
Patchwork on a jacket back. Fabrics are cotton yarn-dyed from Diamond Textiles.

Garment sewing featured at recent Quilt Market
Amy Barickman, from Indygo Junction, was at the Diamond Textiles booth at the recent Spring Quilt Market. Here is Amy, talking about garments made with Diamond Textiles' fabrics using her patterns. Simple silhouettes... casual wear and stylish... and easy to make.

You're not alone!
So, who's ready to make garments? When I was a guest speaker at the Madison Station Quilt Guild in April, I asked, "are there any garment sewers in the audience?" There were 5-7 members that raised their hands

Ask the members of your quilt guild. There are likely friends you already know that are making garments... as well as quilts.
"A Ghastlie Casting" from Alexander Henry Fabrics.
Take your quilt-making skills to another level. Expand upon them to add beautiful "patchwork" to your wardrobe, too.
"A Ghastlie Notion"  from Alexander Henry Fabrics.
Wield your shears! Brandish your threads and sewing notions! Extol your creative passion with fabric and stitch and do it all: quilting, sewing and garment making. Contact YLQS [your local quilt shop] and ask about classes and garment sewing supplies.

And wouldn't it be fun to incorporate a Ghasltie character on the back/front/sleeve of a garment??? 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Crazy patchwork with knits? Yes, it's possible!

With an upcoming three-day holiday weekend, I promised myself a longer, continuous, dedicated, hands-on chunk of time with my craft. Starting early in the day yesterday (by forgoing computer work), my mind was fresh. My studio space was flooded with natural light and I was excited to be working with fabric at the sewing machine again.
Knit fabric trimmings after cutting out the back pattern piece for a knit top.
A pile of knit fabric scraps greeted me on the cutting table. After cutting out the back for a knit top a few weeks ago, there wasn't enough fabric to cut out a front. I had considered a color block design, but didn't have fabrics that appealed to me. This is where the project initially stalled.

Crazy Patchwork with knits?
With a fresh eye and inspired by slow fashion, Me Made May, and the zero-waste movement, I decided to try crazy patchwork—with knits... nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? The knit fabric is from Art Gallery Fabrics and has a directional stripe design. If I pieced it randomly, the stripes would go in various directions. Hmmm... this could be interesting!

The scraps were pressed (using spray sizing) and edges cut straight with a ruler and rotary cutter to make the patchwork process easier. I started assembling peices—crazy patch style.
Knit patchwork using a crazy patch assembly method.
There was no intentional matching of the stripes. I just needed to fit the pieces together in the most efficient way to get a piece of fabric large enough to cut out the front bodice piece.
Patchwork bodice front.
There wasn't enough fabric scraps for one sleeve—let alone two. A contrasting fabric (also from another garment) was introduced to the mix.
A contrasting fabric was used for the sleeves.
With all the pattern pieces cut out, contruction began. 
Garment pieces ready for construction.
I love this top! 
  • The random angles of the stripe pattern give it a lot of interest. 
  • The piecing of the knit fabric scraps was not difficult. 
  • As with any patchwork pieces with bias (or stretchy) edges, spray sizing is a good solution.
  • I was able to get another top out of this piece of fabric.
  • I like the zero-waste concept and using up scraps.
  • I have something totally unique and fun to wear.

Patchwork with knit fabrics is possible!
Garment sewing is on the rise
Garment sewing for the home sewer is coming back in vogue. Quilt shops and independent sewing centers are expanding their fashion fabric offerings (including knits!) and are offering beginning sewing and garment sewing classes. So,Zo has a list of indie pattern companies that are offering discounts in conjunction with Me Made May 2018 Challenge.

If you are a quiltmaker, you already have many skills that will apply to garment sewing! I hadn't considered quilting techniques such as "crazy patch" or random piecing for use with *stretchy* knit fabrics, but it worked! Start with a fresh eye and an open mind and you'll be surprised what comes off your sewing machine.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Art Weave: Stitch or finish as desired

Mother's Day, a birthday, a special event, submission to an exhibit... I find that a "deadline" of some sort is often the best impetus for finishing a project. I recently received a text message from Michelle, one of the students in my recent Art Weave class at Chattanooga Sewing Machines and More, with this photo attached...
Michelle's hand quilted Art Weave piece.
Michelle hand quilted her Iris Art Weave! Isn't it lovely? It was a gift to her mom for Mother's Day.

Stitch or Finish as Desired
One of the cool (and fun) things about this class is that interpretation of the Art Weave technique is in the eyes and hands of each maker. Numerous variations and options for making and finishing this fabric art project is wiiiiide open... and each time I give the class, my students add to the list of possibilities. A few "finish as desired" options that I've done with Art Weave are:

free-motion quilting...
Free-motion quilting and Art Weave.
thread painting, bobbin work...
Thread painting, bobbin work and Art Weave.
We discuss several options in class for finishing an Art Weave project. But I love it when students put their own spin on their projects—like Michelle did! I hope that other students will send me pics of their finished Art Weave pieces.
Art Weave class at Chattanooga Sewing Machines and More.
Denise and I were in a guild together several years ago. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for her finished Art Weave piece.
Denise working on her Violets Art Weave.
Here is Pam's violets.
Pam's violets Art Weave.
Kyra chose the red poppy for her Art Weave.
Red poppy Art Weave by Kyra.
Art Weave was Danielle's first class (ever!) using fabric! She pushed the limits and experimented with varying strip sizes for her Art Weave iris and it looks fabulous!
Danielle's Art Weave iris.
Let Art Weave, fabric, thread and stitch inspire you to new directions.
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