For these pictures, I tried to be inspired by Rochelle – What would I actually be doing with this quilt, and how would it fit into my life? I found it hard not to overexpose my pictures, so next time I’ll use more manual settings – or maybe if I shot them RAW, it would have fixed things!
I mentioned in my post about moving that I’d finally cut up some old dresses and treasured fabric to make a lap quilt – here it is!
I’m in love. It’s one of those visceral pieces that rings me joy – I’m so happy that I get to see fabrics I love every day! But let me backtrack a bit…
When I first started sewing clothes in 2012, I was really into sewing Colette dresses in quilting cotton. I loved the prints, and it was my first foray into figuring out my personal style. A few years on though, I’ve gained some weight and my style has changed, and those dresses had hung in my sewing room closet for years. I made myself donate some, but I kept all my favourites! Now that we are moving, it seemed silly to pack up my dresses… so after a whirlwind hour on Pinterest looking for simple quilt ideas, I decided to give a rag quilt a go!
Rag quilts are made with exposed seams, which fray in the wash and create soft texture. What appealed to me is that each square is quilted before everything is pieced together, so there’s no horrible basting a huge quilt sandwich or wrestling to get it through the machine. There’s also no binding and no precise cutting, and I was able to use up my odd shape ends of batting from other projects. In the end, I made this whole quilt in an afternoon and evening, entirely from the stash!
As you can see in the picture above, the two layers of cotton have a slightly smaller square of batting layered in between, then the square is quilted with an “X”. I used a walking foot and it all went really easily. I chose nice big 15″ fabric squares, to try to maximise the fabric I could cut from each dress. A few of the squares have centre back seams or even darts in them, but I don’t think anyone would ever notice! My batting squares were cut about 13.5″, and I sewed with generous 5/8″ seams. My quilt is 20 squares, which makes a nice size for curling up on the couch.
Once it’s all pieced together, you sew around the outside edge, and the snip into the raw seam allowance to encourage it to fray in the wash. Some tutorials suggest snipping every 1/4″, but who has time for that? I snipped about every 1.5″, hoping it would fray gradually over several washes. In the picture above you can see the frayed seams on the left, and the flip side of the quilt on the right. I like both sides!
Here are a few of my favourite fabric in the quilt – either from dresses or yardage, but all fabrics I’ve had for years!
Forgive me a trip down memory lane… click the links if you want to remember how much my style has changed!
Left to right: Rainbow gradient watercolour fabric from Tomato in Tokyo – I remember gasping when I saw it! Pink Madras from my local Yuzawaya in Japan; Liberty leftover from my Carolyn pyjamas; a 1/2m cut from my favourite indie fabric store in Japan; yet more Japanese cotton that became one of my favourite Peony dresses!
Left to right: Spool fabric my Mom brought me back from a trip; feather print that was a self-drafted skirt; the most buttery fine Japanese lawn, that became a Pendrell blouse – luckily you can see the princess seams running through the square! Fabric that was a Macaron dress; electric pastel Japanese floral that I made into a dress using my self-drafted sloper.
I doubt anyone buy me would notice it, but I grouped the squares with warmed colours on one edge, and cooler colours on the other… and light at one corner, with dark diagonally opposite, not unlike this knit blanket my sister made me:
Turns out I like bit of order in my colourful world! I find the juxtaposition of similar colours much more appealing than random craziness.
Here’s what I love about this quilt: I made it, and now I get to use it. I think we’ve all done that thing where we think too long about a project and never actually make it – well, after years of planning to quilt these fabrics, I’m just really glad I finally did it! I could have made something fancier, and it might have been even better… but would it ever have been done? Here’s to using and enjoying our favourite fabrics!