2010 April | AllPeopleQuilt.com Staff Blog

April 2010

5 posts.

Chiffon Flower

Inspired by the rosette shoe clips on the cover of the Quilts and More Summer 2010 issue (officially on sale May 4), I decided to whip up a quick chiffon flower embellishment for a flower girl dress. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll add a pin back or attach the flower to a sash that she can wear around her waist, but here’s how it turned out.

I got about an 1/8 of a yard of chiffon from the fabric store and a string of craft beads. In total, the project cost less than $5, and I have plenty of leftovers if I decide to make more. But you could easily get the same look for less if you have fabric scraps and a broken necklace at home.

I modified my version quite a bit by starting with a 3-1/4×42″ strip of chiffon. I folded the strip in half lengthwise and used a running stitch along the open edge. This gives the “petals” a finished edge as you gather the strip into a circle. Because my strip was so long, I was able to overlap the gathered ruffled to create a layered look. If you prefer a less layered look, use a more narrow strip and let the edges fray.

Once I was satisfied with how the flower looked, I secured the ends in place with several stitches and knotted off the thread. To cover up the gathered edges in the middle, I stitched three pearls to the center of the flower. You could also secure them with crafts glue. Besides shoe clips, brooches or sashes, you could also embellish a purchased T-shirt, top a headband, add a bobby pin, or embellish a clutch … the possibilities are endless!

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Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

In honor of Earth Day (a day late), I thought I’d share a few earth-friendly ideas for quilters that are available on AllPeopleQuilt.com.

T-Shirt Quilt
A 5K race here, a concert there–if you’re like me, T-shirts accumulate quickly. Call me sentimental, but I always have a hard time parting with them, even though I have more than I could ever possibly wear. I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that my limited closet space is too valuable to be a graveyard for the T-shirts of my past. So, I’ve decided to use these instructions to put together my own T-shirt Quilt that recycles and reuses my surplus of T-shirts into something that’s more useful for the here and now and reduces the amount of space the T’s take up in my closet. It’s a win-win!

T-shirt quilt

Designers: Elizabeth Tisinger and Hanna Piepel

Scrappy Quilts
Before you toss your fabric scraps in the trash, check out this slide show of 21 fun, scrappy quilts. They’ll inspire you to save those little bits and turn them into something new! I like to think of scrappy quilts as “scrapbooks” of your quilting experiences–using up the scraps from quilts that you give away can help you relive and remember the experience of making the quilt for years to come.

Dotty Stars

Designer: Becky Goldsmith

Fabric Gift Bags
I’ll admit it–I save gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, and bows, and reuse them when it’s my turn to give a gift. Often these wrapping supplies still have lots of good miles left in them, so I keep them out of the dumpster as long as I can. But why not take it a step further by making your own reusable gift bags from fabric? Recipients can use them again to give gifts on their own, or put them to work as lunch sacks, grocery totes, or toiletry bags. Here’s another tip: If you’re giving a gift to a quilter, wrap it in fabric that person will like and will use.

Designer: Cindy Taylor Oates of Taylor Made Designs

How do you recycle, reduce, and reuse as a quilter? Do you repurpose plastic lunch meat or salad containers as storage in your sewing room? Wrap binding around an old paper towel roll? (See our June 2010 “Tips From Readers” column for more details on how that works!) Leave your quilting-related recycling tips in the comments or e-mail them to apq@meredith.com to be considered for a future “Tips From Readers” column.

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Book Review: Quilts 1700-2010

I love learning about the history of quilting, and if I could make a trip to London right now, I would definitely check out the Quilts 1700–2010 Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  The exhibit, which runs through July 4, features more than 65 examples of British quilting, as well as paintings and personal artifacts from quilters. It’s also the V&A’s first major exhibit to focus on British patchwork and quiltmaking (including both domestic production and fine-art practice).

But since an overseas journey isn’t in the cards this summer, I was really excited to receive a review copy of Quilts 1700–2010: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories (edited by Sue Prichard; V&A Publishing, 2010).


This book, published to complement the exhibit, divides 300 years of British quilting into four chapters: 18th century, 19th century, 1900–1945, and 1945–2010. Each chapter contains essays about significant quilt styles and movements from each time period.

Here are three fun facts I learned from the book:

  • “Paning,” the joining of fabric pieces in different colors to create bed furnishings in the 16th century, was the precursor to patchwork.
  • Printed cottons became accessible and gained popularity in the 19th century. Broderie perse is a technique for making quilts that left large pieces of fabric intact in order to best showcase the printed designs.
  • The Women’s Institute movement was founded by metropolitan women after World War I to sustain traditional rural crafts. The group’s activities included a Guild of Learners. After achieving basic proficiency, members of the guild could takes exams to become teachers, demonstrators, and judges.

While I enjoyed reading the essays, my absolute favorite part of the book is the stunning photography featuring quilts from the exhibit. In my opinion, the best shots are the full-page details that showcase the beautiful details of the quilts. There’s also a “Catalogue” in the back featuring photos and a brief history of each piece in the exhibit–definitely a nice consolation prize for those of us who can’t see the exhibit in person! Even if you do, it’d make a great souvenir.

The book is regularly $60 at abramsbooks.com. It’s currently out of stock there, but I also found it for $37.80 at Amazon.com. For more info, visit vandashop.com.

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Kid’s Appliqué T-Shirts

Both of my nephews (3 years old and 16 months old) love animals, especially lions and monkeys. Recently, I fused animal shapes on t-shirts and gave them to my nephews (as late Christmas gifts). Download the free lion appliqué pattern from AllPeopleQuilt.com, and purchase the Spring 2010 issue of Quilts and More for the monkey appliqué pattern. (If you can’t find the issue at your local quilt shop or newsstand, you can purchase Quilts and More online.)

lion tshirtmonkey tshirt

I had so much fun cutting, fusing, and stitching that I plan to embellish one of my t-shirts using a bird appliqué pattern. If you’re planning a machine appliqué project, check out this slide show for machine appliqué tips.

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Machine quilting

My quilt top is on the machine (HQ 16 by Handi Quilter) and I’m beginning the machine quilting. Having watched masters at the machine, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a rank beginner…but, it is fun to think that I really can operate this awesome  machine.

The quilt top is made up of a dozen blue batik prints that I cut with an Accu-cut template. It will finish at 60″ square…a nice size for a lap quilt.

I’ll be spending lunch hours working to complete the quilting as this quilt is my contribution to a silent auction that will be held THIS Saturday. No pressure here! Thank goodness for deadlines, without them I wouldn’t be nearly as productive.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress, and show you the quilt when it’s completed.


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