Take one look inside French General and you’ll be whisked away to the French countryside. The shop, located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake, takes residence in a narrow 1926 pink adobe building and is chock-full of vintage glass beads, millinery supplies, ribbon, paper ephemera, and fabric.
Kaari Meng, the shop owner, stocks French General with treasures from her trips to Europe and journeys across the United States. Kaari is currently working on her newest fabric collection with Moda Fabrics (to be released in 2013).
Kaari draws inspiration from scraps of old advertising, fabric pieces, paper snippets, vintage packaging, and photos.
She combines her findings onto inspiration boards, sorts the boards by color, and displays them throughout the store.
Designer Toby Lischko’s Follow the Curves quilt in the October 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting is so stunning, it might tempt you to learn a new technique—curved seams!
Follow the steps below to sew a curved seam by machine. Also check out Toby’s blog for two different tutorials—tricks for sewing curves and tips for using the right tools when sewing curves. Finally, view a slideshow on AllPeopleQuilt.com to learn about sewing curved pieces by hand.
Curved shapes add gentle ease and a sense of motion to pieced designs, but joining pieces with curved edges presents challenges. Cutting a small notch in the center of a curved edge makes it easier. Typically with curved pieces you’ll be joining two separate shapes: a convex curve (a curve that bows outward) with a concave curve (a curve that bows inward).
With right sides together match the center notches of curved edges. Pin together at the center point, at seam ends, and liberally in between, gently easing the edges as needed to align.
Sew together the curved edges. Clip into the seam allowance of the edge that curves in (concave) as needed, but do not cut into or beyond the seam lines. Do not clip the convex edge. Some quilters prefer not to clip curved seams. Instead they use a longer stitch length and sew slowly which helps ease the fabric layers together (the center notch is still necessary).
Here’s a selection of books that are great for summer reading. I hope you’ll be as excited and inspired as I am to add some new techniques and quilt projects to your ever-growing list. –Lisa Schumacher, interactive editor
Lady Bug & Friends Quilts ($26.95; American Quilter’s Society, 2011)
Sisters Carla Scott and Leanne Smith have created the Easy OutLine Appliqué method that gives appliqué pieces the look of a hand-drawn outline. Create the outline by tracing and fusing appliqué pieces on a black base appliqué shape. Full-size appliqué patterns are included on the CD; the whimsical designs include kids and dogs in cars, lady bugs, and other animals. Many designs have variations so projects can be made for boys or girls. Projects range from pillows, pillowcases, aprons, wall hangings, crib quilts, and even a game board. Visit quiltedfrog.com to watch a video demonstration of the technique.
On my “to-make” list: Lady Bug Apron (page 34) and Ants in the Pants Pillowcase (page 81).
The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker ($24.95; Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, 2010)
In my opinion, the author Elizabeth Hartman hits the nail on the head when she recommends “…choosing a first project that doesn’t have a deadline attached to it (such as a baby shower or birthday”. The Practical Guide to Patchwork starts out with basics from selecting cotton fabric, elements of a quilt, common fabric cuts, and tips for planning a quilt. The section on choosing fabrics was especially helpful to me. With all the great cotton prints available in quilts shops and my stash of home decor fabrics, sometimes I struggle with selecting the “right” combination of fabrics. You’ll find a breakdown of basic supplies, piecing techniques, machine-quilting tips, as well as tips for making and attaching binding.
The book includes step-by-step instructions and diagrams for 12 modern quilt projects. Each project is made in two alternate colorways to demonstrate the impact that color choices have on each quilt design. As a new member of a modern quilt guild, I’m inspired to dig through my stash of bright fabrics and start sewing!
On my “to-make” list: Valentine (page 71) and Little Leaves (page 89).
Stars! A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts by the American Quilt Study Group ($26.95; Kansas City Star Quilts, 2011)
OK, stick with me now, I’m shifting from modern to traditional (amazing how much one person’s interests can vary). When I saw Stars! A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts by the American Quilt Study Group, I knew I had to add it to my book review list. I don’t know what it is about star quilt blocks, but I love them (in all sizes and variations).
Members of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) created quilts with star blocks inspired by 19th century quilts. The book includes photos of 39 new quilts, the 19th century inspiration quilt, as well as an explanation about the new quilt from the AQSG member. You’ll also find instructions for 10 of the study quilts. The star quilts are making their way around the U.S.; visit the American Quilt Study Group website to see if the exhibit schedule.
On my “to-make” list: Petite Bayik Le Moyne (page 88), I Can Only Imagine (page 97), and Silk Stars of the Bluegrass (page 107).
If you’re looking for great books to add to your summer reading list, join us this week on the AllPeopleQuilt.com Staff Blog as the editors of American Patchwork & Quilting review some of their favorite quilting reads!
Monday: Maria Charbonneaux, staff writer
Tuesday: Lisa Schumacher, interactive editor
Wednesday: Jill Mead, editor
Thursday: Jody Sanders, assistant editor
Friday: Jennifer Keltner, executive editor
Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, senior editor
SAVE THE DATE: Monday, August 23, 5 p.m. ET
Who: You and all your crafty friends!
Where: Anywhere and everywhere!
- In the NYC area: join our editors at the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn.
- If you’re not in NYC, check out Meetups Everywhere to join a group in your area.
- If you’re in front of a computer, watch our editors do a live how-to demo in Etsy’s Virtual Labs at 5 p.m. ET (on August 23)
When: Monday, August 23, 5 p.m. ET
Why: Make and donate pillowcases to make a difference in your community. Learn more about the One Million Pillowcase Challenge.
How: Not sure how to sew a pillowcase? Visit www.allpeoplequilt.com/millionpillowcases to watch a step-by-step video and download free patterns.
BONUS: American Patchwork & Quilting will send a box of supplies to the 15 groups with the most RSVPs by Tuesday, August 10. Supplies are from the sponsors of the One Million Pillowcase Challenge. So join an existing group, or start your own today!