Dear Jane Quilt Inspiration
Make Your Own Dear Jane Quilt
Jane A. Stickle's 1863 quilt has inspired quilters worldwide to create their own treasured versions ever since Brenda Manges Papadakis drafted the 169 square blocks, 52 pieced border triangles, and four pieced corner triangles and published them in the book Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt (EZ Quilting by Wrights; 1996).
Diane Rode Schneck and Judy Doenias have been teaching Dear Jane classes at The City Quilter in New York City for 12 years. Their sample quilt, In Our Time, nicknamed "Technicolor Jane," has inspired many of their students to make their own versions.
Go Bright and Bold
Diane Rode Schneck and Judy Doenias used a wide range of calicos, batiks, hand-dyed fabrics, and novelty prints in bright, saturated colors in In Our Time. Dark sashing makes each block pop.
Showcase Fussy-Cut Designs
The quilt, which they began in 1999 and finished in 2005, also contains hidden surprises, such as a cat fussy-cut from a novelty print. Both Judy Doenias and Diane Rode Schneck stitched the square blocks; Judy assembled them. Diane constructed the triangles and did the quilting.
Choose Your Method
Some blocks of In Our Time are pieced, such as the orange and black triangle at the top of this photo. Others are hand-appliquéd, such as the red heart triangle block in the middle. The yellow and black triangle block at the bottom of the photo uses both techniques. There are no written instructions--only diagrams of drafted blocks--so quilters can choose the method that works best for them. Get tips and tricks for assembling blocks at dearjane.com.
Unify Blocks with a Favorite Print
For a cohesive look Emily Shuff Klainberg of New York City based the palette of Finished Before Barbara on a multicolor print that appears in many of the blocks. Emily gave the quilt its name because she completed her Dear Jane quilt before her twin sister, Barbara, finished hers.
Make Shapes Stand Out
High-contrast fabric combinations-such as pink and black-in each block give Emily Shuff Klainberg's quilt a graphic look overall.
Challenge a Fellow Quilter
Barbara Shuff Feinstein of Auburn, New York, named her version … But I Am a Goddess. Although she finished after her twin sister, Emily, she made all 52 triangle blocks in addition to the square blocks and corner blocks.
Experiment with Values of Color
Barbara Shuff Feinstein chose a range of blue and brown fabrics in varying values and styles-from plaids to batiks-to give her quilt depth and interest. Hints of red draw viewers' eyes around the quilt.
Stick with a Two-Color Palette
Blue Sky, Sunshine by Anna Krassy contains Dear Jane blocks in the outer border. Anna arranged the yellow blocks in two adjacent borders of the quilt and the blue blocks in the remaining borders to enhance the ombré effect created by pieced strips in her quilt center.
Use Novelty Fabric to Make a Themed Quilt
Some quilters can't get enough of Dear Jane. Pamela Leonard Wexler has made more than 30 Jane-inspired quilts. Each of her takes has a different theme. Jane Plays with Dolls makes use of a collection of doll-print novelty fabrics.
Give Dear Jane a Seasonal Spin
Jane's Christmas Tree, another quilt by Pamela Leonard Wexler, shows how Dear Jane blocks can take on a seasonal look. Pamela arranged her dark and light blocks in rows to form a Christmas tree shape. The red and green blocks resemble ornaments and the beige blocks add subtle interest to the background. Pieced holly leaf blocks on either side of the red-and-green blocks add to the tree effect.
Position Blocks to Form Bands of Color
Gold Rush, another Dear Jane quilt by Pamela Leonard Wexler, contains a sunshine yellow band through the middle that's framed in fiery red.
Add Special Touches
While the quilt has a stunning overall pattern, Pamela Leonard Wexler still included fun surprises, such as fussy-cut stars, for those who see the quilt up close.
Try Hand Appliqué
Janalyn Martinez learned a new skill-hand appliqué-when she made Jane Taught Me How to Appliqué. She hand-appliquéd colorful shapes to black foundations rather than piecing the blocks. The small blocks make it easy to practice new techniques in manageable sessions.
Work with a Group
Members of the Empire Quilters Guild pieced the queen-size Broadway Jane for a raffle. The quilters used just one color and black for each block and arranged them diagonally to form a rainbow.
Choose a Light Color Palette
Ayako Ishizuku chose a subtle colorway featuring Japanese taupes, batiks, and various prints for My Dear Jane.
Customize Blocks Based on Your Interests
To personalize her interpretation, Ayako Ishizuku fussy-cut designs, such as piano keys from a music-theme novelty print, to showcase in some of her blocks.
Represent a Time Period
Amy Ronis saluted the 1950s and '60s by combining an array of novelty prints-from aliens to martini glasses-in Kitschin' Jane.
Match Fabric Designs with Block Shapes
What 1950s-theme quilt would be complete without a block dedicated to Elvis Presley? Amy Ronis chose a block with large squares that could accommodate the size of the designs.
Focus on the Triangle Blocks
Pamela Leonard Wexler focused on the 52 Dear Jane triangle blocks and the four corner blocks when creating Peridot and Periwinkle Blue Medallion. She surrounded a multicolor panel with 12 of the triangles and used the remaining ones for a border.
Use a Monochromatic Color Scheme
From periwinkle to navy, various shades of blue create a monochromatic border for Pamela Leonard Wexler's quilt.
Let One Color Pop
Pamela Leonard Wexler reserved orange for the quilt corner blocks to draw attention to them.
Use Small-Scale Prints
Prints with a small pattern work well for Dear Jane blocks. Here graphic prints make Randy Keenan's block look even more intricate.
Make Blocks Appear to Be Set on Point
Woman in Transition by Leslie Morgan reveals how adding black sashing and four dark triangles around each Dear Jane block allows individual blocks to stand out. In this case they almost appear to be set on point.
Combine Dear Jane Blocks with Another Pattern
Pamela Leonard Wexler re-created Trail Mixby Mabeth Oxenreider from the June 2004 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. She then surrounded the design with a border of dark blue Dear Jane blocks.
Use Vintage Textiles
Vintage lace takes center stage on Lady Jane, a wall hanging by Pamela Leonard Wexler. Pamela surrounded the lace with nine Dear Jane blocks and gave the quilt a scalloped edge similar to the original quilt.
Re-Imagine Dear Jane Blocks
Dear Jane blocks made in blue and white look like falling snow in Like Snowflakes, Every Dream is Different by Pamela Leonard Wexler. She enhanced the winter look by using a snowflake-theme print for the borders.
Use a Single Fabric Collection
Fairy-theme fabric provides the concept for Fairy Tails by Pamela Leonard Wexler. Pamela arranged her Dear Jane blocks diagonally so pops of red and pink flit and flutter around the quilt.
Get the Dear Jane Book
To make your own Dear Jane quilt, get your copy of Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt (EZ Quilting by Wrights; 1996) by Brenda Manges Papadakis. The book contains drafted patterns for all blocks and letters written by Brenda to Jane. Purchase the book and learn more about Dear Jane at dearjane.com.