Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Patchwork on the Runway

Hello Quilting Friends,

Of my networks of quilters, I know half of you are all about quilted patchwork clothing and the other half says, not for me. I've been in the latter boat for most of my quilting career, but the last 2 years I've had a slight change of heart. In that time, I have seen a couple of half-circle skirts and a wedding gown made from quilts. I had thought of patchwork clothing in batiks and/or traditional fabrics. Though the skirts and gown were made from vintage quilts with lots of white and faded fabrics. 

This past month, Calvin Klein debuted their 2017 fall collection. And whaddya know, they showcased 3 coats in antique patterned quilts. 

Here's one that is a classic Ocean Wave pattern. It combined with men's suiting for sleeves. It's interesting, right? I would totally wear this and wish I thought of it before.

Here's my Ocean Wave quilt. Here's the dilemma. I could cut this quilt for a half circle skirt, maybe make my version of Calvin's coat, but I just can't do it. See, I can run over to the mall to pick up a coat for $250, where as the quilt below took about $500 of materials, somewhere around 80 hours to make, not to mention my hard effort in matching those points. A coat could last a couple of years through wear and tear, but a quilt can last for generations.

(Pattern is available at my online shop. Head to Etsy for an instant pdf or to my website to order a paper copy.)

And here's a couple more by Calvin Klein. I would like to be a little fly on the wall to overhear his team discussing quilts in fashion.

This one has an antique postage stamp quilt cut for the lining of this quilt. It does give me a Christmas vibe to it, but definitely gives off an antique quilt feel.

And here's a drunkard path quilt. I really like this one, my favorite of the three. For nearly most of my life, I wasn't a pink kindof person. Since having my daughter, I've had a change of heart and I'm making up for lost time. I can foresee a MIB interpretation coming soon.

It is pretty cool to see fashion work with quilts in clothing. I hope it'll grow a greater appreciation from the population at large and in the art world. Meanwhile, I'd like to go through my stack of quilt tops and finished quilts to see if any them are worthy for a clothing experiment.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tutorial - Fabric Easter Basket

Easter Basket Tutorial

Today, let’s make an Easter Basket out of fabric. This is quick and easy, and o so cute. 

Exterior fabric – 1 Fat Quarter
Handle and Interior Fabric – 2/3 yard
Heavyweight fusible interfacing – 2/3 yard
Basic Quilting and Sewing Supplies
Trim – 1 yard (choose lace, rickrack, ribbon, etc.)

Cutting Instructions
Exterior Fabric – Cut one pieces 15” x 15”
Interior Fabric – Cut one pieces 15” x 18”, two pieces 2” x 15”, and one piece 5” x 18”
Interfacing – Cut two pieces 14 1/2” x 17 1/2” and one piece 5” x 18”

Sew with 1/4” seam allowance.

Make Handle
Iron on fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the handle.

Fold the strip of fabric in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press along the fold to make a crease. Each half is 2 1/2”.

Open up the strip. Press each end in to the fold, wrong sides together, to the center crease made in previous step. It should fold 1 1/4”.

Refold the strip with the ends tucked in. The handle’s width is 1 1/4”.
Edgestitch the length of the handle on both sides.


Assemble Basket
Stitch the interior 2” strips to one side of the exterior fabric. Make 2. Press the seam allowance towards the interior fabric.
Iron and center interfacing to the wrong sides of the exterior and interior units. Approximately 1/4” around the perimeter of the units will not have interfacing. This is to reduce the seam bulk.

Top stitch over the seam bulk on both exterior units and then add trim. Here I used a ruffle lace. Top stitch the lace along the seam line to secure it in place.

Optional: Take one interior unit to place your label inside.  Top stitch it into place. I centered my label 7 1/2” along the 15” length of the fabric and 1 1/2” down from the fabric’s raw edge. Pay special attention this side of the fabric is the top of the basket.

Fold the exterior fabric in half with right sides on the inside to make a folded rectangle measuring 15” x 9”. Stitch the 9” ends with a 1/4” seam allowance. This would be a good time to trim away the lace. The folded side is the bottom of the basket.

Fold the interior fabric in half with right sides on the inside to make a folded rectangle.  Stitch the 9” end with a 1/4” seam allowance. The opening is the top of the basket. Make sure your label is facing right sides up.

To make the basket stand on its own, find the center of the basket bottom by making a crease.  Pick a side seam and match it to the bottom crease to form a triangle. Use your finger to pop out the point. Press the seam open. Repeat for all four corners of the exterior and interior units.

Pick a corner and measure 2 1/2” from the point with a ruler. Align the ruler along the seam and draw a line. Repeat for all four corners.

Stitch all four corners on the line drawn to box the basket. Make sure to backstitch the beginning and end of the stitch. Fold the seam allowance (shaped as a triangle) under the basket.

Feel free to trim the handle to your desired length. I kept mine at 18”. I liked the ability hold the basket over my shoulder. Mark the center of both exterior and interior units on both sides.

Place the handle at the center mark of the exterior unit. Edge stitch it to secure it in place. Repeat for the other side of the handle.

Turn the exterior unit right sides out and place it inside of the interior unit, which is wrong sides out.

Pin together the exterior and interior units. Pin the side seams first. Align the center marks and pin. Then fill in the gap with more pins.

Stitch around the top of the basket with a 1/4” seam allowance. Back stitch over the handle and side seams to give those areas extra strength. Leave about a 3” opening between the one of the side seam and handle.

Turn the basket right sides out by inserting your handle through the opening and grabbing the end. Pull it through the opening.

Work the boxed corners and seam along the top perimeter of the basket with your finger. Make sure to fold the boxed corner to the base of the basket.

Pin the opening closed by folding 1/4” seam allowance inside the hole. Continue to pin around the basket to make the seam is completely pushed out.

Edge stitch the top of the basket to close the hole.

Now that you have all the ingredients to make your very own Easter basket, it’s your turn to make it blossom.


Friday, February 3, 2017

American Patchwork April 2017

Hello Quilt Friends,

I have a quilt published in a magazine, called Star Bursts. This one is in the the April 2017 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. If you're not a subscriber, then head over to your local store or to to pick up an issue.


I'm so happy to see my project published in American Patchwork. They are an awesome team to work with and I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to show my quilt to their audience.

The quilt features Cotton Couture fabric by Michael Miller, although the backing was a quick buy from Hobby Lobby. The Warm Company sponsored the Warm & White batting and Aurifil sponsored the thread.

My family and I took a cross country road trip to see my parents in Moline, Illinois, and on our way there, we hand delivered this quilt to the American Patchwork corporate office. The quilt will arrive any day now and I can't wait to brighten up my home with this quilt.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Scrappy Chain Quilt Tutorial

To celebrate the arrival of SIMPLE PATCHWORK book and FRONT YARD fabric collection, I'm presenting a Scrappy Chain Tutorial on instagram. We all love chain quilts. They use up scraps galore and are simply beautiful.

See the below for the quilt design. It is inspired by the Irish Chain and Postage Stamp quilts, but the blocks are set on point and the setting triangles carry the center chain for a smooth chain finish. There's no need to worry about cutting and piecing all those little squares individually. We will be using the strip piecing method to save us time.

For a limited time, the instructions are available for free download (Pattern is no longer available for free, but is available for purchase here.). I'll be making the sample quilt for this pattern and posting my assembly process on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to follow/like me there to stay up-to-date on my progress. If you're joining in on the fun, then share your progress on instagram. Please use my instagram handle (@sandra.clemons) and hashtags (#makeitblossom and #frontyardfabric). I'm be sure to comment on your progress.

The fabric requirements are listed below and includes 2 quilt sizes. I'll be starting my quilt in the next week. How about you?

Happy stitching,

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 New Year's Resolution

Do you write New Year's Resolution? And keep them? My husband and I do. We do pick what we consider attainable goals for the year. We pick 1 or 2 things to improve our lives. A lot of times, we pick a food omit to improve our diet. Such as, we had a year of no fries, another year of no chips, another year of no ice cream, then the following year we did no artificial sugar. Sometimes, we pick a goal to improve ourselves in career, fitness, and education. I had a year where I read through the entire old testament of the Bible, another year where I reached 50 pull-ups. This year, we picked holding a plank for 1 minute every day combined with 10 push-ups and to draw everyday for 15 minutes. We geeked out over the weekend by going to our local art supply shop to pick up new pencils and pens, and a new sketchbook. The little things to get the new year kicked up on the right foot.

Here's to new hopes, aspiration, and resolutions for the 2017 year. Have a Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Printable 2017 Calendar

Happy Holidays, my friends.

Can you believe it? Another year is nearly over. Say good-bye to 2016 and hello to 2017. I'll be posting on instagram (sandra.clemons) and facebook (makeitblossom) through the end of year, but this is the last blog post of the year. If you haven't been following me on instagram/facebook, then what are you waiting for. You are missing out on the photo hop, which has a free giveaway of fabric at the end and I hear a surprise giveaway next week. That's the best place to stay tuned with the latest news.

Christmas is this Sunday and as gift for my savior's birth, I've created a blank 2017 calendar template for you. It is available for download here. It is designed for you to jot down key events and notes throughout the year. Plus there's a lot of extra space on the page for you to write thoughts that require more space.

Enjoy and have a blessed holiday season.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Quiltcon 2017 Entry & Rant

As a lifetime Chicago Cubs fan, my euphoria of the Cubs winning the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series inspired The Wait Is Over quilt. This quilt was created on my long drive home from the Houston International Quilt Market on Tuesday, December 1. I sketched it out on graph paper while my wonderful husband drove us home. Then, I waited. I waited for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series the following day, Wednesday, November 2, in the most dramatic game ever played in World Series history. 

The Wait Is Over is full of symbolism. It is designed with 108 windows to represent the 108 year drought of winning the World Series. The skyline are of actual buildings in Chicago. The large 'W' symbolizes the W flag flown at Wrigley Field after every Cubs victory. The red 'V' border symbolizes the red seams on a baseball. The machine quilting in the negative space symbolizes the movement of the bustling wind as Chicago is nicknamed the Windy City. 99% of the quilt was made from recycled dress shirts and dress pants from my husband, a die hard St. Louis Cardinals fan.

It is machine pieced, machine quilted on a domestic machine, paper pieced, and improvisational pieced.

Here's an image of my early sketch. Sorry, but it didn't scan in very well because it was drawn in pencil.

The next couple of days, I used Adobe Illustrator to formally draft the quilt while I prepped the fabric and determined measurements. Some more pictures of my drafting process:

Yesterday, I received an email from Heather Grant that said:

Dear sandra,
Thank you for entering your quilt to QuiltCon 2017.  There were many outstanding quilts submitted and unfortunately we couldn't accept them all.  We regret to inform you that your quilt, The Wait Is Over (1371), was not chosen by our panel of jurors to be included in the show. We received more than 1,500 quilt submissions and the jurors had to make many difficult decisions.
Thank you again for your submission.

Heather Grant
Director of Marketing & Programming
The Modern Quilt Guild

The good news, I waited 2 weeks to hear word of my rejection of The Wait is Over. Quilts were due November 30th, and my email came in December 14th. It wasn't a long wait, but then again, it wasn't a long wait.

I was disappointed that my quilt didn't make the show. I wanted to know why. In defense of the Modern Quilt Guild, when you submit a quilt you must certify that you understand you will not receive feedback notes from the jury. Technically speaking, there's no foul on behalf of the Modern Quilt Guild. However, it doesn't negate my desire to know a sliver as to why my quilt didn't get into the show. And yes, I listened to the podcast as to why the Modern Quilt Guild can't possibly make time to provide a sentence for each quilt rejection. The reason is they didn't want to ask for more time from the jurors. I suspect the problem lies in the notification process. Could you imagine 1500 unique emails being sent out? Though, I believe there's some level of common ground. An improvement to the system to record juror response and for it to be sent as an auto email notification. I hope the Modern Quilt Guild will continue to revisit this topic as i
t is good business practice to consider a response to better serve a positive membership experience. This has been a loud complaint among quilters over the years who have entered quilts in judged shows. The positive side is people want to improve. 

For me, I want to know if the Modern Quilt Guild felt that I was infringing on any trademarks, especially after the year they had on commenting about copyrights and derivatives on quilt designs. If you haven't heard, it was a disaster. They wrote a blog post and provided examples of infringements and when credit should be given for unoriginal designs. The membership came at them hard with criticism. The Modern Quilt Guild attempted to calm the waters by opening up a townhall style podcast. I truly felt bad for the Modern Quilt Guild and the people behind the post and podcast. I believe they had positive intentions to be transparent but it backfired. People have to understand the Modern Quilt Guild is 7 years young and they are motivated to keep the membership happy. Without the membership, they have no business. So they aren't trying to tick us off on purpose. Though, I admit there was a brief moment when I wanted to jump on the hater bandwagon, but I'm trying to stay upbeat, positive, and show my sincere congratulations to the quilters who were accepted.

If The Wait Is Over was rejected because of risk to trademark infringement, then I must believe in good faith I would have been notified to provide a response. 

Perhaps all of these words are proof I'm a sore loser. I know the quilt is a little wonky here and there. That may be the reason it was rejected. I used a variety of materials and things moved on me when machine quilting. If I had time, then I would have stabilized the fabric, and washed and blocked the quilt. Maybe they just didn't like it. O well, I'm going to love it anyways. I have the perfect spot for it. It will lay on my bed that I share with my husband, to remind him every day that the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series. They are the best team in baseball.

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