My weekend went from “no buying any more fabric, Rae” to “well, it’s Saturday and we have nothing to do, so let’s go check out that shop in Rome.” I was on a mission, but actually didn’t find anything to buy. Then, Facebook let me know that the Utica shop was open on Sunday for a special shop hop, and so of course I had to continue my mission (and actually succeeded). And you benefit: it means another On the Road, even if it’s all quite close to home.
Posts tagged: Fabric
Fair warning: I’m not actually going to show you my medallion yet—partly because I don’t have it yet, and partly because I want it to be a surprise. But, I would like to talk a bit about options beyond the typical reproduction and 19th-century-look fabrics that are available. Between royalty-free images or your own artistic skills and digital printing, you can create your own custom fabric or medallions for a federal-era quilt.
Oh Utica!, this city of mine:
were you to have quilt shops more,
happier my days and lighter my wallet would be
as I search for cottons untold.
But, your paucity drives
my travels far and wide,
encumbering the coffers of oil companies
in my quest for textiles manifold.
Okay, I’m officially not allowed to buy fabric for the rest of the month. Well, the next 22 days, at least. I have plans to shop on vacation (going home to Missouri for a week), but until then, nada. There’s really no reason to purchase more, anyway, because this has all arrived recently:
A Simpler Time precuts and yardage, plus Somerset Cottage from 1 Choice 4 Quilting. Quite traditional yardage for a jelly-roll–based, strip-pieced Lone Star. I’m thinking Christmas present for either one set of parents or grandparents. I just couldn’t help but buy this, even though the bi-weekly class I’m taking covering different Lone Star techniques doesn’t start until next week, where we simply talk about what we should consider for fabric. I think some linen I have in my costuming/sartorial stash might go with this, as I still need some yardage for the borders/background of the lone star. I like mixing fabrics.
The Above All Fabric Spring Quilt-Along started yesterday. The assignment: cut out the sashing, border, and binding strips and work on arranging the charm squares.
Backing up: fabric choices
Before I can blog about progress on this, I have to tell you about my fabric choices, huh? I’m doing the quilt top entirely out of Just Wing It by MoMo for Moda. I played around with some other collections to go with the Just Wing It charm pack, but wasn’t feeling it.
I spent some time working on two different projects this weekend: a quilt and a vest.
On Friday, I received my order of a 18 fat quarter pack of Miniatures by Julie Hendrickson for Windham Fabrics (ordered from Fat Quarter Shop). I wasn’t planning on starting on the quilt from it for a while—I already have some of the pieces for another cut out, but once I received the fabric, I just couldn’t help but listen to the creative voices in my head yelling about what to do with it, going all oooh, ahh, how romantically-colored.
The plan is just a pretty basic strip-pieced nine-patch with a twist or two thrown in. Stay tuned for more on that. For now, I spent time cutting out the 2 ½” strips needed for the strip piecing. Some day I’ll have a dining room and a dining room table—or better yet a dedicated sewing room—that makes cutting out strips easier on my back. Ouch.
Why a simple nine patch?
- I want something deliriously simple after the bargello.
- The fabrics make me think “old-fashioned and traditional,” and you don’t get much more traditional than a nine-patch/postage-stamp-esque quilt.
- I want really quick blocks so that this can get finished in between my applique class project, the vest, and another quilt I’m already working on.
Speaking of the bargello quilt, it is officially in the mail enroute to my cousin, yay.
Outside the realm of quilting, a friend wanted a copy of a wool vest he owns that has seen many better days. So, I’m working on that. To do so, I had to make a copy of the existing vest without taking it apart.
Here’s how I did it: I draped my coffee table with a towel (for cushioning/pinning loft), then craft paper taped over that. Then I just pushed pins through the seam lines and important parts of the vest which gives me a line to trace. I didn’t take photos all the way through the process, but here is one of the front sides partially done:
Then, I used the resulting pattern to make a muslin pattern. That’s where it stands. I’ll start constructing the real vest this week.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Mine consisted of an 11-day trek to Missouri to visit my family, then Carl and I drove down to Biloxi, MS/New Orleans, LA for two days, then back home. My machine is still in the shop, and we’ve been gone for essentially two weeks, so I haven’t accomplished any sewing, but I thought I’d share my fun fabrics I bought at a little quilt shop in New Orleans called the Mes Amis Quilt Shop.
Don’t get too excited, they’re just cell phone photos I took after washing and ironing all the fabric.
The hedgehog print is the only one that I had her cut, the rest were pre-cut fat quarters from the various bolts she had. It was very hard to limit myself… there were so many other cute prints, like the whole line of designs that the two on the left belong to. I wish she’d had a fat quarter pack of them. She did say she was willing to do call-in orders to ship… maybe I’ll try that once my bank account recovers from the trip.
I forgot to take a photo of the fleur-de-lis fat quarter I picked up. It’s just a simple black-on-pale yellow ~2″ tall print. Unfortunately, after handling it a little more, I’m pretty sure that it’s not 100% cotton. It just feels too poly to me. But, I still want to use it. I’m thinking of using it fussy-cut in the corners of a LeMoyne Star (sometimes called Lousiana Star) block and eventually making an album quilt of state blocks for all the places we visit.
While were in NOLA, I went to Promenade Fine Fabrics to really tease myself with all the beautiful, natural fiber apparel fabrics. Considering the average price per yard in there was likely $20, I just went in to look, but I did manage to pick up a couple of remnants. One is approx 1 yd of bright pink silk/wool blend that I have plans to use as a fashion outer fabric for a corset. The other is a wonderfully soft silk in dusty blue. It’s about 1/2 yard, maybe 3/4. No plans yet, but I couldn’t pass it up.
Wait, it doesn’t end there! When we visited for Christmas, my grandmother gave me ~5 yards of blue and white calicos she bought to make a house block quilt once upon a time (including her one finished block). Someday I’d like to finish it, probably using the one block as part of a medallion center. She also gave me some various cutting templates and a 24″ sliding rotary cutter—I’m really looking forward to trying it out. I was surprised she had all of it. She’s not really much of a sewer. She does make gorgeous crocheted blankets though.
Carl’s parents gave me a pair of pinking shears and a gift card to JoAnn Fabrics, so I’m sure I’ll have even more sewing goodies to play with soon.
In the historical costuming front, I really want to recreate this dress, worn by Winnie Davis (daughter of Confederate President Jefferson Davis) in the early 1880s when she was Mardi Gras queen. I think the docent said she was 18 or 19, which would be about 1883. It looks very medieval-inspired to me.
The photo is of a painting of her wearing it that hangs in her former bedroom at Beauvoir in Biloxi, MS. It’s not a very good photo. Neither Carl nor I thought to grab the good camera out of the car when we decided to tour the home. Oh well, it is an excuse to go back once they finish rebuilding the Presidential Library, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Okay, enough about me. What crafty things did you get for Christmas?
Is your fabric organza or organdy? What is the difference? The similarity in names for these two fabrics causes a lot of confusion. Both are sheer, crisp, plain-weave fabrics. The difference comes down to the type of yarn used to create the fabric.
Organdy, or organdie, is typically made of cotton fibers. The yarn is spun, meaning it is created by spinning together short fibers (called staple fibers) to create a long, continuous thread.
Organza is made of filament yarn, which is made from very long fibers, such as silk. Filament yarn is most often made of synthetic fibers in modern times, so most modern organza is synthetic, such as polyester, however silk organza can still be purchased.
That’s it. The difference is simply the type of fibers used: filament or staple.
Wondering what the difference between any other fabrics are? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll try to answer. Make sure to subscribe to my RSS feed so that you get your answer as soon as I publish it.
Chiffon. Gauze. Georgette. Organza. All four of these fabrics are sheer fabrics that are traditionally made of silk and often confused for one another. Small differences in the yarn used in weaving and the weight of the fabric can help you tell them apart.
Gauze and Organza are both open-weave fabrics that differ in both weight and tightness of weave.
Silk Gauze is a very loosely-woven, lightweight fabric. It is typically 3–5mm. Because of its loose weave, gauze is floppy.
Organza is not as loosely-woven as gauze, and is slightly heavier; it is generally 4–6mm. The tight twisted yarns (though not as tight as crêpe yarns) make it extremely crisp. It’s often used in couture sewing as interfacing.
Unlike the above, chiffon and georgette are crêpe fabrics, meaning they’re woven of very tightly-twisted yarns, which gives them a dull, slightly rough texture. The main difference between chiffon and georgette is weight.
Chiffon is the lighter of the two, generally 6–8mm. It is woven using a single-ply crêpe yarn. It is a soft, somewhat limp fabric that drapes beautifully. Chiffon can be doubled, meaning two warp and two weft yarns are used at once, making it heavier (12–16mm), but retaining the same soft hand.
Georgette is heavier, usually 8–12mm. It is woven with two- or three-ply yarns, which give it weight and a slightly rougher feel than chiffon. It is also much crisper than chiffon.
All four of these fabrics are traditionally made from silk, although it is more common to find them made from synthetics at your typical chain fabric store.
Now you know the differences between chiffon, gauze, georgette and organza. Do you have a favorite? I’m rather partial to georgette, when it comes to flowing garments, but they all have their uses.
Back before I started this whole quilting endeavor, the quilting section of fabric stores was quite a mystery to me. Sure, I’d wander about because patterned cottons can come in handy for other types of sewing, but one section of fabric really confused me: the fat quarters. I had no idea what that meant. But now, the mystery is solved.
It’s all in the cut
Fat quarters are are 18″ × 22″ rectangles of fabric. They get their name from the fact that they are quarter yards of fabric, but cut differently than “normal” quarter yards. Rather than cutting a quarter yard off of a bolt, which results in a 9″ × 44″ piece of fabric, a half yard (18″ × 44″) is cut in half parallel to the selvage, resulting in two fat quarters.
So, you see the measurements come from the size of “normal” quarter and half yard cuts. The size of those cuts are determined by the width of fabric, which is almost always 44″ for quilter’s cotton (plus or minus an inch). A yard is 36″.
Fat quarter uses
Fat quarters have some advantages over traditional quarter yard cuts.
- Longer strips can be cut parallel to the selvage, or lengthwise grain, which is less stretchy than the crosswise grain.
- You may be able to cut more of certain shapes. For instance, you can cut 12 5″ squares from a fat quarter (3 rows of 4 squares) rather than 8 from a normal quarter yard (1 row of 8 squares).
- For larger patterns, the 18″ side may allow for more flexibility in larger blocks (as in you can get more of the pattern).
Beyond their usefulness of cutting, more fabric sellers and manufacturers ship pre-cut fat quarters as part of a fabric collection, meaning you can easily pick up the prepackaged cuts (sometimes in packs with multiple patterns).
You can also find fat eighths, which follow the same idea. Rather than a very thin strip (4.5″ × 44″), a quarter yard is cut in half resulting in a 9″ × 22″ piece of fabric.
Fat quarters aren’t just useful for quilting; they can be a boon to crafters as well. In fact, some pattern makers even sell craft patterns made for use with fat quarters.
What is your favorite use of fat quarters?