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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Patchwork Repurposed

So I inherited this lovely patchwork panel from a friend:

She pieced this together a long time ago (like twenty years ago!) and never incorporated it into a quilt.  The past few months I've been talking to her about my new-found love for quilting, and she decided to give this panel to me.  It was a very touching gesture, because I knew it had to mean a lot to her because she had kept it for so long.  She told me she'd never make anything out of it, and figured that I'd find a use for it.  Of course I do!

What's really remarkable about this panel is that it's hand-pieced!

It had to have taken her forever and a day to make this thing.  I gingerly starched and pressed it to get it ready for the project I had in mind: a tote bag.

The hardest part was cutting it.  It just felt so wrong.  This piece is very large, so I wanted to conserve as much of the panel as I could, with the idea of making a second, smaller project from the leftovers.  Well, of course, my very first cut was wrong, so I ended up cutting away much more of it than I planned to.

I found this great pattern in Love Patchwork & Quilting by Sara Lawson called Patchwork Avenue.  I modified the pattern to include the existing patchwork, rather than starting from scratch, and picked out a solid burgundy and a beige-brown solid that coordinated with the panel.

The pattern calls for foam interfacing.  Say what?  I searched and searched, and finally figured out that she meant for us to find Soft and Stable by Annie's.  Well, the problem with that is I couldn't find it for less than $20 per yard.  I read somewhere (sorry, I can't remember where!) that automotive upholstery foam would be a decent substitute.  Off I went to Hancock Fabrics, and there it was!  It's called automotive headliner, and comes in a variety of shades.  I chose the lightest shade they had, and scored it at around $5 per yard instead.

I was also fortunate to find large pieces in the remnant bin that were about 2/3 of a yard for only $2 a piece!  The biggest downside I see is that it is not machine-washable.  According to the bolt, the automotive headliner is dry-clean only, which means any projects made with it should probably be limited to spot-cleaning if you want them to last. I've put a decent amount of work into this project, so I don't intend to test that, but if you're game, go for it!

The Patchwork Avenue pattern calls for optional quilting.  I opted to quilt this, and I did so by hand--after all, doesn't hand piecing deserve hand quilting?  I think so.  I was surprised at how easily the needle and thread went through the automotive headliner.  It really didn't give me too much resistance, so I was able to quilt it fairly quickly (well, as quickly as hand quilting can go).   And it kind of looks cool on the reverse side:

Too bad the lining will cover it up!

And here's the finished product:

It's fully lined, and I added a little premade label on the inside.  It even has a pocket!

Part Two:  The Zipper Pouch

I found this lovely tutorial on the Jedi Craft Girl blog.  She totally speaks my language.  I really wanted the panel to yield not one, but two, gifts.  Her instructions are easy to follow, so I whipped this little pouch up in no time at all:

I added a homemade label to this one:

My friend was thrilled to have her patchwork panel returned to her in the form of these two bags.  Totally worth it.  I had so much fun making these, I'll have to whip something together for someone else! 

My next big project: the Love Blooms Here series quilt as seen in Quiltmaker.  I'll update y'all on my progress.  Until then, God Bless!

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  1. I saw it "in person" and am here to tell you it is absolutely gorgeous! What fine work!

  2. Antoinette Toni Leto SmithAugust 6, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Impressed and gorgeous are two words that come to mind. Nicole, to be born with such talent must be an amazing feeling. OMG, I would be honored to own one of these. When, or if, you have any available, please let me know. You know that other than myself, I have a daughter and daughter-in-law that I buy for. Your work is fabulous, and I'm so proud of you. And, the name, "Lady Schep" with the heart is perfectly adorable. Good luck with your future projects and please keep us posted.

    1. Aww, thanks! Now I just have to learn how to make those little fried dough balls you make...

  3. How nice! What a unique and special bag!

    1. Thanks! I love the story behind it.

  4. You are amazingly talented!!

    1. Aww, thanks! Hope you enjoy it for a long time.


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