how to make an american quilt

28 Nov

How To Make An American Quilt, or, The Gayest Thing To Do When Unemployed

 

Last year I took to Project Runway like a duck to water. Downloaded as many seasons as I could get my hands on, and spent most nights with my new BFFs Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum to find out who would be america’s next big fashion designer (or Canadian…or Australian….), and eventually caved in and started sewing while I watched it. Cushions at first, then a vest made from scratch, sewn by hand, using a pattern I had traced from a vest I already owned.

At the time, I was working at an architecture firm, and there were boundless supplies, fabric was overflowing and we didn’t need it in our particular office…. so it went home with me.

One lovely day, I even bought myself a sewing machine and started doing patchworks with all the little fabric pieces. Nothing fancy by any means, just squares of fabric sewn together.

My first attempt was a large floor cushion:

Thinking that was good enough, I rested on my laurels until I realised I was drowning at home in fabric. Once again I took up my scissors and set about cutting more squares to make a quilt. I guesstimated about 270 squares.

Halfway through the cutting process (because I’m lazy and not about to spend a whole night cutting square upon square of fabric – I dragged it out a bit), I lost my job. Finding myself at a loose end, and having managed to watch an entire season of Nurse Jackie in a day while sending resumes out and pre-paying bills for a month, I got back to cutting squares. Most of it was old teatowels and wallcovering samples. Wallcovering samples don’t lend themselves very well to sewing… they have an adhesive on the back that comes off an coats the needle and either breaks your needle or thread (I broke 4 needles putting this thing together)

It was all very slow at first, no pattern or layout to the fabric, and I’d maybe make a row or two a day, stopping every few episodes of Dexter to do half a row, and repeating this process. After 4 weeks, and no job as yet, I managed to finish the patchwork.

This was just me putting the rows next to each other to get an idea of what it would look like when finished.

Unfortunately, after finishing the patchwork, I had no money to get fabric large enough to do the backing, nor did I have the desire to do so. I was hungry, quite behind in rent, tired of watching tv, and still without a job. So it sat to the side, unfinished.

And it’s been a year since I touched it. Until this afternoon, when I finally whipped out the large sheet of fabric my grandma gave me many many months ago, put on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and finished the damn thing. Took 4 wheels of pins to put it all together, and I dare say I stabbed myself more times than I’d care to know about.

I think I’ll be using it as the summer spread on my bed, it has no wadding inside, so it’s nice a light, and it’s very colourful, just my thing!

I think it’s a little bit sexy.

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