A contentious question to kick off my first upcycled project, but a just one I think. I like to try lots of crafts and undeniably appreciate the effort, skill, talent and love that each crafter puts into a project whether the end result is my cup of tea or not! And, I must admit (forgive me all you patchwork queens out there), that patchwork tends to fit into what I categorise as twee crafts.
However, I was so inspired by all the gorgeous patchwork quilts I saw on my trip to South East Asia and once I redecorated my bedroom – well white washed all the walls, I needed to inject some colour into it. Aha, now was the time to dig deep into my bags of fabrics I had been collecting for years – a plan was concocted; upcycled patchwork quilt – not exactly original but fit for purpose.
I spent some time (not enough) googling patchwork and purchased my first rotary cutter. I did see that all the pros used templates, but given my grand design and the size of my patches I thought I could make my own template from mounting board.
I must admit this was not of my greatest ideas, especially when I kept slicing the mount board (there are reasons why plastic templates are used!), but I reverted to plan b and used a fabric template to keep them the same size. Once I had all my squares cut, it was a case of re-arranging them to try to get the effect I had in my mind. I was a happy bunny.
That was until I got the current throw from my bed and realised it was a little bit on the short size. I had used all fabric I had, so I decided to cut a few white squares and decorate them with some bits and bobs of fabric I had. I really loved this silk painting I did a few years ago but was unsure how to attach the silk to cotton.
Just like riding a bike 😉 BTW the fabric I was upcycling was a windmill shirt that I had bought over 20 years ago from a charity shop and I just couldn’t part with. I decided to use the button holes, but stopped short at adding buttons – I am trying to be a bit more refrained in my designs.
Next step, sewing them together. This was a laborious task that took all my wits! It wasn’t until near the end that I realised that you just had to place the two fronts together and sew along the reverse. I used 1.5cm spacing, but this shortened my quilt even more, so with hindsight I’d recommend 1cm seam allowance.
Once I’d sewn the five squares together, it was just a case of attaching the strips to one other. Using my two fronts together rule saved time, although I kept checking the right sides were together as there’s worse, in my book, than having to unpick.
Although I’m no dress maker I have done a couple of courses (for which I have skirts that have been worn once!), my tutors words echoed in my head; ‘keep cutting the threads off as you go’ and ‘iron those seams flat’.
I was nearly there, surely? Now if I was a proper crafter I would have initially sewn my patches to quilting and repeated this process twice, so that both sides would have looked divine. But, I’m an impatient type of gal and decided to finish it off with white sheet – this would be my reverse and also give it a bit more width.
I attached the white sheet to the reverse of my patchwork creation, turned it inside out (or indeed the right way round) and folded the top and bottom which were finished with a bit of machine sewing and added my House of Wendy label.