fredag, maj 27, 2022

Reproduction fabrics

I find it difficult to identify exactly what "reproduction fabrics" means. Is it a copy of a vintage fabric or is is inspired by vintage fabrics? It looks like the term covers both. Moda always mention a Moda designer for their fabrics. Why do that if it's a true copy? Another thing I find confusing is if it's American vintage or British vintage fabrics.

Helene Juul mentions an Australian shop that seams worth looking into: Sommerset Patchwork. The owners, Karen & Paul Styles says: "We specialise in carrying complete fabric collections reproduced from the fabrics of the 1800s, and particularly from around the American Civil War period. More recently, some of the fabric lines have been designed to reflect a softer English influence." Still there don't seam to be a straight line between "copy" and "inspiration". Neither when talking about fabric design or quilt/patchwork top pattern.

- Eileen JankheTrestain: Dating Fabrics. A Color Guide 1800 - 1960

- Reproduction dot com: An online source of cotton reproduction fabric for costuming and quilting. Fabric of time periods 1775 to 1950, including the Civil War and Depression Eras. Consulting for costumers/historic homes. Custom sample sets available.
Online 24/7, open to the public 10-3 W-Sat:

onsdag, maj 04, 2022

ToDo list for reading about British Quilt history

At the moment I have 3 interesting, but rater comprehensive books to read:

Susan Briscoe: "Traditional British Quilts". B.T. Batsford Ltd 1987

The 1718 Coverlet Book By Susan Briscoe
Book review from the Sewing Studio: The 1718 Coverlet Book By Susan Briscoe 69 Quilt Blocks from the Oldest Dated British Patchwork Coverlet The coverlet is the earliest known British patchwork that has a date worked into it and forms a benchmark against which all other rare survivors of early 18th century patchwork can be compared. Learn how to piece each of the stunning 69 quilt blocks this unique book features a block directory and instructions for how to piece each of the blocks using the original mosaic piecing technique, as well as more accessible modern techniques. The traditional technique used to piece the blocks is known as 'Mosaic patchwork' and is a time-consuming method requiring the use of paper for templates. Some of the paper templates still remain in the coverlet and provide tantalising glimpses of printed and handwritten text including bills, letters and printed text as well as hand drawn designs for the quilt. Experienced quilt author, Susan Briscoe, explores how a replica quilt was painstakingly reproduced using the original mosaic piecing technique. There is information about the original fabrics used to create the coverlet and what kind of modern fabrics lend themselves best to recreating the quilt, using a variety of different techniques. This makes it perfect for the more experienced quilter looking for a challenge, as well as anyone fascinated by the history of this traditional craft. 

Bridget Long: Anonymous Needlework: Uncovering British Patchwork 1680-1820.
Submitted to the University of Hertfordshire in partial fulfilment of the
requirements of the degree of PhD 
From the "Introduction": "Yet oddly, many modern authors associate historical patchwork predominantly with nineteenth- and twentieth-century North America. This thesis demonstrates that further research is now required to assess how British patchwork practice influenced needlewomen across the English-speaking world, in particular the new United States of America, during the following century."
- exactly what I found out was the case for me. It looks like there was a reaso for my lack of knowledge.

fredag, april 29, 2022

 A room of her own

With the new sewing machine, I have finally grew out of my computer table turned quilting work space (se Thursday, February 13, 2020). Since there were no spare room in our appartment, I  bought a room in a box
A Room in a Box

It's really great and has wheels so it can easily be moved to whereever I want to sit. And when it's wrapped up, it fits perfectly under my small design wall.

Now I have no excuse for not learning to mashine quilt. All equipment is top-notch, all that's missing is my skills..... it's like Dorothy Parker said about writing: “Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.”

Luckily I have a "side project" to sweeten it up: British quilt history. I'm planning to make a quilt to my daughter and her British boyfriend and while I was thinking about fabrics for that it occured to me, that I don't know much about British quilts, their history and traditions. When I started quilting in the 1990s, it was the Americans that ruled the quilt waves. They wrote the books, they came to Europe to teach, they had the biggest magazines, guilds, events and quiltcons and the most fabrics. 

There's a lot to catch up on in that area too......

torsdag, februar 24, 2022

 Back to school

In contrast to my school time "as if" training, I like to learn while doing something useful, so I decided to make a Christmas quilt from the lot I won in a give away from the "Kludemagasinet" (the Danish Quilt Association's membership magazine). I won a Juniper Berry Layer Cake.

I have never bought a Layer Cake, I sure have more fabrics than I'll ever need for the rest of my life, but it is an interesting way to skip the work selection fabrics that works together in a quilt design. Hmmm.... actually takes a fun part out of preparing for a quilt. On the other hand it might present you with combinations that are outside your comfort zone / usually selection pattern.


I went to YouTube to look for a pattern and chose "Square Dance Quilt" from Material Girl Quilt Tutorials.

It's an extremely simple quilt, but as a training project for a novice it's perfect. I need to learn to go about all the basic function, like how to start and stop sewing and build up some good habits.
My first problem was that the upper thread made a messy dot on the backside at the fabric when it's automatically tied at the start of sewing. But lo and behold here again my favored teacher YouTube came to help. There's just not that, you can't find an explanation for there. The problem you might have is what words to use when searching, definitely not the lack of content. There's always someone out the who know the problem you have and want to lend a helping hand.
When I can't find the solution, I can always ask people in Facebook, so I immediately joined a fb group called "Os Der Syr På Bernina" (We, who sew with a Bernina). It's filled with helpful people and also there was a person with the same  start problem as I, so there were several good advices to find there too.

 Down memory lane

The difference between a mechanical sewing machine and a computerized one is as big as the difference between a manual sewing machine and a mechanical one.
My mother worked at a seamstress before she married and she had a rather fancy Singer sewing machine - for that time. It looked like this
Singer Sewing Machine

and the machine could be lifted down into the table, so that the table had an even surface and look like a regular table. When it wasn't used she hid the legs and pedal under a curtain and used the sewing machine as a table under a mirror in the entrance hall. When she wanted to sew it was carried into the kitchen where she sat in the middle of the room working on her projects.
I remember she sewed all my dresses when I was a child. The first ready made dress I got was my confirmation and 2nd days dresses. It was a big day back then: buying the white dress with matching shoes and white psalm book and a dress also with matching shoes. Both pair of shoes was very low pumps. A coat and hat and bag was also acquired. The bought/ready made dresses and coat, the hat and the pumps/heels being a traditional marking of being a grown up. 

While my mother was working on a professional embroidery machine at work, her Singer could  sew running stitches only. She managed to decorate some of her own dresses with free motion quilting stitches. Quite an accomplishments when all you could change was the tension and length of the stitches.

I learned to sew - and knit and crochet - from my mother, but we was also taught to sew in school. The sewing machine there was with hand cranks

Singer 201 hand crank
As far as I remember there was 5 sewing machines to 24 children. And the projects we could sew were very few and simple. Lol
The only project I remember making on the sewing machine is a sun dress (top and trousers). Definitely not a bikini, the trousers were so baggy that they could reach my armpits if I stretched the out. I don't remember ever wearing it, but we did laugh a lot at the design. Looking at it as most of our school projects: not useful, training only.

tirsdag, februar 22, 2022

Spending spree day

My old, faithful Bernina -  bought from an 80 year old lady in 1985 - went to the ghost. 

My old Bernina  gave up the ghost

After more than a month preparation I finally reached a decision. Phew! That was hard. I had a list with 20 "Need to have" and "Nice to have" functions + a list of feet, I wanted. Bernina 570 QE VIO met everything on my list, so I went west to Aladdins Cave aka Allan's symaskine shop i Ribe.

Allan's shop in Ribe

A rather funny shop that sold almost everything connected in the slightest way to working with textiles - looked more like a warehouse than a shop, but with a lot of customers and a rather big number of different sewing machines.
I spend some time using the Bernina and my, oh my, it's a dream come true. It seams like the only thing it can't do is to talk to me :D

Bernina 570QE VIO

I spend some time today unboxing it and learning to fill the bobbin and thread the machine. I decided to sew a simple quilt from the Layer Cake I won from "Kludemagasinet" (the Danish Quilt Association's magazine). It's actually Christmas fabrics (Moda: Juniper Berry), but you can't start Christmas preparations too early, can you?

I chose a simple design: Square Dance Quilt, that I found on YouTube. It'll make me familiar with the basic functions of the sewing machine and I won't cry if I spoil it later when quilting it on the machine too. 

To end the spending spree, I ordered a TAILORMADE DUO sewing table that'll arrive later this week. So "It's Beginning to Look like Christmas" here on a sunny day in February :D

søndag, februar 20, 2022

BowTie & Stilettos

BowTie and Stilettos IV

The quilt is finished and set on a background frame of dark blue monochromatic fabric. I chose this setup to make the prairie points visible on a white wall. It does show that the quilt isn't a perfect square, but so be it.

torsdag, februar 10, 2022

As mentioned, I've been working with a serie of quilts made from BowTie blocks. The last one is a mandala like design stressing the beautiful fabrics from Moda: Stilettos. They're so pretty that I hardly had the heart to cut them. 

BowTie and Stilettos

The technique is still English Paper Piecing. When sewing the block parts together with whipstitches, the thread is visible at the right side, but I've found a method to hide the stitches completely from the right side of the quilt top. (The blue color is the color of the design wall, where the quilt is hanging, not part of the quilt.)

detalje af blok2

It needs precision to make the fabric lay flat and doesn't pucker. 

Squaring up

But a little squaring up of the top always helps.

Kant med indlagt tråd Prairie Point Binding

I wanted a very narrow black line before the Prairie Point Binding. To get the line very, very narrow, II put a macramé thread into a bias binding, fastened the Prairie Points to the binding and stitched it to the patchwork top. It didn't make it less complicated that I wanted the Prairie Points padded like the top itself!

Finally I hand quilted bubbles around the dark BowTie blocks to add champagne to the dress up party.

Backside detail

(Quilting seen at this backside detail photo.)