Hand-stitched patchwork pattern: ‘Bright Garden Borders’

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I thoroughly enjoy the gentle occupation of hand-stitched patchwork. The quilt above is one of the ones I entered into the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK, last year. In the show, the title was ‘The Missed Exhibition’ and there was a back story (you can read about that here).  Now, in happier times(!), it has been re-named ‘Bright Garden Borders’ because it certainly is bright. It began with a set of 40 Kaffe Fassett charm squares which formed the centres of the flowers. I picked the solids from my fabric collection, and then decided how to combine them in rows. The background fabric (also by Kaffe Fassett) was chosen at a later date. The idea behind the quilt was a re-working of ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’ where the background forms a path round the hexagon flowers.

The bright green along the border is fabric gleaned from some recycling: you can read about that here. In the quilt above, ALL of the quilt was hand-stitched including adding the borders, but these could be added by hand.

The finished size of the quilt is 70” (178 cm) long x 58” (147cm) wide. The quilt was quilted by hand, too.

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I have now released this as a pattern, so you can make your own. If you are in the UK/EU please follow the link on the website under my photo to my Etsy shop and you will find a paper and an electronic version of the pattern for instant download. If you are outside the UK/EU please follow the link to Craftsy where you will find an electronic pattern.

The pattern is very easy to follow, even if you have never before  tried English Paper Piecing (also known as ‘piecing over papers’). Like all my patterns, this one has clear, step-by-step instructions on how to make the quilt. with a photograph, in colour, of each stage (like the one below, showing the fabric being marked out).  I also tell you how to layer up your quilt, do the quilting and finish the edges. There’s a useful colour chart and a diagram of the templates needed.

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This is the very opposite of a ‘make it in a weekend’ quilt.  You need to be patient with this one!  This is an enjoyable, relaxing, slow method of making a quilt.

Tops for the Quilt Show

When I first started out with the whole Amanda Jane Textiles venture in 2014, I set myself a challenge to make three dresses in three days. (You can read about it here.) On that occasion the emphasis was on recycling, which I still enjoy (see, for example, the most recent quilt pattern ‘Pinstripe’where I use recycled shirts –  click here to see it). I dyed and printed the three fabrics myself.

By the time the Festival of Quilts 2016 came round, I was in a position to order up four fabrics that I have designed and that Spoonflower have printed. Now designs can be printed in, and posted from, Berlin to the UK, the parcels come fairly quickly and with no customs to pay, which is great. I then made four different tops to wear on the four different days of the show. I have a filing drawer full of garment patterns which I have collected over many years. Some of these are vintage. I sometimes use these as a basis for a garment, adapting the paper patterns to suit.  Here is Thursday’s top which has a wide neckline, with narrow neck and sleeve facings and reaches to mid-hip.

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Cotton top made up in ‘New Hairdo’ fabric

On Friday, I wore this one, which hangs to just below the waist and has a deep scoop neckline:

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Cotton top made up in ‘Ribbons and Roses’ fabric

Saturday’s garment, using one of my favourite fabric designs, is a short top with a V-neck and princess seams. The neck, armholes and hem are bound with contrast bias binding.

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Cotton top made up in ‘Bees and Bumble Bees’

And on Sunday, I wore this one, which reaches to hip level and has a notched neckline and armholes bound with contrast bias binding :

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Cotton top in ‘Cephalopods’

You can see – and order – these fabrics by clicking here.  Once designs have been selected, customers can choose whether to order from Durham, USA or from Berlin, Germany.  I particularly like the  Kona cotton because of the quality of the cloth, and  because I like wearing natural fibres, but for any one of my designs it is possible to choose from twenty different fabrics, allowing for plenty of scope for different end uses.