Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Reproduction Fabric Panels

Do any of you own pre-printed fabric panels? These are also called "cheater cloth" fabrics and used to be very popular years ago. It seemed that just about every reproduction fabric designer had one or two in their fabric lines. If you collect reproduction fabrics like I do they're really fun and a welcome addition to your fabric collection. If you can find them anymore. 

The cheater cloth nickname was originally given around 1910 because it was an easy way to "cheat" and make a quilt without doing any piecing. Here are some of the panels in my collection. I only have a few, mostly ones designed by Judie Rothermel and a smaller piece of one designed by Jo Morton. 

Years ago, when I first started quilting, I used to practice my hand quilting on these. Treated them as a finished quilt top, layered with batting and backing and just followed the lines to do some hand quilting. Then sewed on a binding.


This picture below is of a tumbling blocks fabric panel that a friend of mine had machine quilted - she added borders and turned it into a pretty lap quilt that looks antique. Quick and easy.

I'll tell you, it doesn't look that much different from this little tumbling blocks quilt I pieced all by hand from scraps. You probably know how long that took. I've always wanted a larger one so maybe someday I'll use my panel (above) and do the same thing.

Most of the ones I've shown here are pretty old and hard to find but I know fabric companies still make these. I saw that Moda came out with one by Betsy Chutchian recently. Mary Ann's Gift??  And I think I saw one by Julie Hendrickson too. If you can't find any new ones, try Etsy or eBay. You might get lucky. 

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We had a small amount of snow here yesterday but the sun is out today and I'm almost certain spring is coming . . . . It has to, right??


Monday, April 3, 2023

Where's Spring?

We've had so much rain and cold weather here in the Chicago area lately. Spring just does not want to get here!  I know I say this every year. But this year . . .  it's all been a little too much to take at times. Maybe Mother Nature is waiting to see just how much we can take and how long we can go on complaining about the weather.


No flowers. Just puddles and mud.

If you're like me and live in an area that has seen way too much bleakness and cold this year, getting impatient for a true springtime to arrive, here's a free pattern for a cute little flower quilt that may uplift your spirits and keep you busy. I designed it years ago for my old Yahoo group and thought I'd resurrect it. I'm hoping that as soon as I finish writing this blog post the sun will miraculously come out and we'll be there already.

This little project is so cute and it's very easy to put together. I played around and made a sample block yesterday.  Just make Snowball blocks and use a different color for one square for the flower center when you put 4 blocks together. Download the pattern here and you'll see directions for making the blocks in two sizes.

To make the block, mark diagonal lines onto the small squares and sew to the corners of the larger square. Add one square in a different color for the center.

Flip and press the corners open. Using a little dab of water along the seam while pressing will help make it lie flat. 

Trim the seams to 1/4".

Make four of these units, arrange as shown and sew them together with the contrasting pieces meeting in the center.

The pattern gives you directions for two different sizes. I made the 6" blocks a few years ago and this time went smaller and made 4" ones.

Such a cute little flower, isn't it?  

You can add a button. Or a stem and leaves by appliquing  them onto a plain block. Then fill your house and thoughts with flower blocks and quilts and maybe spring will arrive here for those of us in the midwest. I'll keep wishing and hoping . . . .