Saturday, November 05, 2005


I've long been interested in the idea of using home dec fabric for quilting. There are a range of fabrics available that can coordinate with one's decor, and the choices are different than what one can find in quilting fabric lines. Many home dec fabrics are 100% cotton, though of course there are blends and wonderful natural fabrics.

Because I am cheap, the discontinued sample books of home dec fabrics have attracted my attention. You get a big variety of coordinated fabrics, and I keep running across them in thrift stores. I've found collections by well-known designers with just enough of a fabric sample to do something quilty.




The quilt I'm showing you was made with a couple of sample books and with conventional cotton fabric. When I got the sample books I pried them apart with a flat screwdriver. They are held together with heavy duty staples, but they come apart fairly easily. Each sample has a glued-on label. Some of these peel off easily and some don't. I get off as much paper as I can, and I trim off any parts of the fabric where the paper remains. I sort the fabric by fiber content, and then by color, and I machine wash and dry everything. It comes out very wrinkled, but it also gets pre-shrunk. All this fabric is labeled "dry clean only," but it's cotton, which we know can be washed. Washing likely compromises the scotchguard, but since you're not upholstering anything, it doesn't matter. Once it's all clean and ironed, I cut it into the desired quilt pieces.

For this quilt I selected a bunch of blues and put them together for a scrappy quilt. I chose a border that had an upholstery look to it, though it is conventional quilt fabric.

One thing that really interested me in using sample books was a Kaffe Fassett pattern for a hatbox quilt, which he made in upholstery fabrics. I've made blocks for this quilt as well, but I haven't assembled them yet. Next time I take the camera into the sewing room, I'll snap some photos of the finished blocks.

5 comments:

Debra Spincic said...

"Because I am cheap". . . .now I know why I like you!

If you look in my 1990s album, you will see a crazy quilt named Spring. It was made from deco samples. I loved the full range of solid colors that a few books had that I got my hands on. The textures are great and it is still on my list for embellishing next year. I might use my new machine. . .

BTW, I have owned my Elna since '83 so it's about as "new" as your Viking! It has been a workhorse even sewing upholstery jobs many times.

Balwearie said...

Oooo lovely! I really like the colours you used. Can't wait to see your Kaffe Fassett hatbox quilt.

Rian said...

Go for it! I love the idea. I'm really into textures these days. Many of the quilts at IQF used fabrics other than cotton, and they were much more interesting. I want to explore different fabrics as well. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Allison said...

What got me into crazy quilting in the first place was when, two weeks apart, I received bags and bags of upholstery samples from a friend's custom furniture shop...and then a trunkful of samples from another friend's family's custom jet upholstery business. Such weird and interesting stuff to use!

Upholsters love to have you cart off their scraps and outdated sample books, too....

Beautiful blue quilt, Barbara!

Scrapmaker said...

Barbara, thanks for sharing this. I also love thrift stores, but might not have considered washing "dry clean" fabrics. Duh.
Your quilt is lovely, in fact they all are. Jen