Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"You've Come A Long Way Baby"

I have been thinking about how I got started quilting. I have been patchworking and quilting in some form or other since I was in my teens. My first effort was a 'quilt' made from left over dressmaking fabrics. My sister and I used to sew all our own clothes in those days. I cut 8 inch squares from mostly brown, burgundy and blue suiting weight fabric (of plains, stripes and checks - plaids to the USA) and sewed them altogether with a 5/8" seam. There was no pattern. It was huge, heavy and never got any further than the "flimsy" stage. But I remember being very proud of myself that I had made it so big and I can remember listening to Simon & Garfunkle's Sounds of Silence on the radio when I was sewing it. I don't know what happened to it. I guess in the end my mother threw it out. Sadly I have no picture of it.

The first time I used "proper" purchased fabric was when I was 18 or 19. I decided to make a cushion cover from these wonderful fabrics. I had no pattern but decided to make up one myself. It too never got past the flimsy stage, but I kept this one (maybe 'cos it was little?) and here it is.

the front (great original pattern huh?):

the back (don't you love those pressed-open 1/2" seams):

and a closeup detail of why adding a seam allowance all around is important (I knew it needed to be added and I did on the horizontal and vertical seams but I forgot about the diagonals of the triangles:

The fabrics coordinate really well don't you think? (One great shade of blue!!) They were purchased when specialty quilting fabric first began to be generally available in New Zealand (I'm talking around 1974/75.) At least I had some idea of light and dark, although not totally successfully because the 4 corner blocks are all the same construction with one half-square triangle and 2 quarter-square triangles. The last picture is closer to the real colour.


Janice said...

nice fabric! got any left?

meggie said...

I love looking at people's first attempts! You didnt do too badly really. I am a late bloomer in the quilt department, & only began about 8 years ago. but I have always sewn & knitted & crocheted.

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

You did a great job!

It is so cool to see other's first quilts. Hopeful we have learn from out frist attempts.

Nadia said...

ciao helen!!!
grazie del commento!!!

kirsty said...

At least you chose pretty fabrics - they even look like cotton! I've seen some great stretch-knit disasters that are a similar vintage :D