Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Once Upon A Time…. Playing with Color and Pattern

Today I’m sharing how I learned to put colors together…  I began to sew at the prime young age of 5… trying to create new garments for my Barbie Doll… that girl never seemed to have enough clothes/outfits!!  My first attempts failed desperately, until my very kind and patient great grandmother showed me how to tie a knot… NO WONDER everything fell apart!!

During the summer when I turned 13, my mother finally decided it was time for me to use a sewing machine… When she signed me up for the sewing course, I heard the angels sing!!  (it was not often that my Mother paid precious dollars to let me take a course or lessons of any type… in fact, this would be the first time in 6 years that she let me take a course). 

Of course, everyone in the class was a beginner, and they were all about my age, or older.  We were instructed to choose a Simplicity pattern, fabric, notions, etc… and get it approved by the teacher, who also worked at the small fabric store in Morro Bay, California.

Knowing that this was probably the first and last sewing class my Mother would allow me to take… for my first sewing project EVER, I chose to make a three piece suit based on a Butterick pattern which included a lined, wool, double breasted suit coat with inset pockets; a crepe de chine mock turtle neck blouse with an invisible zipper, and a lined wool plaid a-line skirt.  You should have seen the teachers’ face!!!  Startled is just the beginning of how I would have described it.  My Mother, wanting to get ‘her money’s worth’ insisted that the teacher allow me to make the items, and told me that I had a LOT of hard work and homework ahead of me.

I did make that three piece suit, and it turned out beautifully, was entered in some contest… and I wore it proudly for several years thereafter. Little did I realize or understand (until the class was over) what my mother’s ulterior motive was… when class ended, she purchased yards and yards of material, patterns, and notions… and for the remaining of the summer my “job” was to make clothes for my younger sister and myself.

Fast Forward…

When my children were small, I became a VERY active quilter.  I was a member of the Pocono Mountain Quilters’ Guild in Pennsylvania, hobnobbing with infamous quilters… it was a VERY large quilters group with over 250 members. 

In spite of my many years of garment construction, my first quilt was an absolute disaster!! Oh, the seams, etc. were perfect… pretty darned good for a beginner.  But I had absolutely NO Clue as to how to associate colors and patterns… so I grabbed a nicely colored commercial bouquet of flowers… and used all the colors in that bouquet in my quilt, colors like peach, rose, pink, beige, and teal… Years later, I don’t mind it so much, it has a muted antique look/feel… but boy, I hated that quilt for many years to follow!

Of course, every quilter (and paper crafter) knows… the more you use it, the easier it gets.. coordinating colors and patterns became a sixth sense… a natural thing…

So, today’s share… two miniature quilts I made, which actually won blue ribbons!!  This first one was for a Hoffman  Fabric challenge conducted by the guild, a 17” wall quilt which I made for my sweet darling daughter who loved Alladin and Jasmine:




Hard to believe… but everything on this miniature wall hanging was done by hand… no sewing machine at all… back when I quilted 12 stitches per inch (which my arthritic hands no longer allow me to accomplish).  Here’s a close-up…




Remember, the WHOLE quilt was 17” across.. Jasmine’s shoe is just under 1/2” long!

Here’s an earlier Hoffman Challenge wall hanging/miniature I made for the guild (another blue ribbon winner)

again, everything was done by hand.. no machine sewing anywhere!




And a close-up… the challenge fabric in this quilt is what the flower stems were made of (some of the prarie points too)



Don’t know if you can see it but the bud on the rose is a folded flower, just like we would make in paper crafting!!

Oh… and here’s my baby girl all grown up…  she does still love her quilt!! 



Tomorrow I’ll be back to sharing cards and projects…. hope to see you back here!



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Chris said...

What beautiful quilting you created and I love your papercrafts also.

Jean from jlfstudio said...

Gorgeous quilts and very deserving of blue ribbons! And destined to become family heirlooms I'm sure. Nice to see another Central Coaster...I lived for years in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties so I recognize your old stomping grounds in Morro Bay. Love that rock!

Thanks for sharing the root of your talents. I had to laugh when you talked about your Mom's ulterior motives. I thought you were going to say she wanted a three piece suit of her own.

I can also relate to the Barbie clothes though I myslef started on clothes fro trolls since they only required a bit of felt some needle and thread and of course "snaps" to solve that staying together problem. Funny now when I try to explain to my nieces that Velcro is a relatively modern invention. I think I was in college before that made the scene! Mean old NASA kept it to themselves for way too long!!

Hugs and blessings sister demo! And boy do I envy you your catalog!!! - Jean