crazy stuff,  sewing catastrophes

Operation Quilt: Day 1

vintage fabric

I’m not feeling very confident about it but I have decided upon my latest challenge for this last week of house sitting. I will attempt to make a quilt.

A quilt!

Lots of artsty fartsy people make quilts. Surely this is something I can do, right? If I can cover a couch and make collage postcards then I should be able to pull this off…in theory. I’m not setting my goal high. I just want to assemble some fabric into something that could be used as a cover on a cold night. Something cozy and homey.

I’m a little worried. This quilt might turn out to be a total flop because I am not a perfectionist and lining up corners seems way too laborious to be fun. I don’t necessarily want to make a crazy quilt but I admit that might suit my personality better than anything orderly. We’ll see. So far all I’ve done is gather all my vintage fabric together and wash it.

Lily prefers the warmer tones

I thought I wanted to add some new fabrics to my collection to spice up the color palette but actually visiting the fabric store with my “intense” (that’s what someone called her the other day) three-year-old turned out to be more daunting than actually sewing. So I’ve decided to just use what I have and mix in off-white muslin. I think it might be pretty.

a plan?

I really wish my mom was here to help me but she’s tied up doing other things. Maybe you guys could cheer me on. I can do this, right?


  • Mysh

    SAJ, I’ve been a long time reader and fan and I’ve never seen you fail at anything you’ve attempted. You can TOTALLY do this! Maybe you can get some “intense” help from Bug too. :-D Best wishes!

  • Ana

    Wow! this is huge! I’ve never even considered making a quilt but you’ll surely do a fabulously… can’t wait to see what you come up with, blessings

  • Kristin

    You can totally do this… It’s totally a graphic designer’s type of sewing project. You’ll do awesome!

  • Andrea

    I love the fabrics you have – I might have to get into gear and work on my quilts tonight. And don’t worry about being a perfectionist – quilts are a lot of straight lines and when you piece together your corners they kind of nest in there all nice to make that part easy, too.

  • Carrie

    You knew talk of quilting would draw me out of the woodwork! You can do it! I know you can. If I can do it, anyone can. Seriously. Do you have a pattern? And idea of a pattern? Be sure to keep us updated and feel free to e-mail if you get stuck.

    SAJ says: I don’t have a pattern but I do have an idea. I think I’m just going to make a strip quilt. Strip? Stripes? Twelve boxes of stripes using my 12 fabrics? That’s my plan so far. I’ll keep you updated. :)

  • Brenda

    Strip quilting… what your going for. Measure twice, cut once…general rule of thumb. And if you don’t want to quilt quilt…. those little stitches, go for tying a knot at corners….or marked off spots. I know that doesn’t make much sense…. Anyway. You can do it. And don’t worry about being perfect. Do a google search for ‘crazy quilts’…and my favorite…. is using up old jeans for a jean quilt. Great for picnics. You can even create a tic-tac-toe game in one corner and use the pocket for the chips. I should send you a picture of the one my mom made me years ago. ENJOY!

    SAJ says: Yes! Strip quilting! I think.

  • Gramma

    Strip quilting is perhaps the easiest. But, with all your fabrics, I’d utilize the muslin too. Here are simple directions for: Butterfly, Windmill, Dragon’s Teeth.

    1. Cut a strip of muslin 7 inches wide.

    2. Cut a strip of patterned fabric 7 inches wide.

    3. Place on top of the muslin strip.

    4. Sew across with 1/4 inch seam, the top and the bottom.

    5. With your ruler, lightly pencil in diagonally to bottom, then up again across.

    6. Cut on diagonal line.

    7. Unfold and press seam toward the darker color.

    8. See you have two triangles making a block.

    9. When putting together you can form your butterflies or pinwheels.

    V O I L A!

    You are on your way. You can use a plain square of muslin to match the size of four triangle squares put together.

  • Jen

    You can TOTALLY do it! I love your fabric choices. Dude, after reading your blog for so long, I highly doubt there is anything crafty that you CAN’T do!!

    Good luck!

  • Becca

    The first one is always the hardest – not so much hard, just that it is where you will learn the most.

    Then it just gets easier and easier. What pattern are you using? Are you tying, hand quilting, or machine quilting.

    Oh, and be super careful with the rotary cutters – those things are SUPER sharp!

    Good luck! Can’t wait to see more :)

  • Leesa

    it’s not hard at all- sew in strips, THEN cut is the much quicker way. You can have one that ends up in little squares at the end but started with you sewing together long straight strips, you cut it down bit by bit after you sew the joins- anyway it’s not as fiddly as the finished product looks. Google it.
    The first one I did had lots of busy fabrics and a plain solid colour too, I did what is called a Log Cabin design as it is so easy to do. Make sure you have the essential cutting tool though- quilters mat, rule and cutting blade (ie Not scissors)- you get perfect straight cuts, which makes your seams much much more reliably straight!
    Enjoy! Keep us posted!

  • Kate

    Can’t wait to see the finished product Brenda! Love the fabrics you chose. Strip quilting is definitely the way to go.

    This fall I plan on resurrecting my quilting projects and fabric stash. Time to get crafty again.

  • Kacie R.

    I love your fabrics, and it looks like you have some good advisors (yay for Gramma)!

    A couple of other good blocks to start with are the Rail Fence block ( and the Four-Patch ( I agree with the others that utilizing that muslin is the way to go – that will make your fun fabrics stand out more and the quilt top look less “busy.”

    Congratulations on even undertaking this daunting task – I hope you love it. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!