This is the last episode to compliment episodes 1, 2, and 3. Thanks for sticking with me!
At this point, both the Luke and Darth Vader quilt and the Rey and Kylo Ren quilt were ready for my mid-arm quilting machine. On the original one I made, I had quilted a very close pattern because of the different fabrics I’d used. The quilt has a nice “hand” (the weight and how it hangs) and works wonderfully, so I decided to keep a good thing going.
You can see here the details and tight horizontal swirls pattern I used.
On the original quilt, my son chose the backing and picked a blue mottled stars and sky fabric. It looked awesome but was among the more expensive fabrics. For these, I went with a simple black to help tie together the silhouettes themselves to the overall look of the quilt. With so many blue variations, the black was needed. I also liked how you could see the impressions of the characters on the back.
Here are the final results.
I had originally wanted to wait and begin selling these at my next craft show, but I decided to go ahead and place them on Etsy.
With Luke and Darth Vader taken care of, it was now time for Rey and Kylo Ren. They presented a unique challenge because, while there were lots of images from which to choose, I couldn’t find many that translated into a silhouette well. One would have a good profile, but the body wasn’t in a good position; another would be missing the feet but everything else was perfect. In the end, I picked a couple of pictures where everything was right except the head, and I imposed a different picture’s head onto it, adjusting for size, etc. I really wanted Rey’s specific hairdo included, and I did NOT want a silhouette of Kylo Ren’s hood up.
Just like the other one, I traced the images from a projector onto paper, and then I traced them again onto the Pellon 805 fusible interfacing.
These figures had a lot more detail than Luke and Darth Vader, and they took longer to cut out. Not to mention Kylo Ren’s interfacing did NOT want to peel off properly.
If you look carefully, you can see where I’ve used a lot of pins on Kylo Ren. I decided Kylo Ren in fabric form was just as aggravating as Kylo Ren in the cinema form. *But we all love and adore Adam Driver in this house!
After this, there’s lots of ironing and sewing with the zigzag stitch as I attached them to the blue strip background. Somewhere in here I added lightsabers and had a needle break on my sewing machine. A piece of it flew towards my eye, and I’m grateful for such trivial things as eyelids. Mine worked just as it ought and kept my actual eye from being hit. Yikes!
Almost there! Stay tuned tomorrow for the final episode.
After sewing all the strips together for two twin-sized quilts, I had to get to work on the silhouettes. The Luke and Darth Vader ones were easy because I still had the silhouettes from the original quilt.
The key to making these quilts is to use the 805 Pellon fusible web interfacing. I traced the images onto the interfacing, pinned them to the quilt, and then I ironed away.
It’s strange. When the 805 works like it’s supposed to and peels off properly, you get fabric with an entire side of glue that’s ready to be ironed onto another piece of fabric. For these, some of the spots worked correctly, but I had a lot of areas that simply didn’t want to cooperate. This is where I had to go back and pin again. The fusible interfacing to there to ensure everything stays put and doesn’t shift while being sewn down.
The next step was the cut out the figures.
I like to use gray for the lightsaber handle and satin for the lightsaber blades. I had considered several other options before settling on satin, including glow-in-the-dark fabric. But I couldn’t resist the sheen of the satin and liked how it “popped”. I ironed the lightsabers on right after the figures were situated.
I used the close-set zigzag stitch and my duel-feed foot to trace around my figures and make sure they were secure. After Luke and Darth Vader were ready, I moved on to my newer silhouettes: Rey and Kylo Ren.
A while back I wanted to use up some of my blue fabric from my fabric stash since the drawer was overflowing. My son had recently asked for a Star Wars quilt, so I decided to take care of both challenges at the same time.
Fast forward to the fall of that year, and I am participating in a rather large craft fair – one of the largest I’d done. I find out my booth is on the corner, and I panic because I simply can’t have the side of my booth be the backs of the quilts hanging up on the inside. I needed something to hang on the outside of the booth, but I’d sold a couple of quilts on Etsy that would have done the job. I ran upstairs and asked my little buddy if I could borrow his Star Wars quilt for the show. He’s such a good sport and didn’t hesitate to agree. I placed it on the outside, and the visibility was excellent.
When I placed his quilt up, I expected it to gain some attention, but I wasn’t prepared for how much attention it would garner. My booth neighbor behind me said that everyone who passed by her booth was talking about the Star Wars quilt. I had several people ask about what it would cost to make one for them since I had a “Not for Sale” tag on my son’s. I joked that if he wasn’t in charge of my end-of-life decisions I could have sold that quilt three times that day. So it seemed a no-brainer that I would make one to sell after that show.
It didn’t hurt that I still had a lot of blue fabric left over from previous projects, gifted to me, or rescued from remnant bins. The first thing I did was to get out all the blue fabric I intended on using and placed it in the order I wanted.
After that, I cut them all into 3.5″ strips.
From there, I sewed the strips end-to-end and rolled them up on an empty tissue holder. The final radius of that roll was 4.25″.
There’s not much new in the quilting world in regards to techniques, but I *might* be the first person I know of to use what I call the “chair technique”. I had my husband video the beginning of the process.
From here, I sewed together the strips into pairs so as to make organizing easier.
It was here I realized I had much more than the original twin-size quilt goal. In fact, I had exactly enough strips cut to make TWO twin-sized quilts. I laid everything out and then picked up every other strip segment; this helped in that my strips were still going in order from lightest to darkest, allowing the silhouettes to be mostly in the lighter fabric.
I decided that I would make one with the original Luke and Darth Vader silhouettes like I had for my son, but the second one would be linked to the newest film and feature Rey and Kylo Ren.
This was a commission from a friend. As you can see, she is clearly a Harry Potter fanatic, but so am I! This was fun because I liked being able to work in all of the house colors. It was harder than I thought it would be to make sure I had the exact colors. The reference pictures were so varied. I remember fussing a lot over the Gryffindor shade of red and the Ravenclaw shade of blue. It didn’t help that the quidditch robes had some variations from the house colors as well.
The crests were a neat challenge. I decided to play it authentic and use the crest images from the books. I printed them out on fabric, ironed on fusible interfacing, and then ironed them onto black felt. After that I simply appliqued them into the center of their house colors checkerboard. I was trying to mimic the style of my letter jacket from high school, but if I had it to do over again I might just stick with a simple crest shape for the black felt part.
The Hogwarts “H” in the center was supposed to be simple, but my printer refused to print out the “H” any darker than a medium gray. I simply couldn’t get it black, so I went in with black t-shirt paint and colored in the H to make it stand out like it should.
By far the hardest and most time-consuming aspect of this project was the quote. She chose a quote from Sirius Black.
“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
The quilter in me was annoyed that the quote had unnecessary words in it, especially as that meant anywhere from 20-30 extra minutes of work for each word. The English teacher in me was annoyed because good writing is usually streamlined. All I could do was remind myself that the wizarding world does not have copies of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style at Flourish and Blott’s. *All jokes aside, the quote is excellent and true as the day is long. To make the quote, I brought in the stripes of black fabric to my school and traced the letters with quilter’s chalk onto the fabric. I’d heard hairspray can help keep it from rubbing off, so I sprayed it generously afterwards. From there, I had to use a light interfacing to keep the words from puckering. I set my sewing machine to the close zigzag stitch that I like to use when pretending my machine is an embroidery machine. I traced the letters, taking extra care on the curves. I used a Calibri font to make sure I had the simplest version of the letters so they’d have a clean look.
My friend had suggested the whole quote be in the Harry Potter style font, but I wasn’t so sure that would look good overall as it would be hard to read, especially with me not using a real embroidery machine. But I hate saying no, so I suggested we use that font for the quote source at the end. So if you look closely, you’ll notice that “Sirius Black” is done in a different style font. I think it turned out well.
As a last surprise for my friend, I decided to try something new with my quilting pattern. I figured out how to draw a meandering lightening bolt, broom, Deathly Hallows symbol, and wand. Using them, I had a repeating pattern throughout the quilt, giving an extra layer of meaning to an already fun quilt. I enjoyed making this quilt, and I learned a lot in the process.
I quilted with with designs like a broomstick, wand, lightening bolt, and the Deathly Hallows symbol.
This quilt was made as a surprise for a friend expecting her first child, a daughter. This friend is a dedicated Disney aficionado, and I knew right away I wanted to do something related to Disney. But focusing on one princess seemed…inaccurate. This friend loved all things Disney, so I decided to go for several at once. I sent her a message asking who were her favorite Disney princesses, and she replied back with several. To her credit, she had to have known I was up to something but didn’t ask any more questions despite my strange messages to her.
I’d seen on Pinterest a quilt with a little boy silhouette holding balloons, and I remembered the balloons being a big part of that Disney World experience. I decided to go that route. I purchased several pink fat quarters and made the balloon shapes. That step was easy enough. The girl and princess silhouettes took some more thought.
I looked around at a LOT of little girl silhouettes before settling in on this one. In the end, I picked this one because you could see the cute, wispy pig tails, and it made me think of some spunky girls I’ve known, but you could also tell she was wearing a pretty fluffy and fancy dress. I liked the balance in there and felt that any daughter my friend had would have a similar dynamic.
The princess profiles were easy to find, but they didn’t want to translate to fabric all that well. To be honest, there were a couple of points where I thought the girl was just going to have to hold regular balloons sans princess. It was the lips and chin that didn’t want to work with the fabric and sewing machine, and in the end I took another friend’s advice and simply smoothed out the lips and chin, letting the hair, brow, and nose do most of the defining. For the most part it worked. If you look closely, you can see another princess added in for Daddy – Disney’s newest acquired princess – Leia Organa.
Funny enough, one part I was having to focus pretty hard on was the strings. I couldn’t, of course, have real strings hanging loose. That wouldn’t be very durable, and this quilt was for a baby, making them a safety hazard. So I decided to use an extra wide stitch and keep it simple. I wanted to make sure the strings looked natural and relaxed like they can with actual balloons. I was relieved when they turned out well.
This quilt was a first for me in another technique as well. I used a pink bobbin and black top thread while quilting the silhouette. The backing was such a pretty pink that anything distracting from it would have been a shame, but the black silhouette also needed to stay clean, so I held my breath and gave it a go. I was so thrilled when I realized I didn’t have to chose between ruining my top or backing!
After all that I quilted it together with a small stipple pattern. I’m happy to report that the quilt gets regular use!
The first thing you need to know about my brother-in-law is that he is a fantastic fellow. The second thing you need to know is that he is a paramedic (and former firefighter). The third thing you need to know is that he is incredibly tall. If I’m correct, I think he’s around 6’7″. So when he wanted to know if I would make him an extra long quilt for his bed at the station, I agreed.
He asked for a Star of Life pattern which meant only one thing – reverse applique. I’d never done it before, but that didn’t matter too much. It was a quick study with the help of a projector. I simply traced it on to the blue fabric, cut out the snake design, placed white fabric behind it, and then I used a close-set zig zag stitch to bring it all together.
One unexpected perk of this quilt was my choice to use a white fabric with a nice sheen for the white base. I don’t remember why I had that huge cut of satin(?), but I decided to use it up for this quilt. My sister ordered some ambulance fabric that wasn’t too cutesy and had it sent to me. I used that fabric to add length to the quilt, especially as it needed to be extra long to suit my extra tall brother-in-law.
The next detail is my favorite. I added a red border to make sure it had a nice hang on the sides, and somewhere in there I thought about quilting in a heartbeat pattern in the red border! I had to make sure my research was solid on this because the last thing I wanted to do was quilt in a cardiac arrest into this man’s quilt. The rhythm ended up being easy enough, and I loved how it turned out.
My brother-in-law is very tall, so this had to be extra long.
I quilted a heartbeat in the borders! I had to do research to make sure I didn’t accidentally quilt a heart attack instead.
I used reverse applique and loved how the Star of Life turned out.