When my grandmother visited over the holidays, she was pretty tickled to see that my son has been using this quilt she made for one of my brothers in the 1970's. She made appliquéd quilts like this for each of her grandchildren. There are more than 30 of us, so that's nothing to sneeze at!
I asked her where she got her appliqué motifs and she revealed that they were adapted from coloring books! I thought that was simply brilliant and it made me like the quilt even more. The other thing I like about it is the naive quality of the color and fabric choices- not deliberate or matched, just using whatever scraps were on hand.
I love the whale. I might have to do a whale appliquéd something-or-other for the shop.
I made more than a few cardinal appliqué coin purses in December. I use a similar technique to Grandma's that doesn't involve turning under the edges of the applique. I cut the shapes to the exact size I want and apply to the background using double-sided iron-on adhesive called Heat 'N' Bond. I think Grandma just used pins though. Then I stitch around the edges with a blanket stitch, zig zag, or straight stitch. Grandma used button hole zig-zagging in black, just like the coloring book art.
The cardinals were popular enough, that I set up a mini assembly line to meet the demand.
Since people liked the cardinal purse, I thought it would be fun to do a bird for each season. Unlike Grandma, I work out the designs in Illustrator and tend to agonize over the fabric combinations. Even with my huge stash, I find myself running out to the fabric store for just the right thing. For appliques with small parts like these, the fabric patterns have to be low contrast, smaller scale patterns that read as one color.
Now that I've done them as purses, I can see them as pillows or hoop art too. Ah, well. Moving on to some new onesie designs.
I used to be a clothing designer in New York City, then I chucked it all to start a family. I stay busy as an independent designer of kids’ clothing and textiles for various companies, and for my own label “chirp & bloom”. This is my personal blog, where I keep my notes on all things vintage, green, handmade, indie, kid-friendly, and whatever else inspires me to keep evolving. Just for fun, I feature artisans I discover at indie craft shows and share sewing and other DIY projects through tutorials. Thanks for visiting!
All personal designs, images, and written words in this blog are copyrighted by Rebecca Harkin unless otherwise credited. Feel free to link back to my posts all you want, but please do not copy my photos or words without my permission.