Friday, July 25, 2014

Ugly No More!

Readers of Stitched in Color are a few weeks into a purge of our unloved and neglected fabrics. Heaven knows I have a stack of them that needs to be used up. (Because, of course, that will be the green light to buy more fabrics—ones that I super-promise not to ignore!)

But there was one fabric that I thought was beyond hope …


I bought a half-yard of this Michael Miller print for my Penny Sampler quilt last fall. But honestly, when I received it in the mail (it was an online purchase, made sight unseen), I knew it didn’t belong in my quilt. There isn’t anything subtle about it. The printed design is thick white lines that give the fabric a substantial, almost stiff, hand. Ick. I tucked it under prettier fabric in my stash and conveniently forgot about it until recently.

In a moment of clarity, I realized I had been regarding this fabric only through the eyes of a quilter. I stopped thinking about what might make this fabric tolerable in a quilt and started to consider what other selections may suit it—and actually make it pretty. This is what I came up with: a print from Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee line and Kona Tomato.


Once I had selected the fabrics, choosing a pattern was easy. I went with s.o.t.a.k. handmade’s  drawstring pouch, something I had been meaning to try for a while.

So I made one and liked it so much that I made another exactly like it. And then a version with Stitch Circle in navy. And then, clearly excited by bringing new life to this Michael Miller print and throwing all caution to the wind, a version with a chartreuse casing and kitty-cat lining.


Wow, it was helpful to realize that I’m capable of pigeon-holing myself as a quilter. Actually, it was surprising: I’ve been sewing for well over a decade, but I’m just a one-year-old quilter.

Furthermore, this experience solidified something I caught intimations of when I made my Hope Valley quilt. Just cutting a not-so-loved fabric into a manageable size instead of viewing it as a big swath can change how I feel about it. (With Hope Valley, there was one fabric I did not like. But in the context of the quilt and paired with all that white fabric, I love it.)



OK, one quick question for you before you jet off to the blog of another Finish It Up Friday or Sew Cute Tuesday participant …

Do you have any recommendations on what to use as drawstrings for bags like these? I used black leather cording for mine, but I’m not completely sold on it. In the past, I’ve used shoestrings for pouches for kids because they’re nice and durable. I like the look of ribbon until the pouch has been used a few times and the ribbon is no longer looking so great. Thanks in advance for your help!

Update: OK, so I have another question. The push to purge at Stitched in Color focuses on fabric, but I also have some accessories I would like to use up. What fabrics would you pair these handles with? I’d like to use them on a Miranda Day Bag from Lazy Girl Designs, but they’re a little fancy for me. And they’re brown—I’d be more likely to use them if they were black. Do any fabric lines come to mind when you see these handles? (Hmmm … maybe I should look at Art Gallery’s current offerings?)

7 comments:

  1. Oooh, these are so cute! And how exciting that you were able to master this transformation! I really should go through my fabric stash and do the same.

    I've used ribbon on drawstring pouches before, but you're right, it can get to looking yuck. I recently purchased some twill tape, and I'm hoping that will be a good solution. In fact, I really should finish up the bag I'm working on today! :)

    Happy finishes!

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  2. When I make drawstring pouches I often make fabric "strings" in a contrasting color. I've also used the cording you can buy by the yard in the drapery section. As well, I like the satin cording by the yard for drawstring bags when I want a bit fancier look.

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  3. very cute bags, I love all the different linings.

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  4. You really took on the Purge challenge well! I am still thinking quilts for my unloved fabric, but you have inspired me to look beyond that. I use those twill/ ribbons that come around a fat quarter bundle as a drawstring

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  5. Those bags are fabulous! I often use cord by the yard for bags, though I do like the sugesstions of twill tape, that would look fabulous with these bags!

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    1. Thanks! Another thought: I just bought some dark brown suede cord to coordinate with another pouch I made. Ah, so many pouch options, so little time!

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  6. OK, you've got me! Yours is the first blog I've signed up for and the reason is your wonderful descriptions and insights into the quilts. I really enjoy your stories and, more importantly, the ideas you generate from them. When I go on your blog, I find myself clicking on the many quilts and other sites you mention in the writing. It is amazing to me what is out there. As a short-time (2 yr) quilter, I am hooked, and will continue to look to you for inspiration.

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Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! I almost always respond to comments by email. If my response might interest others, I'll also post it here. If you've commented on my blog and never received a response, you're likely a no-reply blogger.