Thursday, February 28, 2013

O' Todera Lucky Shamrock Brooches Tutorial

O' Todera Lucky Shamrock Brooches

I can't help it.  I was predisposed to love St. Patrick's day:  I'm ¾ Irish.  I remember my grandparents teaching us to say 'Erin go bragh!'  I'm from Chicago.  I think all rivers and beer should be dyed green on March 17th.  And the real St. Patrick?  A total badass.

So adding shamrocks to the O' Todera fabric brooch crew- no brainer.

This pattern goes perfectly with the green from the Photochrome line of fabrics- the shading lends a bit if extra ooph to those 3D petals!

Make one for yourself, and more for your friends!  Click here for the link to the tutorial!

Erin go bragh!

Try a four leaf or three leaf version!

Shown here in Photochrome Petals #Y1099-21 by La Todera for Clothworks

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Uncle Jeff-Jeff and Memory Quilts

I actually started using recycled fabrics a few years ago when I made a series of memory quilts for some friends of mine.

Our dear friend, partner, brother, and son, Jeffrey Tarkington passed away 6 years ago this past Valentines' day.  

To commemorate his short, but very bright life, and hopefully bring a bit of comfort to his loved ones, I embarked on a series of memory quilts using Jeff's clothing.  In order to stretch the usable fabric, as well as add a bit of contrast, I added some commercial fabric to all of the quilts.  To prepare the cotton shirting fabric, I used the same method described in the previous post.

Here's the first one, which I made for Jeff's sister and her hubby.  I chose a log cabin design, and put a bright orange in the center 'hearth' position.  

It's said that at the very moment that Jeff passed over, the fire going in the room where he was gave a mighty huff of brightness.   There was no question in my mind what pattern to use for this quilt!

Here you can see all of Jeff's bright plaid shirts and even some camo pants!

Front of Theresa's quilt.

Back of Theresa's quilt.
Detail of Theresa's quilt- hearth section of block.

Detail of Theresa's quilt- hearth section of another block.

Label on Theresa's quilt.

The second quilt was for Jeff's sweet 'Daddy.'  Here you can see Mr. Tarkington with his quilt.  I used a similar design here.  Instead of the the fire in the 'hearth' section of the block, I used a starry type fabric, as Mr. Tarkington was a firm believer in the Lord and that he'd see Jeff in heaven.

Mr. Owen Tarkington with his quilt.

Front of Mr. Tarkington's quilt.

Back of Mr. Tarkington's quilt.

Detail of Mr. Tarkington's quilt.

Block of Mr. Tarkington's quilt.

Label on Mr. Tarkington's quilt.

The following quilt was made for Jeff's partner Todd.  This one uses Jeff's favorite Tshirts.  Todd has told me many, many times how much he loves this quilt.  He just told me the other day that there was one Tshirt of Jeff's that he couldn't part with at the time, and now he really wishes it was in the quilt!
(If you'd like to make a T-shirt quilt, the fabric preparation is bit different.  I'll be writing more about that in the near future.)  P.S., T-shirt make some of the comfiest quilts ever!

Todd's quilt made with Tshirts.

 Well it wasn't too long after Jeff passed that his Daddy went to be with the Lord (and Jeff. )  So I made some quilts from his shirts too.  This one was for his daughter Theresa:

Theresa's quilt from her dad's shirts.

Detail of Theresa's quilt.

Detail of Theresa's quilt- this little raccoon image was saved from a baseball hat if I'm not mistaken :)

And this one was for Mr. Tarkington's sweetheart, Ms. Georgia.  I challenged myself not to add any extra fabric in this one.

Ms. Georgia's quilt.

Detail of Ms. Georgia's quilt.

Closeup on Ms. Georgia's quilt.

Label on Ms. Georgia's quilt.

So you can probably guess by now how much I love this family.  If you want to know why, I'll just leave you with the following story about Jeff, the main character in this post:

One of the sweetest memories I have:

Went to Nashville in '04 with the kids to visit Uncle Todd Todd and Uncle Jeff Jeff. We went to a shopping center, and the Uncles wanted to take the kiddies to an arcade.

Uncle Jeff, who loved a good 'claw' machine was trying to win Liam the stuffed dinosaur that Liam (3 yrs old) had been hankering for. 

Try as he might, the claw machine just wasn't cooperating, and about $25 later(!), Uncle Jeff Jeff was out of dollar bills.

Jeff was NOT leaving without getting that dinosaur for Liam. He hunted down the manager and actually talked him into opening up that machine to get that dinosaur for Liam!

I don't think anyone has ever done anything so damn sweet for of my kids. I'll never forget that day as long as I live  :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Upcyling Fabric for your projects

Some of you know that besides my passion for designing fabrics, I love to upcycle fabrics as well!

You can often find me haunting the local (and not so local!) Goodwill and Community Thrift shops for goodies.

My very fave are wildly colored mens striped shirts!  I just love em!  Fortunately, Florida seems to have a lot of loud shirt wearing guys :)  Thank you, gentlemen!

Want to see how I get 'em ready for sewing projects?  Have a lookie-loo here at this lil something I put together for y'all:

More often than not, the shirts are 100% cotton.  But if they have a bit of poly (say, up to 25%)  I don't let it bother me.  Of course the bigger the size the better- more fabric for the same price.  When I find a XXL shirt in a great color, you will see me doing a happy dance in the aisle.  Can't help it.  The kids do pretend not to know me, that's all...

Are women's shirts fair game, you ask? Why yes they are!  There are some fab ladies shirts out there.  Just be prepared to get out your seam ripper- most women's shirts have darts in the front and the back to make them more fitted.  And most of the time, those darts are just 'sewn in.'  Meaning that once you unpick them, you'll have an expanse of fabric to use.  But sometimes, especially on cheaper brands, those darts have been 'cut' in.  And when you unpick them, you'll end up with a bunch of small (less desirable) sections of fabric to work with.  Just beware.

So you've gathered up a stash for yourself?  Now what?  Use them in all kinds of projects!!   I love to challenge myself to make projects using 100% recycled fabric.  I also like to combine upcycled fabric with new commercial fabrics.  

Some of my favorite projects were put together in Kaffe Fassett color workshops:

Big Bang quilt (pattern by Kaffe Fasset and Liza Lucy)

Kaffe Fasset during critique of quilts in Big Bang workshop

Floral Snowball quilt made in Kaffe Fassett workshop

Detail of Floral Snowball quilt made in Kaffe Fassett workshop.  Many recycled fabric is this quilt- note the striped shirt cornerstones.

Kaffe Fassett during critique of quilts in Gridlock (pattern by Kaffe Fasset)  workshop
Rosita quilt (pattern by Liza Lucy) made in Liza/ Kaffe workshop

Upcycled fabrics are also great in smaller projects:
Asian Fan purses (La Todera pattern) incorporating upcycled stripies.

Slipper Orchid (La Todera pattern) incorporating upcycled stripies.

Camelia Gigantus Brooch (La Todera pattern) made with a ladies striped shirt.

Have you used upcycled fabric in your projects?  Would love to see them!