I tackled the doonas found in the cupboard of shame and felt pretty pleased with myself. The next item I wanted to clear off my to-do list was the bag of leftover men’s shirt fabric – fabric pieces that were too small to use in the shirt quilt I made for my dad, but large enough to be useful.
I thought I would make a simple quilt top, a little in the style of Rita from Red Pepper Quilts: lots of squares and nothing fancy, letting the fabric be the star. Lately, I have had enough fancy-piecing showing off with Dear Jane!
When I started collecting my husband’s cast-off shirts, I planned to add a splash of solid red to the quilt I made from them, but I reconsidered when I decided it would go to Dad. He is not really a red kind of guy. Basic blue is more his style, so I made my first shirt quilt very blue and manly. This time, with no one to please but myself, I made a girly shirt quilt – one with flowers. I pulled out two floral fabrics with red and blue, a handful of red and white prints, and the leftovers of the backing fabric from my last shirt quilt. I added one text print with washing instructions (misspelled French, obviously a fabric from Japan!) for fun and as a nod to the washing instructions tags found in clothing.
The quilt is made up of 306 4½-inch squares. I cut as many squares as I could from the shirt fabric I had and then added some colourful squares from my quilting fabrics until the mix looked about right. I used the leftovers of the dozen shirts from my last shirt quilt and a good chunk of two shirts my husband had contributed to my collection since last year.
I still have one intact shirt, a few large pieces and a lot of useful fabric (a whisker too small to cut 4½-inch squares). As I was sewing up the last strips, my husband says, ‘Oh, I think I will have a few more shirts to throw out soon. A few are looking a little worn.’ More shirts?! I doubt I will ever run out of shirt fabric!
The top is simple, but I am rather fond of it. I now have to decide whether I am going to try to quilt it myself with straight lines or send it out to a friend with a long-arm machine. I want to practise quilting, but I also want to get on to other projects.
My fabric diet is a diet, not a famine, and one of my loopholes is that I am allowing myself to buy backing fabric when nothing in my stash will work. I had a look in two local quilt shops but did not find anything. Instead, I have ordered something online. I carefully avoided taking even a peek during the Thanksgiving sales because of my fabric diet, only to realise now – when the bargains are gone – that I have nothing to back this with. Silly me!
I have not decided on a final name for this quilt, but as it is a shirt quilt, but a feminine one, and a feminine shirt is a blouse, I am drifting towards ‘Big Girl’s Blouse’. Does everyone know that phrase and its meaning or is it one of the many quirky British/Australian phrases I have grown up with? The quilt also makes me think of a picnic on a sunny day. It is a bit small for a bed quilt, at 68 x 72 inches, so maybe a picnic blanket might be its future role. Name ideas would be welcome!
But, here is the rub. I have now tackled two items found in the cupboard of shame; the doonas became cushion inserts. and the bag of men’s shirt fabric is on its way to becoming a quilt. However, I have gained two new projects: the cushion inserts need covers (I have chosen the appliqué design and fabric to match our new sofa), and the rest of the shirt fabric needs to be made into something. There is still a lot of useable fabric left. At the moment, I am toying with the idea of using it to make randomly pieced cushion covers, which I think might suit my stepdaughter’s house.
Aagh! I am never going to empty the cupboard of shame! I have taken two steps forward and two steps back!