Lectures & Workshops
Color: A Step-by-Step Tutorial
This is the lecture I have always wanted to present! How, exactly, do I plan and make a quilt? Which comes first, the design idea or the fabric? How to I "hunt and gather" fabric for a quilt? How does pattern affect color in fabrics? For the first portion of the lecture I show digital step-by-step images and describe my methods of choosing, auditioning, and editing fabrics. A trunk show of quilts and wearables wraps it all up.
One hour. Fee: $475.
A Kaffe Fassett Extravaganza
Join Heidi Emmett and me for a fast-paced, fun-filled lecture on one of the biggest names in quiltmaking. Kaffe's patterned, striped, and shot-cotton fabrics have been favorites with quilterslike usfor decades, but he's just as famous for his knitting, needlepoint, and mosaics. Our program includes a short bio (he's a fascinating artist), two brief video interviews in which he discusses his color philosophy and sources of inspiration, and a trunk show of our quilts and wearables made from his fabrics and yarns.
One hour. Fee: $450.
Buying Fabric with Color in Mind
I’m often asked, “Where do you find these fabulous fabrics?” As quilters we have endless sources, but choosing fabric with color in mind takes an awareness of basic color concepts and the qualities that make fabrics special. In this digital-image presentation and trunk show, you’ll learn how to select fabrics for successful quilts and avoid the pitfalls when building your stash.
Digital images, quilts, garments, and framed pieces. One hour. Fee: $475.
Magic Fabrics/Special Effects
Put simply, magic fabrics give a quilt light and life. Some suggest light coming from below the surface (luminosity) or bouncing across the surface (luster). Others imply that see-through colors overlap to create new color mixtures (transparency). What constitutes a magic fabric? I describe many as “shot with light.” They usually display variations in valuelight areas among darker areas, or light-to-dark gradationsand they typically contain warm colors. Batiks, hand-dyes, and hand-painted fabrics have a dappled quality; some commercial fabrics appear to “smolder,” an illusion that lends depth and warmth to even the simplest quilts.
Twenty-four digital images (I provide the projector), numerous blocks, quilts, garments, and framed pieces. One hour. Fee: $475.
Color! Color! Color! (lecture)
This fast-paced lecture begins with a look at the three color characteristics common to all quilts and garments: value, temperature, and intensity. These terms sound academic, yet they, as much as color itself, are the key to making great quilts. Learn how to use the color wheel to create fresh, unexpected color combinations. Slides of quilts from nationally known quilters are followed by my quilts and a mini fashion show of my garments.
One hour. Slides, color wheel, quilts, and garments. Fee: $475.
Color Camp: A One-day Retreat (workshop)
Do you stress when it’s time to choose colors and fabrics for a new quilt? Do you wish you had a better “color sense”? You need to go on retreat to gain a new perspective. You need to come to Color Camp!
This no-sew workshop based on Christine's new book, The Quilter's Color Club, consists of cut-and-paste color studies, with lots of help from the teacher and group critique of every block. The first three mock-block exercises focus on value (light and dark), temperature (warm and cool), and intensity (bright and dull). These characteristics, more than color itself, determine the impact of a quilt. An overview of the color wheel and a final exercise expose students to this invaluable (and amazing) tool for quilters. It’s lots of creative fun, and you’ll leave “Color Camp” with fresh ideas for working with color. Six hours. Mini lecture, exercises, and critique; sample blocks, quilts, and garments. Fee: $625. Lab fee: $4.
Color Camp (supply list)
- Rotary cutter, ruler, and mat
- Glue stick (make sure it's fresh)
- Fabric for exercises (see below)
- A color wheel, if you already have one. I provide a mini wheel for every student, or you can buy my color wheel in class ($13). My new color book will also be available in class.
- $4 lab fee
To create the most successful color studies, you'll need a wide variety of fabrics in different colors, values, intensities, and patterns. Bring or buy ¼ yard or larger pieces; scraps are fine if they are at least 9” square.
Bring beautiful fabric! I do not want to hear anyone say, “I didn’t have time, so I just grabbed some fabric from my stash.” You can’t learn about color using a handful of rag-tag fabrics! Spend the time and shop to have a broad selection of great fabrics; you'll have much more fun and success with outstanding fabrics than with ordinary ones. Include both multi-colored prints and fabrics that are predominantly one color, such as tone-on-tone. You can work with solids, but be aware that they don’t always “marry well’ with printed fabrics. Stripes, as you will soon discover, are magical fabrics, so include them too. Also bring a few black-and-white fabrics if you have them.
Hint: I use a lot of mottled or dappled fabrics, especially hand-dyes and batiks, because they add depth and luminosity to a quilt. There are many other fabrics available that are “shot with light,” and they work beautifully.
It's very important to have a good mix of valueslights, mediums, and darksin colors from all around the color wheel. Most of us have plenty of mediums and darks. Lights are harder to come by. Don't go too dark or too light, however; very dark fabrics often read as black, and very light fabrics read as white.
There are twelve colors on the Prang color wheel. Following is a list of these colors, with just a few common names in parentheses to help you visualize what they look like. (In reality, there are many versions of each color.) Try to bring at least one light, medium, and dark for each color.
- Yellow (primary yellow, daffodil)
- Yellow-green (olive, apple green)
- Green (grass green, mint)
- Blue-green (turquoise, teal)
- Blue (primary blue, slate)
- Blue-violet (periwinkle, iris)
- Violet (purple, eggplant)
- Red-violet (magenta, fuchsia)
- Red (primary red, brick)
- Red-orange (terra cotta, salmon)
- Orange (pumpkin, spice)
- Yellow-orange (mango, cheddar)
Organize your fabrics by color. She who brings the most and best-organized fabric wins! I provide a small “fabric library,” arranged by color, for you to use if you get stuck. But you should still shop for and organize your own fabrics. When in doubt, buy and bring more fabric!
Modern Color (workshop)
What is modern color? What kinds of colors/fabrics make a quilt modern? Modern quilts are typically minimal and stylized, with simple, graphic designs. "Modern traditional" combines classic blocks and contemporary colors for a more transitional style. Plain solids, shot cottons, and graphic prints are widely used, as are low-volume (light-value) fabrics, which often function as background pieces or, in larger areas, negative space. Through a series of traditional and original cut-and-paste exercises, you'll learn basic color concepts and new strategies, such as my recipe for "asymmetrical color," and discover new ways to work with color in your quilts. (For longer workshops, you'll begin a quilt based on one of my patterns, or a pattern of your choice.) It's a fresh take on color, and it's fun! Six hours. Fee: $625. Lab fee: $4. Email me for the supply list.
Swizzle Sticks (workshop)
In this modular quilt I combined solids and prints and separated the horizontal rows in each block with "swizzle-stick" strips. There are only three different block designs, each repeated three times, so it's faster than it might look. My quilt features plain solids, but semi-solid fabrics would work just as well. Black-and-white dotted sashing spaces out the blocks, while four patches tie it all together. My technique for adding the skinny strips makes everything lie flat and straight. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $8. Email me for the supply list.
Urban Sunsets (workshop)
Learn about color, value, and pattern, plus my technique for making super-skinny strips in this modern-quilt workshop. Three related (but not matching) fabrics make up each center unit. Narrow black-and-white strips inserted asymmetrically between the "segments" define and separate the fabrics. You'll also learn how to cut and add the ombré borders to make it appear as if light is sweeping across the surface. (The gray ombré will be available in class.) Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $8. Email me for the supply list.
It was love at first sighton Pinterest, no lesswhen I first saw this graphic block, often with the name of Japanese X and Plus block. What an opportunity for creative work with color! Each block is its own cohesive "color story" and could easily stand alone. Put nine different-colored blocks together, and the bold (almost chaotic) pattern comes alive. The workshop begins with the concepts essential to making each block readcolor, pattern, and value. I do a demo on cutting and piecing the block, which is a cinch even for beginners. It's fast, and it's fun! Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $8. Email me for the supply list.
Urban Ombrés (workshop)
Ombré fabrics, with their subtle gradations in value and color, suggest luster and light in this minimal quilt, which appeared in the Winter, 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork. (If you don't already have that issue, you'll need to buy it from me the day of the class, $16.) The center units are made with Marcia Derse prints and assorted colored ombrés. The outer strips are cut from a gray ombré. Feel free to make it your own by using other prints and solid fabrics. Six hours. Fee: $625.
Urban Ombrés (supply list)
- Sewing machine and basic supplies
- Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler. A 17-inch rotating rotary mat is ideal for trimming the center units and the blocks.
- Best Press spray starch. This is invaluable in cutting and pressing the blocks; I like the unscented version.
- 1¼ yards of gray ombré fabric for the blocks
- Chubby eighth or more of nine assorted prints for the center units. Nine different scraps are fine; they must be large enough to cut 4" x 4½" rectangles.
- 5"-wide strips of nine assorted colored ombrés to surround the center rectangles
- 1/8 yard of black-and-white striped fabric to surround the print rectangles
- ¼ yard of white-and-black striped fabric for the narrow outer border
- 2¾ yards of fabric for the backing and facings (not needed for class)
Note: You can purchase a kit of the gray ombré, colored ombrés, and Marcia Derse prints from me the day of the class for $45. I'm out of the black-and-white fabrics, and the Marcia Derse prints may vary, depending on availability.
Transparent Squares (workshop)
Layered transparencythe illusion of layers of see-through coloris surprisingly easy to achieve when the values are just right. In this modern minimalist quilt, light center squares seem to float above the darker shapes. Sections of gray ombré appear to flow underneath the blocks, enhancing the sense of light and movement.
Transparent Squares (supply list)
- Sewing machine and basic supplies
- Rotary cutter, rulers, and mat. I suggest one 6" x 24" ruler and one 4" x 14" ruler. (A 6" x 12" ruler is too short.)
- 6½" squares of eight different lighter-value colors
- 1/8 or ¼* yard of eight different darker-value colors
- 1½ yards of gray ombré fabric, available in class
*¼ yard allows for a cutting mistake, but you can get by with 1/8-yard pieces.
I used shot cottons, but you can use plain solids or semi-solid fabrics that have subtle, low-contrast patterns. Highly patterned fabrics aren't effective for transparencies.
It's helpful if you can pair a light value and a darker value of the same or a similar color; for example, a light-value orange (peach) and a darker-value orange (burnt orange). They don't need to be exact; see the blocks in my quilt.
Hint: As much as you can, maintain a consistent intensity among your fabrics. That is, don't mix bright brights and muted colors. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $10.
Lustrous Squares II (workshop)
Simple blocks with "spinning borders" and red flanges stand out against the highly patterned black-and-white sashing in this quilt. The class begins with a group evaluation of students' fabrics, followed by a demo on adding the borders to the blocks using the partial seam technique. I will also demo my method for adding straight, consistent flanges to the blocks before sewing the sashing. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $10. Email me for the supply list.
Sassy Circles II (workshop)
Shadowed circles look light-and-airy when framed by sashing. The class begins with a discussion of the role contrast plays in creating successful blocks, followed by a demo on making the shadows and circles, appliquéing the shadows and circles to the background, and stitching accurate sashing. My circles are from Kaffe Fassett prints, but you can use any patterned fabrics. I chose a black-and-white stripe for the shadows (I just couldn't resist) but you can use a solid or patterned black. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern (includes template): $12.
Sassy Circles II (supply list)
- sewing machine with basic supplies, plus a zigzag or appliqué foot. (You need a foot that allows you to clearly see the needle piercing the fabric. Practice your appliqué stitch before coming to class.)
- pattern, available in class
- rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
- 10-inch strips of nine different colored ombrés for background triangles. Kit available in class: $32.
- 9" square of nine different patterned fabrics for circles (more, if you want to isolate certain motifs in each fabric)
- ¼ yard of black or black-and-white stripe for shadows
- 1¼ yards of white-and-black fabric for sashing and binding
- 1 1/8 yards of backing fabric (not needed for class; can be pieced)
- sharp fabric scissors
- paper scissors
- 2 yards or more of freezer paper
- neutral or monofilament thread to appliqué the circles
Lustrous Squares (workshop)
Make the most of those amazing ombré (gradated) fabrics with this simple, graphic quilt. You’ll need to purchase the kit of nine ombré fabrics (as 5-inch-wide strips) and the pattern, available in class or in the Store. You supply the multicolored center fabrics and black-and-white border fabric. (I’ll offer tips on how to chose the border fabric.) The block construction couldn’t be simplerfour strips “spin” around the center squarebut there’s a trick to adding the strips to create the lustrous look. It’s a super-simple quilt, but it delivers a powerful punch of color! Six hours. Fee: $600.
Lustrous Squares (supply list)
- Pattern ($8; available in class)
- Fabric kit of “Gelato” or “Gradations” ombré strips
- Rotary cutter, ruler, and mat. In addition to a ruler for cutting strips, a 6” square ruler is very helpful.
- Sewing machine with basic sewing supplies
- Fat quarter or chubby eighth of nine different fabrics for block centers. I suggest you bring more than nine fabrics to audition the possibilities.
- 1 3/8 yards of large-scale black-and-white fabric for border and binding (not needed for class, but bring a border fabric to consider, if you have one in mind).
Black Opals & Ribbon Candy (workshop)
You’ll see the potential for secondary patterns in other traditional quilt designs after making this quiltguaranteed! The workshop begins with a crash course in colorvalue, temperature, and intensityfollowed by an evaluation of students’ fabrics and step-by-step instructions for making the black-opal units and ribbon-candy segments. We’ll also discuss suitable border fabrics. Six hours. Fee: $600.
Black Opals & Ribbon Candy (supply list)
- Pattern ($8; available in class)
- 6" x 12" pieces of 16 different medium-value, intense fabrics for inner triangles
- 6" x 12" pieces of 16 different darker-value, less-intense fabrics for outer triangles
- 3/8 yard of medium-value batik* for background squares
- 2/3 yard of medium-value woven plaid* for background ribbon-candy segments.
- 1¼ yards of medium-value lengthwise stripe* for background ribbon-cand segments. Note: The stripe I used is now available on Kaffe Fassett’s website, www.gloriouscolor.com, item number MUHS-4472, “Blush Multi Haze Stripes.” This quantity, 1¼ yards, is enough for two quilts, so team up with a friend
- ¼ yard of gradated, multicolor fabric for narrow inner border (not needed for workshop)
- 1 1/3 yards of stylized fabric for outer border and binding (not needed for workshop)
*For the batik, woven plaid, and lengthwise strips, you can use other fabrics, as long as they are similar to the values specified.
- Sewing machine with basic sewing supplies
- Rotary equipment
- Thread to blend with your fabrics
- Thangles triangle papers, 4" x 4". Thangles triangle papers are great for this project. They allow you to make just four half-square triangle units from two fabrics, giving you a wide variety of units for your quilt.
This dazzling special effect is surprisingly easy to achieve, once you understand a few simple concepts: When you surround a relatively small area of warm, intense color with a larger area of cooler, less-intense, darker color, your quilt will appear to glow, as if light and warmth are coming from behind.
This one-day workshop begins with a crash course in color, followed by evaluation of your fabrics to ensure success. Then you’ll begin cutting and piecing your blocks. Along the way, I’ll have lots of tips for making the process easier and more accurate. I’ll also go over how to cut and attach the “spinning” borders. Six hours. Fee: $625.
Luminosity (supply list)
Luminaria pattern ($4.50; available in class)
Your fabric choices are what make this quilt work. Gather:
- Warm, intense colors for the centers of the blocks. On the color wheel, warm intense colors are brilliant yellow-green, yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, and red.
- Cooler, less-intense, darker colors for the strips surrounding the center. On the color wheel, the cool colors are green through violet.
Batiks, hand-dyes, and mottled fabrics that appear to be “shot with light” work beautifully. Study the photo of my quilt to help you choose your fabrics. If you look at the image, you’ll see many batiks, but I used a few prints and stripes, too.
For the blocks, you’ll need:
- 16 different squares, each 6½ inches, of warm, intense fabrics.
- 1/8 yard each of 16 cooler, less-intense, darker fabrics.
If you want to simplify my quilt, you’ll need ¼ yard each of eight warm, intense fabrics and ¼ yard each of eight cooler, less-intense, darker fabrics. With these amounts, your fabrics will repeat more often in the quilt and the effect will not be as complex.
A very important note: For your cooler, less-intense, darker fabrics, don’t go too dark or too dull. You need a few brighter, medium-dark fabrics to give your quilt life. If your fabrics that surround the center squares are all drab, your quilt will be drab too; this is the most common mistake students make in choosing their fabrics.
For the border and binding, you’ll need
- 1 3/4 yds. fabric for borders and straight-cut binding. To make bias-cut binding, you’ll need a total of 2 1/2 yds. You won’t need these fabrics for class.
- Sewing machine
- Basic sewing supplies, including thread that blends with your fabrics
- Rotary ruler, cutter, and mat, A second ruler (such as 6 x 12 inches, or 4 x 14 inches) is very helpful for “whacking” the basic blocks. A 17-inch rotating mat is also very helpful, but not required.
Elegant Circles (workshop)
The workshop begins with a discussion of the role of value in creating depth and volume in a quilt design, followed by an overview of the process for creating the circles, shadows, and background triangle squares. A step-by-step demo of basting the fabric circles using an iron and appliquéing the circles and shadows to the background makes these techniques doable for all skill levels. Six hours. Fee: $625.
Elegant Circles (supply list)
- Pattern ($12; available in class)
- Circle fabric
Choose fabrics with medium- or large-scale patterns. The circle fabrics should contrast in value with the dark shadow and the background fabrics (below). You’ll need enough fabric to cut nine different 6-inch circlesbut bring more fabrics so you’ll have a variety to audition. Don’t cut any circles ahead of time.
- Background triangle fabric
My quilt uses two different kinds of fabric for the background triangles: hand-painted fabrics from Elin Noble in the lower left of each block, and slightly variegated solids in the upper right of each block. The most important aspect of your background fabrics is that they contrast with each other and with the patterned circles. Using just two fabrics, you’ll need 1/2 yard of fabric for the lower left triangles and 1/2 yard for the upper right triangles. Using a variety of fabrics, you’ll need enough to cut nine triangles for the lower left and nine triangles for the upper right. Translation: bring plenty of fabric!
- Shadow fabric
I used a subtle charcoal-and-black print, not a solid black. A subtle pattern with some lighter areas keeps the shadows from looking heavy. You’ll need 1/4 yard.
- Border fabric
Strive for a fabric that contrasts with the blocks enough to make them read as separate from the border. You’ll need 1/2 yard. If using a different fabric for each border, you’ll need 1/4 yard of each.
- Corner squares
You’ll be able to cut your corner squares from the triangle fabrics.
- Sewing machine with basic supplies, plus a zigzag or appliqué foot. (You need a foot that allows you to clearly see the needle piercing the fabric.)
- Rotary equipment
- Sharp fabric scissors
- 1½ yards of freezer paper
- Clear and/or smoke monofilament thread to blend with your fabrics
- Paper scissors
- Fabric markers for light and dark fabrics
- Clear tape
- Small quilter's iron or travel iron (optional) and insulated pad
Happy Jacket (workshop)
The key to happiness in making this sweatshirt jacket is using the right fabrics for your sweatshirt. The class begins with a group evaluation of each student's fabrics to learn what will work, what won't, and why. (You should bring more than the number of fabrics indicated, to have a broad selection to choose from.) Once you settle on the fabrics, you'll cut an assortment of bias strips, glue-baste them to the sweatshirt foundation, and stitch close to the raw edges of each strip. You'll then surface-stitch your sweatshirt as much or as little as you like. Before the class ends, I'll show you how to make the chenille circles and attach the rick-rack and binding. (I'll have the rick-rack, from Rainbow Resource, available at the time of the class; see below.) See Gallery.
Six hours. Fee: $600.
Happy Jacket (supply list)
Note: Do not prewash your sweatshirt or your fabrics. Do remove the ribbing on the sweatshirt, and take it apart at the side and underarm seams so you can lay it flat.
- Happy Jacket pattern ($4.50, available in class)
- Sweatshirt two sizes larger than your desired finished size. Make sure it has standard, not raglan, sleeves. Before the workshop, remove the sweatshirt ribbing at the bottom and the cuffs (leave the neck ribbing as is) and take the sweatshirt apart at the side and underarm seams so you can lay the garment out flat.
- Twelve fabrics (at least) roughly similar in value (lightness or darkness) to your sweatshirt. You want the fabrics to "read" as separate strips, yet not jump out from the sweatshirt. Avoid batiks or other tightly woven fabrics for the circles; they don't "ruffle" enough to create chenille.
I used a few stripes and one batik, but most of the fabrics were Kaffe Fassett fat quarters, each of which will yield at least one 25-inch-long bias strip, enough length to go all the way down the front of my sweatshirt. I had to "piece" other strips, placing their angled ends a bit apart on the sweatshirt. The shorter strips are perfect for the sleeves. You'll need ¾ yard of fabric for the bias binding (plan to use this fabric for the chenille circles and sweatshirt strips, too).
- Rotary equipment. A 24- by 36-inch mat and 6- by 24-inch ruler make easy work of cutting the bias strips.
- Basting glue. I used Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It!
- A walking foot is very helpful. If you don't have one, you'll need to pin the strips securely before stitching.
- Plates or circle templates to cut the chenille circles. (My small circles are 5 inches, the large ones 9 inches.)
- All-cotton thread to blend with your fabrics and sweatshirt. You'll need several standard-size spools (they can be different colors) or one large spool.
- Scissors or chenille cutting tool
- Monofilament thread for attaching the rick-rack.
- Rick-rack or other trim. I used a wonderful ½-inch hand-dyed rick-rack ($3.50/yd.) from Charlene Younker of Rainbow Resource, (707) 937-0431, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amaze your family! Fool your friends! They will be very impressed when you show them a block or quilt that incorporates the illusion of transparent color. In this special effect, one color appears to lie over another, and where the two colors overlap, a third color is formed. It takes "just-right" fabrics for successful transparencies, but when it works, wow! We start with a crash course in color, then make three simple mock-blocks, followed by two more challenging ones. Six hours. Mini-lecture, exercises, critique, sample blocks. Fee: $625. Lab fee: $3.
Transparency (supply list)
- The Quilter's Color Club (optional; available in class)
- Rotary mat, ruler, and cutter (treat yourself to a new blade)
- Two regular-size glue sticks or one large one (make sure they're fresh)
You’ll need a wide variety of fabrics, from all around the color wheel. Following is a list of the twelve colors on the wheel with just a few common names in parentheses to help you visualize what they look like. (In reality, there are many versions of each color.) Try to bring at least one light, medium, and dark for each color listed here: you’ll have greater success (and more fun) with lots of fabrics!
Yellow (primary yellow, daffodil)
Yellow-green (olive, apple green)
Green (grass green, mint)
Blue-green (turquoise, teal)
Blue (primary blue, slate)
Blue-violet (periwinkle, iris)
Violet (purple, eggplant)
Red-violet (magenta, fuchsia)
Red (primary red, brick)
Red-orange (terra cotta, salmon)
Orange (pumpkin, spice)
Yellow-orange (mango, cheddar)
- Avoid fabrics that are very light or very dark. They tend to read as white or black. Organize your fabrics by color. When in doubt, bring more fabric!
- In addition to the colors on the color wheel, bring some multicolor fabrics, in particular pieces where the colors look a bit mixed, swirled, or otherwise combined in a contemporary way (as opposed to a realistic floral, for example.)
- It's best if multicolor fabrics contain only a few colors.
- Fabrics that are mottled, dappled, or "shot with light" are wonderful for creating transparencies. Batiks and hand-dyes have lots of potential, but any fabric that has the sensation of light coming from behind or shining through from above has possibilities. Having said that, avoid batiks that look "muddy" and dense; they aren't effective in transparencies.
I provide the printed sheets for the mock-block exercises and a mini color wheel, or you can buy my color wheel ($13) in class. If you already have a color wheel, bring it. I also provide a “fabric library,” arranged by color, for you to use if you get stuck.
Collage Vest (workshop)
Fabric collage and surface stitching combine to create a sophisticated vest that makes the most of color, pattern, and texture. The workshop begins with examples of harmonious (but not matching) fabrics for collage. Then the fun begins: you'll develop your composition on your foundation fabric, then pin the pieces and anchor the raw edges. I'll demonstrate surface stitching and go over the how-tos of finishing. My Kimono Collage vest pattern will be available in class, or bring your own favorite pattern. Six hours. Fee: $625.
Collage Vest (supply list)
- Sewing machine
- Vest pattern
- Foundation fabric
You'll need enough to cut out your vest front and back pieces plus 1/3 yard. (You must cut the foundation pieces with an extra 1 1/2-2 inches on each edge.) Choose a fabric you like a lot because it becomes the inside of your vest. If you plan to buy my pattern, you'll need fabric to total approximately twice the measurement from the high point on your shoulder to your hip bone, plus the 1/3 yard.
- Collage fabric
- 1/3 yard of main fabric
- 1/4 yard of 8 to 10 other fabrics
- 1/4 yard of fabric for binding (can be your main fabric). For bias binding, 3/4 yard or more is best.
- Scraps of 4 to 6 accent fabrics
- Rotary equipment
- Basting glue
- All-cotton neutral thread that blends with your fabrics to stitch the collage pieces to the foundation. You don't want this thread to show; a medium gray or beige usually works.
- All-cotton thread in a variety of colors for the surface stitching. For one vest, I usually use five or six spools of thread.
Hint: Choose fabrics that contrast with each other. They may have a common color or a similar "feel," but if they are over-coordinated in color, your vest will look like one piece of fabric (and you will be disappointed!). Surface stitching has a tendency to blend and blur the differences, so when in doubt, opt for fabrics with more, rather than less, contrast in:
- pattern scale (size of the motifs in the pattern; include small-, medium-, and large-scale fabrics)
- value (some light, some medium, some dark fabrics)
- temperature (some warm, some cool fabrics)
- pattern density (some open, some dense fabrics)
For your accent scraps, choose fabrics with more intense color.
Reversible Vest with Hong Kong Seam Finish (workshop)
In this color-and-design workshop, students learn how to collage a variety of raw-edge shapes onto a foundation fabric, zig zag the edges lightly with a neutral thread, and surface stitch through all layers to create a new "fabric." You can also do piecing on the right front of your vest (see my vest in the Gallery), or use just one fabric for the right front.” The Hong Kong seam finish makes the vest reversible. Six hours. Fee: $625.
- Sewing machine and basic supplies
- Rotary equipment
- Fabric Scissors
- Fine pins or basting glue (very helpful!)
- Vest pattern without darts. Students can use their own pattern, my “Kimono Collage” pattern, or my “Crossover Collage" pattern, each $13, available in class.
You have several options for the outside and the inside of your vest: Think about the outside first:
- For a collaged right front, a dozen or so fabrics, ¼ yard or more. (For accent pieces, scraps are fine.) When in doubt, bring more fabric!
- Fabric for the outside left front and back, twice the length measured from the highest point on the shoulder/neck of your vest pattern pieces to the lower edge, plus ¼ yard. With my vest patterns, the distance from the shoulder to the lower edge is 25" for the Small and 29" for the XXXXL. For a Small or Medium vest, you may need only one length if you can fit the left front and the back pattern pieces across the width of your fabric.
Now think about the inside of the vest:
- For the inside of the vestthat is, the reverse sideyou'll need enough fabric to cut two vest fronts and one vest back. They can be the same or different fabrics. If you want different fabrics for the inside, each piece must be the length measured from the highest point on the shoulder/neck to the lower edge, plus 1/8 yard.
- Osnaburg, a natural-colored, old-fashioned needlework fabric to layer between the outside and inside fabrics, instead of batting. Osnaburg looks and feels like a toothy muslin. Be sure to preshrink itit shrinks a lot! And make sure it is not wrinkle resistant. I like the Osnaburg from E.E. Schenck.
- For the collar, ¼ yard for sizes S-M, ½ yard for L-XXXX. Important note: if you want the collar to have two different sides, you will need 1/8 yard of each fabric for sizes S-M, ¼ yard for the larger sizes.
- Soft interfacing for the collar.
- For the binding, 1/3 yard for crosswise binding or 1¼ yards for bias binding, which is much nicer to work with when you bind the armholesgo for it and make your life easier!
- A neutral thread to blend with the collage fabrics, to anchor the raw edges of the collage pieces. You don’t want this thread to show.
- Variegated thread for the surface stitching, one large spool or two regular spools. You can also use a number of different solid-color threads to create a multicolored effect