Thursday, May 3, 2012

Quilting with Birch Fabrics

Birch Fabrics was kind enough to send us some very cute 100% organic cotton fabric to play around with!

I take absolutely NO credit for making this quilt.  I roped my mother-in-law, Kathleen, who is a master quilter- to create a wall hanging quilt with the Birch fabrics. She was too kind to give in! The original plan was for her to teach me how to make a simple quilt, but when she saw the adorable whimsical printed fabric, she was excited to create her own with her own unique style.  I was happy to let her take the lead, she is so very talented. We couldn't wait to see what she would come up with.

Kathleen is an incredible creative quilter, she loves to go beyond the traditional. She has been involved in an art quilt group for years that encourages the members to be expressive with fabric and not use patterns. I love taking a peek in her sewing room to see what she is up to. Our family has been blessed to receive so many of her beautiful quilts.
Kathleen used the Commute and Mod Basics fabric line 
from Birch Fabrics to create the quilt. 

"Birch Fabrics was created in an effort to provide an environmentally friendly cotton alternative to the quilting and crafting community. Is produced from 100% organic cotton, and printed with low impact dyes. Birch fabrics, mixes retro style with whimsical juvenile accents that lend themselves perfectly to nursery bedding, while still being sophisticated enough for pillows on your sofa, or curtains in your craft room."

What a great idea to use organic fabrics, especially if you are sewing for a baby's room, or children.

Kathleen used a free form rotary cutting method to piece the quilt. The Commute fabric is filled with bicycles, airplanes and buildings. She envisioned curves similar to roads, rivers and  trails that one would travel on. The free form method is the perfect way to quilt the curves.  
When you free form cut with a rotary tool, there's no pattern, just whatever your imagination and free hand can come up with.  As seen in the picture below, you first place BOTH right sides up, overlapping about 1/2 inch.  Then you cut to create the curves. She then used the first piece as a pattern to create the next piece, and so on...building as you go. Then you just stand back and see what you need next. The more contrast you have- the more interesting it is.  Add contrast with color and pattern.  Kathleen encourages you to do it the way you want to, and not follow the traditional rules. Be expressive! 
Next, she took the matching seams and sewed them together.
Sew right sides together with a 1/8th inch seam.  
When she was finished piecing the top, she squared it up on the sides.
For batting, Kathleen used 80 percent cotton / 20 percent polyester Hobb's heirloom batting.
She then machine quilted each fabric section with curved lines, circles, and squares.  Again, no rules, just being expressive.

For the binding, she used left over scraps to make a 2 1/2 inch strip, folded in half.  Kathleen calls it a "scrappy binding." I love the mix of colors!
Isn't it great?  I love the non-traditional look! Thank you to my sweet Mother-in-law! 
The quilt is now on it's way to Quilt Market for Birch Fabrics.

If any of want to learn basic piecing and quilting, I will be back soon (with Kathleen's help), to share a simple beginner's quilt with the adorable Birch fabrics.  I have a bicycle loving son that is saving a spot on his wall for the quilt. 

(To purchase Birch Fabrics online, you can go to

Nicole is busy working on Teacher Door decorations this week and tomorrow she will be back to share some of the great ideas from her school!


Becky said...

Oh my! I love that quilt! So, so beautiful!

Krystal said...

I love it! That is the perfect style for that happy fabric! I want to be a quilter when I grow up.... sigh!

Angela Lee said...

That has to be one of the most beautiful quilts I've seen. I even pinned it for others to see. Did she freehand the quilting or was it done on a long arm?

Kristen Whitby said...

Is it just me, or is every stinking person in your family just oozing with talent!? So so so pretty!

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