I don’t know about you, but I always feel when we cross into November that we have started a new sewing and quilting year. There is a kind of feeling that it’s time to buckle down and get to sewing and enjoy fall and winter celebrations. This year in particular I feel I need some cozy stitching projects.
I think it is my favorite part of the year from now through the new year. Then we get to the flowers of spring. All of this can be used in decisions for sewing and quilting project as a kind of badly needed peaceful comforting after such a difficult period. This cozy season can be celebrated even as we continue to deal with the pandemic because we have the distinct advantage as people who sew and quilt of the 21st century of online classes, YouTube videos, and virtual quilt shows. Luckily for this time many of us have a large stash of both fabric and thread (and fabric paints, markers, and crayons). Then I am blessed with a marvelous setup in my studio with my sewing machines, plus I am “retired” to add to the anticipated fun of this season so I can spend hours a week sewing, quilting, and videoing my progress. Thank the Lord!
Sew what are you doing or planning to do during this sewing and quilting time?
What are your favorite fabrics to work with. For me, it is difficult to say. Today’s good quality fabrics all have wonderful properties and if we are fabric artists we can use them all in interesting ways.
Right now I am in a kind of wool period, but make no mistake I am also thinking about and planning on projects that will use silk, cotton, faux leather, and yes, even polyester.
Wool has a depth of character, hides mistakes well, and shapes with steam. If it is felted wool or felted wool blends it does not even require edge finishing to prevent raveling. And all in all it provides comfort and warmth if we want to make it into jackets, coats, or other fun items.
Cotton is so versatile in so many ways. But mostly I think of two things when I think of cotton…quilts and shirts. Even if working a quilt top primarily with wool I often pair it with cotton on the back to provide stability and lower the cost of the project, although cotton is almost as high as wool these days. Cotton is my go to fabric for making shirts and blouses. I love cotton and always will.
And then there is the queen of fabrics that is silk. Anywhere from rustic raw weaves to magnificent silk dupionis, satins, and brocades. I have a fair bit in my stash and I think I must use it over the next year. I count silk/cotton blend Radiance as part of my silk stash. It’s so beautiful and I keep it carefully for mostly quilted wall art, but I will make a special blouse from it or line a wool jacket with light weight silk. Wonderful stuff (as in the proper use of the word “stuff”)
Rayon is something I like the qualities of for clothing, but don’t use it very much. It has a lot of drape and beauty. I have a piece or two in my stash and will likely use it for clothing. But be certain I will wash/shrink it first. It shrinks dramatically. I once made a beautiful blouse and skirt set and failed to prewash. I loved it and it shrunk several sizes when I washed it. That was early in my sewing life.
And gasp! I love polyesters, especially crepe back satins and polyester dupionis. The addition of a little polyester in blends can lower the price and add washability and other good qualities to fabrics making them great for nearly everything. I just made a quilt entirely from polyester, except I backed and bound it with cotton. Out of Mom’s Workbasket, my most recent quilt. Polyester is made from a natural product…oil…and though it is sometimes called “plastic”, which I suppose it technically is, that is normally intended as an insult and displays a bit of ignorance of the wonderful qualities of polyester fabrics and threads. They seldom bleed their colors, they come in fabulous rich colors, weaves, and colors, they don’t shrink (both a positive and a negative depending). To add to that they are easy on the budget. In short they deserve more respect in the sewing and quilting world.
Oh, don’t forget leathers, and faux leathers and suedes. I made my youngest son a beautiful faux leather waterproof coat last winter. He hasn’t worn it much because I didn’t finish it until kind of late in the season. I have seen leather quilts. I have not seen faux leather and faux suede used in quilts. I might change that one. I have a beautiful piece of faux suede to make myself a nice jacket. We’ll see if I can fit it in.
So I suggest and plan on myself hunkering down and getting cozy with the sewing machines to use up some of my big stash. It’s a good plan, don’t you think?
Sew happy everyone! Evaluate your stash and plan your sewing season if you haven’t started already.