Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Getting Shirty

How have you all been, readers?  It's been busy, busy, busy here.  Lots going on at home and lots of quilt commissions to make.  Oooh goody.  The sunshine has made a welcome return, giving my Instagram pis a bit of a hazy glow.

In between the joyous task of making quilts for other lovely folk, I carved out a rewarding 36 hours or so for a little me-sewing-time.  I was seized by the urge to get to grips with my Liberty Tana Lawn stash.  Yummy.

I started by separating everything into bundles by colour.  I usually try to keep my fabric stash like this anyway but I guess even I must pull something out and shove it back in any old how now and then!

After a couple of hours with the ruler and rotary cutter, I had a lovely Liberty fabric buffet and it was time to refuel with a late breakfast.

I headed upstairs to my quilty den in search of a little hoarded treasure.

I found it.  I think you can guess what I had been stockpiling for a few years now.  No, I hadn't pinched all of Mr HenHouse's shirts.  Ok, I'd kept a few which had gone a little frayed round the collar or cuffs, and the rest had come from charity shops.  One thing about living in London, lots of nice work shirts discarded in good condition by city workers!

It took me quite a while to cut those 5" squares from the shirts.  Not quite so easy as cutting into a pristine fat quarter.  I also cut some vintage sheeting and some modern polka dot and striped cottons to arrive at my desired fabric buffet.

Before too long, I was sticking squares on my design wall and liking what I was seeing.

Time to spend a lovely afternoon piecing away on Jenny Janome. Piecing is pretty much my favourite thing so I was a happy lady. Many of the shirts, if they are good quality ones, are made from fine fabric very similar in feel and weight to the Tana Lawn. Some, and the vintage linens and modern cottons, were a little thicker.  It is true that patchworking together different weight fabrics is not as easy as quilting cotton.  Tana Lawn can be tricky to sew as it is thin and a little slippery.  I find it best to go down a needle size to a number 70 and use a smallish stitch size.  I had no problems.

In between, I had pleasure in despatching another pretty quilt to a cat-loving repeat customer in nearby Kent.

Time to head back upstairs once the piecing was competed, and get that quilt top basted.  It's not a thrilling job but made much easier working on a table rather than on the floor, and it's soon done whilst listening to the radio.

A finished quilt emerged, within two days of having started.

I'm really pleased with it, if I may say.  This colour scheme of soft blues, pinks and aquas is a favourite of mine.  I love the old, soft and faded look the used shirts and vintage cottons give.  I love the contrast of the prettier than pretty Liberty lawns and the utilitarian stripes and spots.  It goes without saying that the Tana Lawn and recycled fabrics feel deliciously soft and tactile.  Liberty Lawn quilts are always very lightweight, too.  Scrumptious.

I decided to treat myself to a Liberty Lawn backing and headed off to the very shop where I picked out my favourite print, Betsy, in a gorgeous china blue and pretty pink.  A polka dot pink poplin binding was the perfect finishing touch.  The Liberty Lawn backing is a bit of a nuisance to quilt, it does have a tendency to pucker, but it went well after the first main seams were in place.

Here it lives on my newly upholstered chair.  More on that and other generally chair-sy news soon.



  1. Wow you have been busy - at least I know where the sun has gone, two days of low cloud after a lovely few days of sunshine.
    Julie xxxxx

  2. Beautiful.......simply B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L x

  3. What a gorgeous quilt and such a great idea with the shirt fabrics - well done. It is just perfect! The first quilt I ever made about 33 years ago (where did those years go??!!) was with Liberty Tana Lawn - my eldest daughter still has it, but it is rather worn now. But it is a piece of my quilting past and I still love it!

  4. I love the shirt quilt the colours are just wonderful. I've just made my first quilt, oh my word it's quite an art and very time consuming. I'm full of admiration for the absolutely perfect quilts and other goodies you make. You must have the patience of a saint! And it confirmed what I already thought... that your quilts are extraordinary value for money, the amount of time and thought you put into them is astonishing. It's obvious you have a real passion for quilting and that's why you do it. Love love love your blog. Thankyou

  5. Soooo pretty! I really love it.

  6. Gorgeous! What are you making from the cuffs? Coin purse? Credit card holders? Save them up for another quilt?

  7. Hen, I agree with you about the fine quality of men's shirt shirting. So many great colors and patterns of stripes and even checks. A fair amount of yardage in each shirt, too.

    Now you've given me yet another idea of what to look for when and if I do find time to stroll through some thrift shops.

    I just keep wanting to find at least one extra day each week. We've now gone into Daylight Savings Time over here in the States, so I have recently actually lost one hour!


  8. Its just beautiful, Hen.
    Linda O xxx

  9. So beautiful, Hen, and so quickly made! I am in awe - it takes me AGES to complete anything. How clever you are! Thank you for letting us into your world. X

  10. Absolutely and utterly beautiful x

  11. Beautiful!! I have always wished for a shirt quilt but where I live, the prices at the thrift store are ridiculous; imagine 14 dollars for a shirt? I think that even if it is not of great quality, a brand new shirt could go for the same price. So I just keep dreaming maybe one day I'll hit the jackpot and find them for a great low price...Anyhow it's lovely to hear that you have been really busy creating, witch is what quilters love to do.

  12. Your quilt is beautiful and you seem to be able to make one so quickly - very impressive. Thanks for sharing
    Caz xx

  13. Lovely,just lovely. Your a wonderful quilter and your work space is awesome. Thanks for sharing your wonderful quilts!

  14. Aha! That's what I miss now I no longer live in, or get to London. The charity shops here are hardly the Aladin's cave that they are in London. Nor do we have a wonderful fabric shop withing 60 miles..... could that be why my creativity seems to have vanished?
    So now, dear Hen, I just watch watch you are up to instead.
    Love your shirt quilt....hubby - came here, I need to undress you...!

  15. What a fabulous quilt - I have never done quilting but it is something that I would love to learn. Your quits are gorgeous. Can't wait to hear about the chair the fabric looks gorgeous.

  16. A great idea to mix the shirts with liberty. I love your pink ladder display!

  17. Oooh another beautiful quilt, I've seen several made with shirting but not with a floral fabric included it's so pretty.

    Peg x

  18. Oh wow that is such a beautiful quilt and I just can't believe that you made it in just two days. Amazing! The use of the shirts is so cleverand really looks great with the patterns.

  19. Oh Yes! So pretty! I have to stop frequently and do something just for me too! I don't know that we have the "Liberty Lawn" fabrics here in Missouri but I sure like them! I use to volunteer one day a week at a thrift store in our little townl I was always bagging up fun fabric shirts, dresses and sheets for quilts.

  20. Such a gorgeous quilt - you are clever Hen! And you workroom is a delight too, especially those kitchen cabinets.

  21. How very gorgeous. Pleased to see I am not the only one cutting up hubby's shirts! It looks fab! Loving your fabric stash xoxo

  22. This is just fabulous!The shirts fabrics go so well with the Liberty fabrics! I think I must start hoarding shirts! Thanks for sharing and greetings from Germany

  23. Gorgeous quilt, congratulations

  24. Hello again Hen
    Delicious mix of fabrics as always my dear. Have you found that a bit of sun makes the world of difference to 'getting on' with making stuff! Also calling in to see you got your free copy of Vintage Homes - very good to see good company I am keeping nowadays. Those photographs were such a long time ago now every room has changed in one way or another.
    Have a lovely day Hen
    Best wishes

  25. 2 days???? You are an absolute whizz, and it is so perfect and fabulous. Wow I am all agog! Well done you. Love Linda x


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