Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lifetime Disaster

No, this was not the disaster of a lifetime, but it was a temporary disaster for the quilt named "Lifetime."  It definitely takes perseverance and flexibility to turn out a nice quilt of your own design.  When I think of it, the same thing can happen with a purchased pattern when your chosen fabric doesn't work like you had envisioned.  Has that ever happened to you?  Do you throw the pattern away, or do you dig in and figure out what will solve the problem?

I had this idea of a floral border, but before you feast your eyes on this colossal ugliness and say, "Yuck," please realize that my idea was to create a 4 1/2 in border with Watercolor technique.  Pinterest has a full page of beautiful Watercolor quilts if you are unfamiliar with them.  Due to the difficulties of constructing my idea on Illustrator, I just scanned the fabric into the computer and relied on my imagination to eliminate much of the yellow and green, so this looks pretty gross to both of us.  I swallow my pride so that you can follow the process.

Floral border in Illustrator - Blahhhhhhh!

I cut my little squares using the pink, red, and purple flowers, eliminating all yellow and including just the necessary green.  I arranged the squares so that all four sides of the border were pretty much the same and sewed them all together.  It really turned out pretty and I was very pleased.  I sewed those borders on without even previewing the potential result.  I couldn't wait to see the finished product, but when I did, I almost cried.  It just didn't look right.  OK, it looked awful.  I folded it up and left it sad and alone while it waited for seam ripper treatment.  After I removed the offending borders, I got out a couple of border books from my library and began to work on Plan B.  (Incidentally, I subsequently made another quilt for the borders and they look really nice there.)  I decided that my Lifetime quilt has a formal, traditional look and that is why the floral didn't work.

A zig zag border is what saved this poor quilt.  It is made of triangles, which were easy to work with although the many bias edges had to be treated with care.

Bare bones of zig zag border partially assembled in Illustrator.

Zig zag border assembled with corner in Illustrator.
Happy at last, I added a 1/2 inch border around the inside and outside of the border using a dark blue print.  Now, isn't that a major improvement?

Lifetime with zig zag border in fabric.
Stay tuned.  It's not done yet.  The best is yet to come.

TIP:  Disasters happen.  If yours is no worse than a wrong choice of fabric you are doing well.  It is worse when fabric gets ripped or cut accidentally.  Try to figure out where the design went wrong.  Look on the bright side and take a walk with your imagination, spurred on by online sites and books until the solution occurs to you.  It will, sooner or later.

TIP:  I've said it before, but will repeat it often.  Be gentle with those bias edges.  Guide them carefully under the presser foot without pulling.  I am an inveterate pinner and it really helps in sewing bias seams.

TIP:  Don't forget your design surface and preview each step before you sew.  It is much more efficient than ripping out those little stitches.


  1. Looks wonderful, I always like a zigzag border! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  2. This quilt is so beautiful. I have had those "not according to plan" moments also. A lot of times what ended up happening is even better, which is why I haven't called it a disaster. :)

  3. this is so pretty! I especially love the scalloped effect created by the log cabins.

    Thanks so much for showing this off at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation