Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Kimono Quilt

My first completed custom order for 2019 was a really unique project, both for the project itself and the unusual journey it had before I received it.

the finished product

My customer is retired military, and had been stationed in Okinawa. Japan, where she had bought a number of vintage kimonos.  Once she returned home (to my neighborhood!) she asked a woman who had done some upholstery work for her to make a quilt out of the kimonos. That project did not come out the way she wanted or expected, so she then contacted me to see if I could remake it into something else.  I'm sure the first quiltmaker had the best of intentions, but it was an odd piece of work:  a tied quilt pieced with dark colored upholstery fabric, with an actual acrylic blanket in between the layers.  Also included were a number of smaller projects-- a pillow, and some table runners-- that the customer hadn't asked for.

So the first step for me was a significant amount of demolition-- cutting all of the various projects apart, and then coming up with a way to get all of the various pieces onto one quilt.

note the seam matching

You'll notice from the top picture of the completed project that it's made of very large blocks, almost like panels.  That's because the previous quilter had done an extraordinary job of matching the pieces of the patterns to achieve the large blocks.

You'd never know that this block is actually 2 pieces of fabric!  This pattern matching is not something I'm able to do with any sort of competence, so I decided to take advantage of this and left the blocks as large as I could.

The peacock is also 2 matched pieces.

There's also A LOT of quilting.  I usually do an all-over pattern on clothing quilts (it works well with T-shirt quilts in particular) but this quilt really wanted to be quilted block by block, and every block is a little different.

echo quilting
outline quilting in the body, with a stipple background

I tried to let the pictures themselves tell me how to quilt each block.

Some technical details:

The fabric of the kimonos is, as far as I could tell, a very drapey polyester crepe.  It's not a fabric I've worked with before but once I stabilized it (I use Pellon 960F for all of my clothing quilts) it worked just fine for piecing and quilting.

Batting is Quilter's Dream Request, Queen size.  The finished quilt was about 85 x 100".  All of the quilting was done on my HQ Sweet 16.

On the back:  a super pretty leaf print (this one).  It's 108" wide so there's no pieceing necessary even for a big quilt like this one.  Having a one piece back saves a ton of time plus I think it bastes and quilts much easier.

I delivered the completed quilt a few days ago and the customer was absolutely ecstatic with how it turned out.  She was glad to finally get what she had originally wanted.  And this was a fun project for me, and certainly a unique one!

Please note that I am using this blog space for details about my custom orders only.  I'd be delighted if you'd join me on Facebook and Instagram for project updates, Etsy store additions, and other news.

1 comment:

  1. OMG, that is beautiful! What a lot of work. I am glad she is happy. I am following you on Instagram now. I love to see what you are up to. Happy Saturday to you from a cold and icy Kansas.