Invitation to a “Precut Patchwork Party”

I am so excited!  My new book for Creative Publishing International is now available – Precut Patchwork Party.  It takes awhile to edit and publish a book so it’s always such a thrill to see all the projects I’ve designed finally come together.

Precut Patchwork Party CoverI am a big fan of precut fabrics.  All those strips, squares and fat quarters, in yummy colors and prints, packaged like little gifts, are hard to resist.  I often pick them up with absolutely no idea of how I will use them.  They are just too pretty not to take them home.

There are lots of patterns available for making quilts with precut fabrics.  But I wanted to explore other things you could make with them so this book features all sort of projects…everything but quilts.

I designed a group or home decor projects – pillows, placemats, tablecloth, tea cozy, even a headboard and a lampshade.  HomeDecAnd I also designed a variety of accessories, wearables and gift projects – bags and totes, child’s dress and skirt, baby gifts, aprons and more.

AccessoriesWearablesGiftsI’ve included lots of basic information and tips, as well as my favorite sewing techniques, such as fabric rick rack and pom-pom trim.

BasicsThe beauty of working with bundles of precut fabrics is that they are coordinated by color or theme or designer collection and all the fabrics work well with each.  Mix and match as you like.  You really can’t go wrong.  And sewing with precuts is really easy – lots of straight sewing.  All the projects in my book utilize the standard sizes of precuts so you can get started right away with very little time spent cutting fabric (not everyone’s favorite part of any sewing project).

The projects in this book are perfect for a new sewist as well as someone who has been sewing for awhile.  They all are constructed with very basic sewing techniques.  Anyone who makes quilts and wants to do something new with their stash of precuts will find inspiration.  So next time you can’t resist buying those beautiful bundles at the quilt store, know that there is a lot you can make with them, other than your beautiful quilts.

Consider this post to be an invitation to the party!  No need to RSVP.  Just check out Precut Patchwork Party on Amazon, grab some precut fabrics and have fun.  Make something for yourself or your home or a gift.

Something Old & Something New Wedding Pillow

Turns out I am the keeper of our family’s textile treasures.  I have drawers and drawers full of beautiful vintage linens, fabrics, ribbons and trims that at one time were lovingly handmade and used by past generations in our family.  Although some things are not in great condition, I have saved each little bit knowing that one day I would find the perfect use for them.  So when my niece got married last month, I knew it was a wonderful chance to work with my stash and make her and her husband a little gift to remember her family.

Machine Embroidered Wedding Pillow with Vintage Tatting and Buttons

Machine Embroidered Wedding Pillow with Vintage Tatting and Buttons

But unlike ladies of the past who spent hours making tatted and crocheted lace by hand, I had waited to the last minute to make this gift and was short on time to get it finished.  Let’s hear it for today’s technologies!  Working with my computer and machine embroidery software, I typed out the bride and groom’s names, transferred it to my sewing machine, threaded up the machine and stitched it onto a piece of raw silk fabric that great-gran must have used for curtains.  I washed the fabric before stitching the embroidery as I wanted to make sure the finished pillow could be cared for easily in the future.  The washing softened the fabric and brought out the texture of the weave.  A nice contrast to the cotton embroidery thread.

Machine embroidery done (so much faster than stitching by hand!) and ready to clip the threads.

Machine embroidery done (so much faster than stitching by hand!) and ready to clip the threads.

I found a gorgeous strip of tatted lace that was still attached to part of a silk chemise top.  It was one of the shoulder straps.

Tatted Lace Shoulder Strap on Silk Chemise Top

Tatted Lace Shoulder Strap on Silk Chemise Top

The silk fabric was very fragile and falling apart but the lace was in great shape.  So I carefully clipped it from the fabric and washed it by hand.  After it was dried and pressed, it was even more beautiful.

LaceDetailI hand stitched the lace below the embroidery…StitchingLace

…added a two more rows of narrow tatting above the embroidery….

Another modern tool makes sure my top rows of lace are straight and evenly positioned.

Another modern tool makes sure my top rows of lace are straight and evenly positioned.

…and sewed on a few vintage buttons from my stash.


Didn’t take much time to then make the pillow cover and insert the pillow form.

As I worked on this project, I kept thinking of the talented ladies in generations past and what they would have thought of all the tools and technology we have at our fingertips today.  I am so glad that my husband’s great aunt had the patience and passion to make such beautiful lace and I feel honored that I could use it again to make a little reminder of how much family is part of the fabric of our lives.

Congratulations to Becca and Mike!  Many years of happiness.

Love, Aunt Elaine