Thursday, February 12, 2015

paris daydreams: a finish

this quilt is far more traditional than what i normally make. however, i have somewhat eclectic taste and this satisfies the shabby chic francophile in me. like most of my finishes, this one is long overdue. but it's done and the timing is actually pretty good. d5 is just the right size for it now, so all's well that ends well. the photo shoot, however, did not go so well. i tried photographing it indoors in the lovely light of my bedroom, but that only worked so far as i could crop out all the unwanted bedroom clutter. in addition, i had a lot of interested "help." so enjoy the story of this quilt and some crazy outtake photos, too, if you feel so inclined.

this quilt was born in my brain whilst i was pregnant with baby #7, over three years ago. i admired elizabeth hartman's "modern charm squares baby quilt" and was looking for something to make for baby. also, i have a weakness for dreamy french fabrics, like toile and the vintage stuff produced by french general. when the pom pom de paris line came out, with its pretty, soft spring palette, i wanted it for baby. although it's not a modern line, i thought it would go well with ms. hartman's pattern.

(oh, goodness. looking at this photo above, i can see that despite my best efforts to get a bit of randomness to the layout of this quilt, or at least some asymmetry, i pieced it in a pattern after all! how funny and rather pathetic.)

i just love the bird toiles from this line

somehow i got sidetracked and ended up making "expecting blossoms" for baby and not the pom pom de paris charm quilt. about the time baby was a year and a half old, in the early summer of 2013, i decided i still wanted to make the french quilt for her. so i got started. it should have been an easy project, but i started thinking too much and turned it into a french nightmare that got put on the back burner until i tried completing a quilt for each kid for christmas 2013. eventually i got the top done and began the straightline quilting. but it wasn't completed by christmas.

two of my favorite prints are these ditsy florals
 the straightline quilting went ok, but not perfectly. my juki is a fmq champ, but straightline is not so much her thing. i've found out the biggest help with the straightlining is to spray baste. the closed eyelet i chose for sashing wasn't a problem at all, either with piecing or quilting. i love the textured effect it gives.

once i removed all the red prints from this line, i was left with totally dreamy baby girl colors in oyster, pink, butter yellow, and bisque
after i had finished quilting by echo-quilting the long horizontal seams 1/4" on each side, i began thinking how very pretty it would look if i also did vertical straight lines, too. but i'd already taken it off the machine, changed feet, and moved on before that occurred to me. so it didn't happen. when i pulled the quilt out for binding, i thought i'd just knock out that cool quilting. on consideration, however, i realized there were lots of vertical lines in all the piecing that wouldn't be matching up with the quilting and it wouldn't look very good on the front of the quilt after all if i called notice to that. so i just stayed with the horizontal straight lines.

 one of my favorite parts of this quilt is the back. normally, i piece a backing with a variety of prints. on this one, i used only one print but threw in a special feature: the selvage.

 i'm a selvage lover and this one was mighty pretty. by piecing the backing with the selvages meeting up, i was able to include them as a feature strip across the quilt. fortunately for me, this worked out beautifully. the printing was perfectly placed on this fabric so that the 1/4" seam allowance left it showing nicely. i tried this on my penny patch backing and the freespirit selvages did not have the same spacing. pity, because i really adore this effect.

 i also love, love, love this ditsy pink floral print i used for the back. so overall, i adore the back of this quilt. the very last thing to do was bind this baby.

and that's where i got held up again.

there was no perfect print in this line for binding. all the prints, except the reds, were too light for a binding that was going to be drug around by a little girl. i had pulled all the overtly red charm squares to preserve the soft, pastel look in the quilt so adding a red binding on wasn't in keeping with my vision. i was wishing hard the mushroom brown color had been included as a print somewhere. but it wasn't.

by the time i was ready to bind, i had talked myself into just using the red ditsy floral print that was the same as the backing print. although i had purposefully removed the reds from the quilt top, i was pretty desperate to be done and thought it would be fine. not ideal, but fine. i justified to myself, "a binding is so thin and maybe it will be a nice pop of color on the edges."

fortunately i have a quilting buddy who is wiser than i am. when i showed becky the red binding and the quilt, without trashing my idea, she nonchalantly told me, "my thinking is if you've already waited a year to finish this quilt, you might as well wait a little longer and get a binding you like rather than settling for something you don't like so much just to get it done." smart, smart girl.

i was loathe to try finding a binding but i gave it a shot at my local store later in the day.

and came home with something i absolutely love!

this white dot on a mushroom brown crossweave goes so well with the colors and prints in the line. i do think it's probably not very french, but it definitely suits the overall feel of the quilt and it's color palette. i machine bound this one for durability. fortunately, i bound it right after two other machine bound quilts so it turned out pretty well because i was fully practiced by the time i did this one.

 and now little miss has a quilt that fits her bed nicely and is bigger than her baby quilt. she's been dragging her bunny and new quilt around the house everywhere.

when i gave it to her, she said in awe, "it finish?! oh, thank you, Mama!!! it's so bigger!" it's one of the best reactions i've gotten from a kid yet.

that's a wrap.
it's complete and in her hands, all hers to use and love now.
enjoy the last few outtake photos below.

too short to help hold

hey, no peeking! and the bookshelf looks ugly

i'm glad they like being involved with me and the quilt making process. who knows how long it will last?


  1. I like everything about this quilt! The colors, the design, the backing, and the binding - it all works beautifully. Such a great quilt for your little girl!

  2. I like the softness of your colors and that pola-dotted binding finished it perfectly!

  3. such a pretty quilt for a little girl. The colours are perfect

  4. The prints and colours are timeless and ageless. Great idea to include the selvedge as you did too. Beautiful finish!

  5. this is such a beautiful quilt. I really love the binding you chose for it - dots is always my favourite for binding. You have probably already tried this for your straight line quilting but I was having such problems and then reduced the pressure foot tension and after that it worked perfectly!

  6. Where do I begin, i just love everything about this quilt! I totally get the shabby chic francophile attraction - it is just so feminine and romantic with a nod to the past. I also love that you created a pattern even though you were trying not to - embrace your love of symmetry, it's a part of you!! Thanks so much for sharing this beauty!!

  7. What a lovely finish! I enjoyed looking at your photos and the little helpers too ... The colors are delicate, perfect for a little girl. Ver cute!

  8. This quilt is so very, very lovely. I don't have any Pom Pom de Paris, but now I am coveting it. SO pretty.

    AND I'm absolutely KICKING myself for not thinking of showing the selvedge as you did in the French General quilt I'm working on now. I pieced 6 large pieces of various prints for a backing and totally could have done it. ARRRGH!

  9. It's beautiful! So soft and sweet and feminine looking. And "it's so bigger" is a great reaction to a quilt!


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