Changing a quilt pattern can be as simple as making a border a bit wider to change the final dimension of the quilt. Or it can be more complicated until the finished quilt barely looks like the original design other than using the same fabrics. This is the scenario of my latest adventure.
Challenge Quilt History
During the last ten to fifteen years, I helped fellow quilters clean up their stash. They had fabric and quilt kits they realized they didn’t love anymore. I believe all fabric deserves to be loved, therefore my enormous stash. One kit I brought home was a Free Spirit 2007 release quilt Antique Toyland. The fabrics designed by Suzanne Staud are fun and lively. It has been in my UFO collection for years, moving from “has pattern, needs cut” to “cut, ready to sew”.
I decided the time had come and put this quilt UFO on my challenge list along with eleven others. The challenge many quilters have entered is to finish one UFO each month. To make it fun, the sponsor picks a number at the end of each month (1 through 12). Participants pull what they had written on the number to work on the next month. Progress counts even if you don’t finish.
Antique Toyland is my January UFO. Yes, I know this is January 23rd. I’ve been working on it and got as far as having the center panel and three borders on when I decided I was not happy with how it looked.
I Thought I Liked It
The fabrics are still loved. I studied the partially made quilt and saw two problems. My attempt to square the center panel was not enough. I saw the borders did nothing but emphasize the misalignment of the panel. One panel was damaged. I worried any repair would only make it more obvious.
New Designs for Changing a Quilt Pattern
I would never be happy if I finished the quilt as it was. Design changes were the answer. First, I spent a good deal of time with my seam ripper. I carefully removed the panel and first border. I decided to leave borders two and three intact until my plan reached that point.
Focusing on the panel was the place to start. I decided cutting the blocks into individual units and putting the damaged one aside would only alter the size of the center of the quilt. Fortunately, there were extra blocks in the quilt kit. Using only blocks already square and framing them with a variety of solid fabrics would make them standout. They would stand out even more if separated with sashing and cornerstones.
With a larger panel, all borders were going to need more length. Some may work with alteration to pattern making some longer non-pieced fabric in opposing corners. I love the way this all comes together in my head! If I incorporated some border parts already cut but not used in the same configuration, I was indeed making this pattern my own!
Next Step in Changing a Quilt Pattern
When I hit upon something I know will work, I scratch out a rough draft to work from. I then move onto the sewing room to do the modifications, crossing my fingers, I will be happy with the result. The only difference between changing an existing pattern and designing one literally from scratch is ownership, at least that is how I see it. Next step if this was a “from scratch” would be writing a rough draft of construction steps and then send the instructions and photo of my finished product to my pattern testers. I look forward to rewriting instructions to clarify areas needing improvement. I will put together photos of each step taken from constructing my test quilt with the instructions and work with a professional printer. So much goes into sharing creativity, but I’m sure it will continue to excite me!
Changing a Quilt Pattern Stitcher’s Way
I hope this has given some ideas in what is involved in changing a pattern that really doesn’t excite you or does but needs a little tweaking. If you have a question or would like to share your approach to changing a pattern (there must be as many ways as there are quilters), leave a comment. I am always interested in guest contributors who have quilting experience to share.
Speaking of questions, my computer and I have had a big falling out this past week. Somehow, I managed to erase all my saved passwords and a contact list I’ve been building for the past 12+ years.
My question is how smart is a computer program that 1) when I am trying to get into my business email and 2) confess I have forgotten my password, I am instructed to go to my email for the code they are emailing me to reset my password? Oh, do you know you have an hPanel and a cPanel where you can fix a limited number of things on your computer?
Have a wonderful week!