Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kathy's Spring: "It All Started with THE GOWN"

"It all Started with the Gown"
Sometimes the biggest challenge for me is narrowing down the ideas that come flying into my head when we get our Challenge word.  "Spring" can mean so many things, and one of my first thoughts was an interpretation of "Time" as in the mainSPRING of a watch or time piece.  I'd even selected fabrics that would have perfectly conveyed that idea.  (They're still sitting on my Studio table !)

And then I saw "The Gown."    At a teeny-tiny "estate sale" we just happened upon, I wandered through the old house, in and out of all the rooms... just kind of looking around.  And there...hanging on an old wire hangar was simply, the most beautiful Gown I've ever seen.  Made of pure silk with pink silk ribbons, it embodied the purest thoughts of early love, romance, marriage, and the longevity of a tried and true relationship.   The silk is old; judging from some of the framed pictures in the house, I'd guess the gown was made in the 1930's.  The silk was cut on the bias; it hangs beautifully on that old wire hangar; and I can imagine how gorgeous it looked on the tall, slender woman who first wore it....perhaps on her wedding night.  Many of the lace pieces were sewn on by hand; there are tiny bust-line darts that give shape to the bodice; the pink silk ribbons tie at the waist line giving the entire piece just a bit more shape.   Simply put, it is an exquisite piece.
the beautiful gown!
Made of silk, the Gown is soft, demure, romantic; simple, luxurious in its own way.  It made me think of a wedding.  Weddings... flowers... bouquets.  And my random thoughts worked their way into the beautiful "Spring" quilt shown below.

Using a brand new package of stencils from Amy Butler (one of my favorite designers !) I selected a stencil that reminded me of a Spring Wedding Bouquet and stenciled the motif onto silk organza.  I used a combination of Jacquard textile paint and Lumiere metallic / pearlescent textile paint to give the motif a luminous quality.   I then made a basic quilt "sandwich" using water-mark taffeta for the top / 100% cotton batting / and pink cotton fabric printed with sentimental words like family, love, comfort, harmony, celebrate, etc. for the backing.   I free-motion quilted that basic quilt using Madeira 30 wt. variegated rayon thread and Madeira clear monofilament thread in my bobbin.    
After quilting that basic quilt, I 'fused' the stenciled silk organza to the quilt using a new-to-me product called Ultraviolet Misty Fuse that I learned about at the Int'l Quilt Festival in Houston last November.  It was amazing !   The Misty Fuse actually merged the silk organza to the the small quilt and they became as one unit.  I then free motion quilted around the stenciled motif; prepared and attached the binding and hanging sleeve.

This was one of the most enjoyable MM pieces I've worked on, and I attribute its success to that soft, simple, beautiful Gown that was so inspirational.


  1. Kathy, It's so delicate and graphic at the same time! Glad that you liked the theme! I thought people would have fun with it. Great job!

  2. Using THE dress as a subject to interpret the Spring is a good idea. Glad you tried all those new things: stencil, Misty Fuse,etc. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Elegant piece as is THE dress!! How delightful to be inspired by it! the stencil does remind me of a bridal bouquet!

  4. I love your thought process of how you arrived at the quilt - definitely evocative of the theme and definitely unexpected. Gorgeous inspiration and wonderful result

  5. Lovely quilt, Kathy! Forgive me, but I am going to do what I've done to several posts this time--I'm going to move the quilt "up top." If you object, let me know! I think it's important for readers to see our quilts before they read about them! But if you disagree, let me know, and I'm go back and it and put it where you first did!

  6. What a lovely story and inspiration for your spring quilt. This is the most unique interpretation of spring of all of our quilts. Thanks, too, for sharing your process!

  7. Beautiful quilt and inspiration. I haven't tried that Misty Fuse yet. Did you buy the gown?

    1. Hi Barbara ... Yes ! I bought the gown ! The Estate Sale was in its 2nd day, and everything was half price. This beautiful, exquisite, all silk gown sold for 50 cents ! It still makes me shiver just thinking about it !

  8. I never thought about spring wedding season. Such a sweet interpretation of the word with your bridal bouquet.

  9. Love your description of the silk gown as I could almost feel the silk. I'm always fascinated by the creative process as it can takes us on the most amazing journeys, thank you for sharing yours with us! I also can see a spring wedding bouquet in the stencil design that you chose.
    Wow to actually have bought the gown for 50 cents!