Adding Seersuckers and Roses to the NotQuilt

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This post is part of a series about sewing NotQuilts. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, The NotQuilt series begins here.

Filling in notquilt

Olga is waiting for mom to get back to work.

With the roses on white floral, it was time to do more fill-in. I looked at a moderate pink gingham. I have plenty but it just didn’t look right. It read as too dark, with not enough contrast, and its strict geometry didn’t seem to play well with the florals.

I settled on a striped seersucker, the palest of pink and white stripes, with tiny bows. I don’t normally use seersucker in a NotQuilt as the texture makes the patches show up more than I like. In this case, I was fine with the rippled texture, as A) I didn’t have much choice in fabric left and B) I want to get this damn thing done and C) everything else is so in your face that the seersucker needed to be equally competitive. The texture leveled the playing field.


The seersucker’s texture helps it compete with the other fabrics

So I ripped eight strips, one at a time and pinned them down. Each one was of course a slightly different size from its brethren, yet unless somebody measures them, the slight size variation will never be noticed.

With the seersucker strips sewn down, I was heading for the home stretch. The eight seersucker patches are all perpendicular to the outer edges of Dragon Princess (six of them) or are in the center column and well out of the way (the last two).

I have a grand total of eight bare spots left. I have two in the dead center block, where I hope to use the sixties mod scrap and the pink with a single rose here and there.

The other six bare patches echo the outermost edge of Dragon Princess, running parallel to the border. I am up against the same problem that led me to using the striped seersucker. I don’t have much fabric left and these six patches would look better if they were all the same and if they were a uniform light value to contrast better with their surroundings.

I’m also getting very tired of Dragon Princess.

So I decided to follow the path of least resistance. What fabric will work in terms of value? What fabric is already present in the fashion face, making a sort of edge all the way around? What fabric do I have enough of?

Why pale pink with little pink and blue and yellow bunnykins of course!

notquilt squares bunnies

“The Return of the Bunnykins” sounds like a lost Beatrix Potter title.

As I laid out my various pink fabrics against Dragon Princess, each of them did not look right. They were too dark, too geometric, too something to contrast well with the purple rectangles.

Dragon Princess kept boxing me in so, well, it’s going to be bunnykins. At least with the bunnykin fabric, the six new rectangles pair nicely with the existing ten patches. They run in parallel, marching around the edges. Since they are uniformly pale and have the same motif, they do give the eye a chance to rest, along with the pink striped seersucker.

These two fabrics, although they would never be confused with each other side by side and up close, read from a distance as being very similar. Not identical mind you, but similar enough that if you aren’t paying attention, the eye confuses the two. Dragon Princess is busy and aggressively pink so this is not a bad thing. A design this violent can benefit from using the same fabrics over and over, despite it being made of scraps.

Center Block Blues

Once the bunnykin fabric was pinned, it was time to do the center block in the fashion face. You may recall that I had two pieces of fabric that I wanted to use, a very mod sixties pattern and a much more sedate medium pink with a red rose on it.

Alas, Dragon Princess was her capricious self. I could not cut up and sew the sixties fabric back together to make a rectangle that was large enough to pin down, with the raw edges folded under all around. I went so far as to mark and trim this scrap. I trimmed it as I knew I had to, in order to sew it back together. The piece was close enough in size to what I needed that I couldn’t eyeball it.

So I carefully marked it and cut off a strip, planning to sew it back on at the angled side and of course, the finished size wasn’t big enough. This was immensely frustrating as I really like this scrap, I will never see its like again, and it could have been showcased, very nicely, just as it was in some other NotQuilt. Not anymore, at least not as a piece quite as large as it had been.

The pink with a rose was large enough, but when laid on Dragon Princess, with everything else finished, it read as too dark. The pink wasn’t light enough and the rose read as a hole.

Back to the scrap box. I have, as noted earlier, very little pink left that would be suitable. Nothing seemed to work so I went further afield. I have – given to me – a very large piece of blowsy pink cabbage roses. These roses are various shades of pink, ranging from dark to light and have darkish green leaves, a shade that doesn’t show up much in Dragon Princess other than in the parasols and on the maidens’ dresses.

The two blousy pink cabbage roses are in positions 2 and 4 in this square.

This particular piece demonstrates value and how one section can read as being very different from another. From a distance, the blowsy cabbage roses read as a medium dark pink. Up close, I could see that some sections were quite a bit lighter than others. So I cut my last two rectangles from the lightest portions of the cabbage roses and sewed them down. They look all right. Not what I had hoped for, but they will do. The center block is darker overall than I originally planned, but oh well.

Having these last two rectangles torn, pinned, and sewed down means that Dragon Princess is ready for the final steps. I will fill in the outermost edges with solid fabric; most likely purple if I can dig up enough and then use the dark pink butterflies as a binding. I don’t remember how much solid purple (or pink) fabric I have left. The stash will decide what the outermost edge will be. It won’t be very wide, a line of color no more than three to four inches wide at best. This line of color may not even remain the same color all the way around.

Back to the fabric pile …

At this point, I know that I just want to get done, and I don’t want to fancy up the outermost border by cutting a few dozen more rectangles and sewing each and every one down. Why do that to myself? Dragon Princess has been more than enough trouble already.