I've been pondering the idea of doing a quilt for a really long time. Despite having sewn clothing for decades, I've never made a quilt. I did make something kinda quilt-like for my mom and dad once many years ago, and I did make a throw for my brother once as well. But neither were really "quilts" and neither were done properly.
The issue with the delay was mostly due to time constraints, but also due to indecision. The honest truth is that I don't like many quilts. No offense to anyone and their quilts, but so many are just not for me. So it took a lot of thinking, research, and really studying why I liked a certain style, and why I didn't care for others. In the end, I learned one thing for sure: I like both a sense of randomness and a sense of order.
Once I realized this, I decided I wanted to find a pattern that allowed the block to largely improvised, but with some order. Total improvisation was too messy, and fussy cutting is well, too fussy! For me in my garment sewing and pattern drafting, I have to have a real sense of perfection and the idea of slap and grab sounded HUGELY appealing!
Enter the Mod Chevron Quilt class by my pal Devon at Sew L.A. (pictured above). Once I saw this quilt, I knew it was the one. Graphic order, surrounded by complete randomness. Yes! So I got the instructions from Devon, had a couple of chats with her and another fellow quilting teacher Rebecca, and off I went!
Devon's method for this quilt is to use a 5.5" sheet of paper from a phone book as the block. I didn't have a phone book, but I did have some plain white tissue paper that ended up working perfectly. All you do is lightly glue the chevron in place to make sure it's in the right spot to line up with the blocks on either side. After that, it's entirely improv. You sew strips of any width you like to either side of the chevron, and you can deliberately make them wonky so that the quilt moves and doesn't look too planned. Perfect!
So Wednesday night, I decided to try my hand at the first blocks to see if this was the style of quilting for me. First off, no pre-washing and back stitching? Um, yes please! This combined with the free form of the strips was so liberating! And to make it even more improvisational, I put all my fabrics into a big grocery bag, then pulled them out with my eyes closed, so whatever fabric came next was going to get sewn down! In theory, since I like all these together, planning is not necessary for it to all look beautiful. For the chevrons, I've decided to go with white. I like the visual break and I think it makes for a nice clean line.
After you get the strips sewn on, you cut down your excess fabric around the paper to make the block size, then tear it away. Voila! Pretty brilliant and worked like a charm! I only have the two test blocks done, but it's enough for me to see that I absolutely want to go this way. I photoshopped these two into a big quilt (because of course I need my first quilt to be big enough for my bed!) just to see what it might look like, and I think it's pretty great! Of course, all the background fabrics will be random and not repeated like the image below, but it's just to get an idea as to make sure you like where you're going before doing all the work!