Thursday, 26 August 2021

What's In A Quilt - 15

I recently completed my crazy quilt project Crazy for Crazy, and now I want to write its history.

Block number 15 is in dark purple and beige/light green. You can see it in the bottom row.

The fabric in the centre, maybe it looks familiar? Yes, if you have followed my series of these blocks you HAVE seen this machine embroidered fabric before, but in different colourings. It is one of the swatches from a set of fabric a travelling salesman from Switzerland peddled in Africa. 

There are four more pieces of fabric, all plain. One is cotton of 'no interest', one is matt silk, one is my mother's upholstery plush, and the final is velveteen. That velveteen has a history to tell. 

In Japan weddings, and many parties, can be very formal affairs, so if there is a chance/risk/opportunity that you will be invited, you need at least one formal dress. 

It was my love for purple, as well as flexibility and thrift, that made me fall in love with this Yamamoto Kansai two-piece dress in the sales. All clothes designed by this fashion guru are of high quality, and of course expensive. The good news is that if you wait for the sales, they are sold at a good reduction, this one was 80% off. I am no fashion nerd and knew I would wear this creation long after it was 'out of fashion' so it seemed a good investment. 

The ensemble consisted of a skirt with gold embroidery on the hem, and a blouse also sporting the same embroidery on the collar, cuffs and down the back. The front had a shirt design, could be buttoned all they way up for a strict look, open at the neck,  or totally unbuttoned and worn like a jacket with a camisole or sequinned top underneath. The back was longer and had tails, yes just like a man's tailcoat. I saw the potential - it was possible to combine these two items, or wear the blouse with a plain skirt, or elegant slacks. Here was a puzzle wardrobe.

I bought it about 30 years ago, wore it to numerous events until the blouse gave up several years later. The skirt, with its sturdy lining was still fine, as were the cuffs and the collar of the blouse. I didn't want to say 'sayonara' to a favourite item.

Then came the idea of making a jacket in purple velveteen, and use the collar and cuffs as decoration to tie the jacket to the skirt. For the same kind of flexibility as the original blouse, I can remove the collar and cuffs.

The crazy quilt block has quite a lot of decoration on it. There are floral and square sequins, bugle, seed and soroban beads, metallic braid, a lace butterfly ornament and three flowers. These were originally beige and I wanted them to be purple. What to do? Colour them with wax crayon and set with a hot iron! The flowers are attached to stems of Portuguese Stem Stitch. There is a length of Waved Chain Stitch, two fabric covered buttons and I also stitched a Webbed Wheel.

It took a bit over a month to make the block, between 10 June and 29 July 2020.

I am happy that these people helped me along the way: Yamamoto Kansai, Jacquie, Sylvia, Mum, Verena, Maureen, Sharon, Auntie, Mrs S and all of you, of course.


  1. Block 15 in dark purple/beige/light green is lovely and rich.
    And your story of the Yomamato Kansai two piece dress is fascinating. I like the way you think.
    Now you have a beautiful jacket and skirt, amazing!

  2. This is a pretty block. I like reading the history.

  3. A rich nd lovely block. My hands itched to run them over the velvet jacket.
    You have a gift for finding new ways of doing things.

  4. That is a lovely way to ensure you can still wear a much loved piece!

  5. I haven’t been a lover of the colour purple, but your block is very royal and rich in the fabrics you have chosen. Another stunning block with a wonderful story of your fabric origins.

  6. I love how thoughtful you are about your clothing purchases. This is a beautiful block.

  7. What a lovely ensemble. Did you MAKE the velveteen jacket? The collar and trim are such a lovely addition! Good for you for your fashion sense and using good things to the very last sense too!


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