Fun Friday Show & Tell: Wild Figs Patchwork Tote

wild-figs-toteHalloween has come and gone, the election is over, and now we can look forward to the holidays.  The trees have lost their leaves and the ground is scattered with mounds of burnt oranges, rusty reds, and yellow ochres.  This must mean one thing….Autumn has arrived!

One of our multi-talented employees here at the Works, Debbie from Shipping., brought in this gorgeous patchwork totebag and I just had to share it with you.   Using fabrics from an older Clothworks release, the autumn-inspired Wild Figs by Karen Roti, Debbie churned out this beautiful bag in just one weekend!go-everywhere-bag-collageFlipping through an old edition of Fons & Porter’s Quilting Quickly from spring 2015, Debbie spotted the Go Everywhere Bag project and was inspired to create.  The magazine may be a back issue, but thank Fons & Porter for archiving it on their website here.  Follow this link for to download the pattern, and better yet, watch the free video tutorial for helpful construction tips!

Nice Work, Debbie!  Thank you for sharing.

Here’s to an inspirational autumn weekend ~~~ Happy Sewing!


Amazing Show & Tell: Fresh Batiks® by Clothworks!

Toni's Whirlpool batik wallhanging

Our resident quilting queen and sample room extraordinaire, the talented Toni B., recently went on a quilting retreat and came back with some beautiful batik goodies to share.  Working in the Clothworks sample room and warehouse is kind of like being a kid in a candy store for a quilter and fabric lover. So many temptations every where you turn.  Especially those beautiful Fresh Batiks® Minerals and Botanica prints, offered in bold, bright colors with a soft hand, to boot!  Toni B. had taken a class from a local quilter, Eda Lee Haas, and created the wall-hanging (perfectly square matched to the grid) shown above in the pic.  The technique was a quilt-as-you-go, called the Whirlpool.  What a wonderful  use of Fresh Batiks®Minerals, with a few print designs thrown in for interest.  This design reminds me of a color wheel- so bright and cheery- with lots of movement for the eyes.

Collage Batik Bag

The second fun show & tell project is from a pattern called The Mondo Bag by Quiltsmart.  Toni B. created this fun, multi-color harlequin patchwork using various patterns and colors in the Fresh Batiks® Botanica line.  Find out more info about the Quiltsmart Mondo Bag here.

Thank you Toni B for sharing these lovely, inspiring projects with us.

To find a local quilt shop that stocks Fresh Batiks® visit this link and Happy Sewing!


Show & Tell: Laurel Burch Dogs & Doggies Travel Bag

LB Dogs & Doggies Bag zipped up

As many people are making their way to visit friends and family during the holidays, here’s some fantastic inspiration to make a functional & spiffy travel pouch on your next travel occasion.  Our friend Patty made this travel tote using the recent Clothworks release, a Laurel Burch fabric line called Dogs & Doggies.

Patty found this nifty accessory bag pattern on Craftsy–  the ‘Sew Together Bag’ by SewDemented.  And as you’ll see in the pictures below, with all of its hidden zippered pockets in the interior, this bag will keep all of your bits and bobs ‘sew together’!

LB Dogs & Doggies bag unzipped

Amazing how many little pockets and pouches are found inside this handy little bag!

bag, aerial view

Safe travels during your holidays!  And Happy Sewing 🙂

Fun Friday Show & Tell

kathleen quilt 3

Although it’s a work in progress, I had to share this fun Show & Tell that our dear friend Kathleen, former Clothworks employee & talented quilter extraordinaire, is creating!  Earlier this year, Kathleen was lucky to have taken a class from the fabulous art quilter, Freddy Moran.  If you’re not familiar with Freddy Moran’s work, judging by the pictures of Kathleen’s project, you can see that her style of quilting is eclectic and does not seem to follow any ‘rules’. No regard for straight seams, raw edges on appliques, and wild color combinations are just a few of the criteria that make up Freddy Moran’s rebellious approach to creating art quilts.

Kathleen quilt 1As demonstrated in Kathleen’s project, the backgrounds in Freddy Moran’s art quilts are typically comprised of a patchwork of different monochromatic black & white printed fabrics.  I spy some black & white Clothworks fabrics from the Mojito by Skipping Stones Studio & the organic Sweet Tweets by Penguin & Fish collections.  In typical Freddy Moran style, a collage of fussy cut images clipped from various fabrics, here being a sea creature theme, are appliqued on top of the black & white pieced background.  Do you recognize the seaweed, fish, and mermaid cut from Laurel Burch fabrics in Kathleen’s project?  kathleen quilt 4

Kathleen Quilt 5

The result….a ‘psychedelic ocean scene’ art quilt!

I couldn’t find a website for Freddy Moran, but doing a search on the internet led me to a few quilting books penned by her, offered for sale on Amazon , perfect to put on your holiday wishlist ;).

And for more inspiration, just google ‘Freddy Moran’ and view the image results, and you’ll be blown away by the artistic intensity of her work!




In The Press: EZ Holiday Craft Idea featuring Clothworks!

towel snippet overlay

I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I had to post about this Holiday craft feature spotted in the December 2015 American Patchwork Magazine edition.  Once you’ve taken care of putting the finishing touches on your Halloween costume, you can keep the sewing machine charged and ready to stitch away to create some FESTIVE HOLIDAY TOWELS! Clothworks very own Kathleen, retired Customer Service extraordinaire, designed these versatile bath towels with fabric banding.  Read more about the clever techniques she uses to apply the fabric bands on to colorful terrycloth towels to personalize them for the holiday season!

American Patchwork Quilting

The December 2015 edition of American Patchwork & Quilting is on news stands now!  So head to your local quilt shop or favorite fabric & sewing store to pick up a copy to fuel your sewing inspiration into the holiday season!

Bath towel and wash cloth 1

These personalized towels and tea cloths with their festive novelty fabrics are a signature gift item that Kathleen always includes in her beautifully curated gift bags.  I am lucky to own several that I use around the house which always remind me of her lovely handmade attention to detail. Her pairing of fabric by Clothworks designer Dan DiPaolo from the Santa’s on His Way collection with the plush terrycloth in festive Christmas colors shown in these pictures here is definitely helping me embrace the holiday spirit!

hand towels 2

Fun Friday Show & Tell: AMB in all of its Glory!


What a lovely surprise I found in my email inbox this morning!  A very talented seamstress by the name of Jill made this American Flag using….(you guessed it)….American Made Brand fabrics!!  As I continued to chat with Jill over email about her creation, I discovered that this is the first American Flag that she has ever made.  WOWEE!  She was excited to have finally found a fabric that’s strictly made in the USA, having purchased AMB solids at her local quilt shop, Carolina Foam & Fabric based in North Carolina.  Her son, a member of the National Guard, will be the proud recipient of this all-American-made labor of love!

Pledge your allegiance to American Made by using American Made Brand cotton solids in your sewing and crafting projects. Visit one of the many retailers across the USA that carry AMB solids by Clothworks and follow this link to find a local quilt shop near you!



Clothworks Show & Tell: Oversized Check Quilt

Oversized Check Quilt

Maybe it’s the impending seasonal change that has gotten me on a quilting kick, or maybe it’s a quest to use up my stash.  Who knows!?  I can’t say I can blame the mosquitoes, but that darn quilting bug has bitten me and now I’ve been making one quilt top after another lately.  I had to share this one with y’all, as it has a mix of older Clothworks prints with some American Made Brand black solids, and some up-cycled plaids thrown in for good measure.

I’m no quilting genius, I would call myself an amateur.  I admit that I’ve never sewn a triangle or a star block (but I aspire to do that some day).  I’ve only pieced with square and rectangle blocks.  And this is my 5th quilt I’ve made.  This is also my own design. I call it the Oversize Check.

Like I said, I’ve been on a quest to use up my fabric stash lately.  It’s a challenge to do that when you work here at Clothworks and you’re surrounded and shall I say, bombarded, with new, beautiful fabrics on a daily basis!  Fabric comes home with me like a lost puppy dog sometimes. 🙂  So as I was cleaning out my stash the other day I came across these tonal skull prints from a past Sue Zipkin release with a Halloween-theme called ‘Gone Haunting’.  Remember these?

Skulls- Close Up

As I continued to plot out my quilt design, I wanted to keep it simple with a masculine feeling.  This quilt would be gifted to a guy.  I drafted some sketches on my graph paper, and eureka!  An oversized check design came to mind.  How easy is that- still keeping with the simplicity of the piecework, but using my stash, and making a manly-looking quilt, this design fit all of my criteria!

Oversized Check Quilt- close up

I threw in the black solid American Made Brand fabric to create more depth and contrast in the design.  I had some various plaid fabrics laying around (upcycled from some old flannel shirts) and thought this would create an interesting detail and nice shot of color to break up the monochromatic color scheme.

And ta-dah!

Oversized Check Quilt cropped

My finished squares are about 7.75″.  Although Clothworks no longer carries Sue Zipkin’s ‘Gone Haunting’ collection of fabric, I could see this quilt design replicated using some of the tonal blender fabrics that Clothworks carries year round in the warehouse.  The whole line of Impressions- Moire, Flora, Scroll, and Sprig would make great replacements, and even the Paisley…or maybe any of the Clothworks range of Basics!


Clothworks Welcomes New Backyard with German Potluck!

Before & After Backyard Collage

Although the Summer season may feel like it’s coming to an end with kids going off to school, the weather is a different story.  Especially here in the Pacific Northwest where the Clothworks HQ is based.  With the El Nino weather pattern in full gear for this year, the meteorologists are forecasting a mild & dry Autumn season through Winter season.  Good thing we finally cleaned up our backyard just in time to enjoy the warm summer weather, and with any luck, some mild days throughout the rest of the year!  Above you can see a before & after picture.

If you’ve been following us here on the Works, we had a little help from some friends…..the goats of Amazin’ Grazers, an urban goat rental, who chewed away at all of the overgrowth in our backyard.

Before & After Bkyd Collage

It most certainly was a jungle back there.  We had no idea there was a storage shed in the back until the goats ate away at all of the bushes and brambles!  So with the backyard cleaned up, it was time to christen it, and in true Clothworks fashion, we celebrated with a POTLUCK!  Hey, the family that eats together, stays together, right?

German Potluck Collage

One of our esteemed warehouse crew members, Chef Steve (pictured above manning the grill), was excited to share a popular delicacy from his home state of Wisconsin, Usinger’s Famous Sausage.  The tag line for Usinger’s Sausage is ‘America’s Finest Sausage’….quite fitting for the folks that bring you American Made Brand Fabrics!  This set the tone for our potluck theme– a German-style Potluck with all of the essentials:  grandma’s homemade potato salad, sauerkraut, pickles, mustard and tons of fantastic side salads, as well as rich desserts including homemade kuchen made with fresh blackberries and apple strudel.  It was fun to celebrate in our new backyard patio……even if we ate like goats! 🙂

Brat lunch

The Importance of Labeling Your Quilt: A Tutorial

Finished label on quilt

How to add a label to a completed quilt- The License Plate Quilt by American Made Brands sponsored by Clothworks.

One of the often overlooked, but very critical details in making a quilt is the addition of a label.  There’s so much thought put into preparing and creating a quilt masterpiece:  designing or choosing a quilt pattern, selecting fabric & calculating yardage, cutting & piecing, adding sashing and borders, preparing the backing, and finally, quilting and binding.  It’s no wonder that making a label for the quilt is sometimes a forgotten step in the process or even an afterthought, if that.

Here’s why it’s important to make a label for your quilt–

1)  Give yourself credit!  You’ve spent lots of time putting your heart & soul, and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears, into making your quilt creation.  Whether you give it away to someone special or enter it into a quilt show- it’s important to give yourself credit by labeling  your work.  Who knows- decades or centuries down the road- your masterpiece quite possibly could end up in the Smithsonian and it would be a shame to have it credited to ‘unknown’.

2)  Tracking a lost quilt will be easier to find with a label!  Although we don’t like to think about the unfortunate events of losing something in the mail, sometimes it does happen when we ship through the USPS, or UPS and FedEx.  And if you’re planning to pack your quilt in your luggage when you fly, sometimes your luggage might not make it to your destination, either.  Of course you can always give a visual description of your quilt design & fabric to the lost & found clerk, but they might have a different idea of what ‘flying geese’ are. Having a label with your name and other contact information could make it 100 times easier to locate your lost quilt, speeding up the reunion between you and your quilt.

3)  Having a label on your quilt is part of the criteria when entering it into a show!  See reasons above- with so many quilts entered into a show, you will receive much deserved credit for your beautiful design & it will be 100 times easier to have your quilt returned to you quickly if you have a quilt label sewn on to the quilt with accurate contact information.  The advantage of having a quilt label that’s sewn on to your quilt is that there’s no tag that falls off or paperwork that is mis-pinned to it.

Here’s what information to put on your quilt label–

If you’re entering the quilt into a show, here’s an example of the information to include on your labels:


As you can see above- these labels are for quilts that were entered into the Farm to Fabric Challenge sponsored by American Made Brand fabrics by Clothworks.  These quilt labels were labeled with the following information:

Name of Quilt Show

Title of Quilt

Name of Quilt Designer & Maker

City & State of Quilt Designer & Maker

Dimensions of Quilt listed in inches– Width by Length

Those labels are just an example of what information to include.  Be sure to check with the quilt show in which you are entering your quilt as they may have specific quilt label guidelines.  If you plan to give your quilt as a gift to someone, you can choose to make your label more personal by adding an endearing message.  And as mentioned above, if you are nervous about your quilt becoming ‘lost’ in transit, it might be a good idea to add an email address or phone number as a point of contact.

So, when do you add a quilt label during the quilt making process?

It’s best to apply the quilt label to your quilt back before you quilt your top, batting, and backing together.  Sew the label to the quilt backing fabric, then quilt away and add your binding to complete your quilt.  That way, your label is securely sewn into your quilt and will never fall off—unless you are crazy enough to rip out all of the quilting.

Help!  How to add a quilt label to a completely finished quilt?!

Maybe you’ve gained some insight after reading this blog post, with the cogs & wheels turning in your brain now as you stare at that pile of quilts that are nearly completely but have no quilt label!  You’re in luck- we’ve created an easy pictorial tutorial to solve the problem– thanks to resident Clothworks quilting queen, Toni B. for her guidance and help!!

EZ Tutorial:  How to Add a Quilt Label to A Completed Quilt


Remember the American Made Brand License Plate Quilt made up of license plate blocks by our highly talented bloggers from all 50 states during the AMB Blog Tour Roadtrip last year?  Well, after all of that stunning work in putting together that beauty of a quilt– YUP! You guessed it– we forgot to make a label for it!

Good thing there’s a product on the market such as this– Iron-On Quick Fuse Fabric Sheets for Ink Jet Printers.

Quick Fuse Iron On Labels

Follow the manufacturer’s instruction on how to make a label on your computer to print using your ink jet printer.

AMB License Plate Label- Pinked edges

Here’s our lovely label printed on to one of the Fusible Fabric Sheets.  As you can see, September, our amazing Graphic Designer here at Clothworks, did a fantastic job making an easy-to-read label which credits all of the talented contributors of our AMB License Plate Quilt.  Toni B. pinked the edges of the label to prevent fraying, since we will not be sewing the label on to the back of the finished quilt.

AMB License Plate Label back of page

Notice the ‘gummy’ fusible backing on the fabric label.

Position label on quilt

Place the fabric label to the back of your completed quilt and position where desired.  Here, we are placing the label on the lower right corner of the back of the quilt.  Since you will be ironing the fabric label to fuse it to the back of the quilt, place the quilt and label on top of an ironing board.

Fusing Label to quilt

After you’ve positioned your quilt label, use a protective iron sheet to place over your fusible quilt label before you apply your iron.  This will ensure that you do not burn the fabric and cause any nasty marks on your beautiful label.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the iron to your label.

Finished label on quilt

And ta-da!!!  You have successfully added a quilt label to your completed quilt!  Allow your label and quilt to cool a little after ironing.  Check to make sure all areas of the label have been adequately adhered to the quilt and you’re good to go!

Happy Quilting!


Show & Tell: Aprons & Mitts, cute as a ‘Hey Cupcake’!

Apron & mitt

Summer is that time of the year when most are heading off to the beach, a national park, an amusement park, or some other fun outdoor attraction.  Shirl, Accounting Extraordinaire here at Clothworks, just returned from her summer vacation and brought back some fun Show & Tell.  You’d think maybe she’d bring back some seashells from the beach, but instead she brought in these adorable aprons and mitts made from cute fabric in the Hey Cupcake collection by designer Dan DiPaolo, released by Clothworks earlier this year.  Above is an apron that Shirl worked on with her sister Carolyn, who just happens to be an exquisite quilter and has her own long-arm quilting service in California.   And if you’re wondering, that apron pattern is from the Taylor Made Designs book, More Retro Aprons, by Cindy Taylor Oates.

mittsHere are some sweet oven mitts- from the left is a pot holder/mitt hybrid and to the right are mitts and oven gloves.  Shirl and her sister Carolyn traced an oven glove to create their own pattern template to make these.

Now why, you ask, would Shirl and her sister Carolyn spend some time sewing and creating these lovely aprons while on vacation?!  Well, why not!  And instead of buying cheap souvenirs, these aprons and mitts are gifts for Shirl’s neighbors who kindly watched Shirl’s sweet little Yorkie mix named Charley while she was away.

Just look at the adorable girl’s aprons below that Carolyn made!!  The ruffles and zig-zag trim are the icing on the cake on these simple apron silhouettes.  The cupcake prints from Hey Cupcake fabric collection by Clothworks are too cute!

little girl aprons

Sew, how’s that for some ‘sew’-cation summer fun?!!!  What about you?  What kinds of fun projects have you cooked up this summer?